I was introduced to the ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda therapies in the early 90’s, and have incorporated Ayurvedic massage and essences into my facial treatments ever since. Ayurvedic practices support a truly beautiful way of living, and one that I crave and incorporate into my days in as many ways as I can, whether at home or in my treatments.
One of the things I love about Ayurveda is its focus on our daily rhythms, which brings balance into our lives. In following the Ayurvedic tradition, every new season we have the opportunity to tweak, refine and optimize our routines, a process called ritucharya. Generating a fresh daily schedule with intention brings mindful awareness and loving care into creating just the right conditions for each individual to flourish. So, with fall just around the corner, I’m happy to share with you a few of my favorite Ayurvedic tips for transformation.
First Light: Ayurvedic tradition regards the early pre-dawn with a special reverence, recognizing that it holds a uniquely potent vibrancy. While you might think rising that early will leave you tired, for many it’s worth experimenting with rising before the sun (even by 15 minutes). Remarkably, that special pre-dawn vibration can super-charge the rest of your day.
Oil Pulling: Even before taking a sip of water, I practice oil pulling daily, swishing a small spoonful of sesame oil around the mouth for several minutes (some prefer coconut oil). This ancient traditional remedy removes toxins without stripping plaque from teeth or harming the gums, and impacts immune health, whisking away impurities and bacteria.
Kick Start: Over the years I’ve often mentioned my habit of starting the day with a glass of water and lemon, which is also recommended in Ayurvedic practice. However, if this doesn’t suit you, you might try another Ayurvedic prescription—drinking a cup of hot water sweetened with a spoonful of raw, local honey. Both early morning beverages offer a wonderful range of benefits by strengthening the immune system and activating the digestive tract, so your body can better release toxins.
Purely Luminous: During the dry fall months, Ayurvedic practitioners recommend spending several minutes each morning massaging pure, warmed oils into the skin, which improves circulation, stimulates lymphatic flow and brings a beautiful luminosity to the skin. The heated oil absorbs deeply, and is very nourishing. Simply warm your favorite body oil—Bulgarian Lavender Body Oil is perfect—by putting the bottle in a container of very hot water for several minutes. Massage from the top of the body downward with the warmed oil, starting with the head and scalp, then the ears, neck and shoulders. Massage the arms with long strokes, and work with a circular motion for the chest, abdomen and hips. The legs can be treated also with long strokes, and you might spend a little extra time on the hands and feet. If you can, let the oil penetrate for several minutes, then wash clean in a warm shower.
Raw Power: Ayurveda recognizes that when some foods are cooked—or over-cooked—the heating process breaks down their natural benefits. The 5,000-year-old tradition prescribes raw fresh fruit in the fall, a season defined by its dry coldness, as well as grounding, soothing root vegetables, including beets and carrots as well as plenty of nuts and seeds.
Awakening the Senses: Becoming more aware of the seasons as they change through observing the sensations that come through our senses—watching the way the light changes and the natural landscape transforms, listening to the natural sounds in our environment—can also guide us into a deeper awareness of our emotions, and has the power to illuminate our relationship with stress, or to help us more fully experience gratitude for our connection.
All Together: On Sundays, I love to pick vegetables and herbs from my garden to make a traditional Ayurvedic Indian dinner for my family. It’s fun to listen to traditional Classical Indian music each week while preparing the meal—what lovely sound therapy!
I hope you’ll experience all the uplifting, re-invigorating power held in these simple and transformative practices. Over time, even the smallest shifts in our seasonal routine create momentum and true transformation.