May 16, 2011

4 Ridonkulously Simple Ayurvedic Tips.

Your Morning Will Thank You.

It’s been several months since I visited the good people at Sensorielle Ayurvedic Spa. This blog post is long overdue, and testament in equal parts to my procrastinatory prowess and my recent GTD commitment to, well, Getting Things Done.

This actually helps you, dear reader.  My deplorable deadline skills in this case makes for an even more valuable review of the tips I gleaned from my Ayurvedic consultation.  Now I can truly tell you which tips and practices I’m still up to, months later.   After all, who’s interested in more tips to put on your coffeetable of a to do list? These are so simple that even I can do them, and so effective, they’re less chore, more joy.

For your edification and enjoyment, then, here are the top 4 tips my lovely Ayurvedic therapist offered me in January that I’m still rockin’, today.

by  wildphotons

1. The morning water cure. Most of us drink a glass or two of water in the morning, whether thanks to instinct or folk wisdom. It helps flush out toxins and gets the guts moving.  Ayurveda agrees, but suggests several helpful tweaks: warm the water, add a quarter of fresh squeezed lemon, and a tablespoon of honey (raw, organic, please!). Why? Ayurvedic wisdom envisions your digestive “fire,” or agni, as something akin to lava. Copious amounts of cool water can dampen this firey juice; lemon and honey are both considered “warming” elements, as is the literal temperature of the water. My body has responded quite well to this, and now when I’m waking up, lolling around in bed, I love the thought of my warm honey-lemon water. Lemon also supports your liver function and is great for weight loss.

by  Helga Weber

2. Get a tongue scraper. Among all its other wondrous functions, the tongue is an organ of detoxification. The proof is in that white film over them when we get out of bed in the morning. So before you gulp down that morning water cure, spend 30 seconds gently removing that gunk so you don’t swallow it down. It’s super quick, and your breath and day will simply be fresher. Trust me: it makes a big difference.

by  zoyachubby

3. Carry fennel seeds in your purse. (Or man bag, backpack, bike bag, laptop case.) Fennel seeds soothe an upset stomach and freshen the breath (they taste like licorice when you chew ‘em!). These little guys are traditionally placed on your way out of Indian restaurants to aid digestion of a rich meal and cleanse that curry aftertaste. I just carry a little jar in my purse instead of gum and in case of peptic distress. They’re fun to chew and really work!

4. Know your dosha. There are three main body types in Ayurvedic wisdom. Known as the doshas, these types determine what might be the best food for you to eat, the most effective exercise regimen, and even how you think. The three tips above are good for all doshas, but more precise recommendations can be made if you know your dosha. (For example: kapha types should avoid bananas; pitta types should avoid spicy foods; vata types should eat warming meals.) There are many places online to help you determine your dosha, but it’s truly an art form and the best way is to talk to an Ayurvedic practitioner. Finding out that my constitution’s pitta-kapha has helped me understand so much about myself — my characteristic quick stride, sensitive skin, and hot weather-induced crankiness. The more I learn about my dosha, the more equipped I am to balance my body, mind, and mood.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to do things in an all-or-nothing way: smoke a pack a day and go cold turkey; go from omnivore to raw vegan overnight; don’t just dabble in yoga, do it 3 hours a day or not at all. (I think you can blame my pitta for this, but I’m not sure!) So when I heard about Ayurveda, the ancient Indian healing art, I simultaneously beamed and groaned, “another system to adopt fully!” My practitioner at Sensorielle nipped this in the bud, though, and showed me how simple adding just a few daily practices to your life can be — and how effective. Give them a try and post your experience below!

~ All of these tips are courtesy of Melissa de Rito, the Ayurvedic Practitioner at Sensorielle Spa in downtown Boulder. I hope these inspire you to give her a visit if you’re in town. This is just a small sampling of the many tips she shared with me—I’ve never left an office with so many practical, simple tips! Her keen clarity inspired trust, and her gentle insistence that she didn’t want to change my entire lifestyle put me at ease.

Sensorielle is an exceptionally green, eco-friendly spa, too. The space is made from sustainable materials (the treatment rooms have cork floors!), they strictly limit paper usage, insist on natural cleaning products and laundry services, and recycle obsessively. It’s also simply the most relaxing little oasis you could hope to find!

“At the heart of Ayurveda is the concept of non-violence. This means taking on a parent/child or student/teacher approach with yourself. Any time we hope to make a lasting change we must look at the approach we’re taking. Ayurveda is a gentle and gradual approach and its emphasis is on personal experience. The beauty of the sadhana (daily practice) is that you can pick one thing at a time, feel its results and decide from there to continue. It is best to add things gradually so you can develop that self-awareness around each part of the practice. From there it begins to feel effortless to continue, because the desire comes from an internal volition to treat yourself with loving kindness and a natural curiosity or playfulness can develop. This is the best way to learn!” ~ Melissa Di Rito

Tell ’em Angela sent you. And do yourself a favor:  don’t procrastinate.

Please note: to satisfy my (and EJ’s) editorial ethics, I should tell you that my consultation at Sensorielle was gratis. However, fear not:  I’m not one to mince words, and everything you read here is heartfelt and true. If I’d hated it, I would have said so—trust me!

For more about Ayurveda, check out The Ayurvedic Institute, my review of Sensorielle’s Ayurvedic facial treatment, and John Douillard’s Ayurvedic tips for dark circles under the eyes.

For more by me, check out my thoughts on Christian yoga, the complete protein myth, running barefoot, and Jews.




Bonus videos!

How to Combat Burnout 


All about Oil Pulling 




Relephant reads:

10 Weird but Awesome Habits that Aren’t Just for Hippies.
21 Easy Ways to a Beautiful Daily Detox



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