To lead a healthier and happier life, one doesn’t necessarily have to visit a therapist or a doctor. According to Ayurveda, there are a few very simple practices that can help you improve your life. You don’t even have to know what your ayurvedic constitution is. If you follow these rules, you will soon notice a massive improvement in your life’s quality.
By Daniela Luschin-Wangail
10 simple Ayurvedic tips for a better life
1 Start the day with oil and water
The first thing you should do after getting up: oil pulling. What is that? Put some oil in your mouth and swill it back and forth for about 10-20 minutes. 20 minutes would be ideal, but modern life sometimes makes this a bit difficult. So simply do it for as long as you can. Then spit it out. The oil removes toxins from the body. You can use different oils: sesame, sunflower or olive oil are all good choices. I personally prefer coconut oil.
While you are oil-rinsing your mouth, you can boil some water and let it cool down. Drink a large cup of boiled, warm water every morning! This helps in two ways: boiled water cleans the body, and it also helps to stimulate the digestive fire. People who have difficulties with a good digestion should especially take this practice to heart.
2 No snacks between meals
Many people believe that it is better to eat several small meals than a few large ones. The Ayurvedic tradition says otherwise. The Agni (digestive fire) plays a very important role in Ayurveda and it is crucial in a healthy life. The Agni can only burn properly if it doesn’t have to work unceasingly. Give it time enough after every meal to fulfill its task, and don’t put it constantly to test. This means that you should consider a resting/digesting time of about 4 hours after each meal. You’ll be pretty hungry again afterwards. Many people find this very difficult, but practice and routine will make it something natural. If you can’t avoid it, eat something very light, small, such as some nuts, or even better, drink a sweetened tea or milk.
3 Fresh, warm & cooked
Ayurveda is no fan of raw food, because everything that isn’t cooked is usually harder to digest. Many raw food aficionados suffer eventually difficulties with their digestion and are often victims of constipation (those who don’t have a really strong Agni). Especially people who have problems with bowel movements should pay attention to this point and eat as little raw food as possible. In Ayurveda you eat warm, fresh and cooked. Optimally, this should apply to all three meals of the day: a warm porridge for breakfast, for lunch a good satisfying meal made with fresh ingredients, and in the evening something light and warm, for example a soup. The freshness also plays an important role. Ayurveda doesn’t have anything to do with frozen food and microwaves. Use fresh ingredients – preferably seasonal, and from the region, because they’re easier to digest!
4 Don’t eat too late
Don’t feed your body too late in the evening. You should take the last meal 3 hours before sleeping. Forget the salad in the evening, which is low on calories but difficult to digest since it’s raw. Also pizza is less than ideal at this time: it is too heavy for the stomach. The best options are soups and light stews! Do not use the following foods in the evening: cheese, yoghurt and sour foods!
5 Don’t go too late to bed, and wake up early!
It would be ideal to be in bed by 10 pm at the latest, and depending on how much sleep you need, to get back up 6-8 hours later. According to the Ayurvedic doctrine the body regenerates itself best between 22 and 2 o’clock in the morning. The sooner we get up, the fresher we start the day! Sleeping too long makes you sluggish, so you shouldn’t exaggerate.
6 Savor milk like an expert
In the western world, milk has recently been put aside or even vilified as the cause of many stomach problems, but in Ayurveda it is still considered a precious nutrient. One needs only to know how to use it and combine it properly, since milk is incompatible with many foods! In many other cultures, not just the Indian one, tradition dictates that milk shouldn’t be mixed with certain other foods. The following foods are not intended to be used together with milk (and milk products):
Fish, meat, salt, leaf vegetables, legumes/beans, fruits, eggs, garlic, mustard.
Think about how many meals we have in which milk (or milk products) are combined with these foods! Pancakes, muesli, fruit yoghurts, banana milkshake, several sauces… the list goes on. And maybe many people who suffer from lactose intolerances owe their intestinal problems to these unfavorable connections only!?
7 The right amount
The amount of food you should take depends also on your constitution, but in general it can be said that you should find a good middle ground. Too little can be as bad as too much. Often one speaks of two handfuls as a right quantity. So not really that much.
8 Take your time
This applies to many aspects of life, but it plays an important role here: eat in a quiet and pleasant atmosphere. Not standing, and not in a rush! Chew slowly and concentrate on the food. Don’t play on your mobile phone, don’t read the newspaper! Also in everyday life: give yourself time to rest. Moments to do nothing. Just sit down and look around, contemplate. Or go out into the fresh air and just walk and enjoy.
9 Treat yourself to a massage
You don’t have to necessarily look for someone else. You can do it yourself. Take a lot of good, slightly warm oil and massage your body and your head (even your hair, do it well). Do not be frugal with the oil, and take plenty of time to do it! Finish it with a shower or take a pleasant bath! You’ll see how good it is for both your body and your soul.
The best time to meditate is usually in the morning, but of course it also works in the evening. Meditate daily – or at least as often as possible. This is time for you, time to disconnect. You don’t have to be a meditation expert. Just sit down, close your eyes, focus on your breathing and nothing else. 20 minutes would be ideal, but every single minute counts.
You may not be able to apply all 10 rules to your life right now, but the regular practice of even just a few of them will improve your life quite a lot. Try it!
If you are interested in a more comprehensive Ayurvedic experience, we can fully recommend you a stay in one of our Ayurveda-Resorts in Southern India! There you will learn a lot about yourself and your Ayurvedic constitution, about what is good for you and what isn’t! As an entry into Ayurveda or as a next logical step to improve your life: To the Resorts