Ayurveda comes from two Sanskrit words. ‘Ayur’ means ‘Life’ and Veda means ‘the Knowledge or Science of’. So Ayurveda literally translates as The Science of Life. Ayurveda has its roots in ancient India and encompasses both philosophy and science. In fact, it is the world’s oldest medical healing system and provides us with a wonderful blueprint of how to live a long, healthy and happy life.
How to get started
In Ayurveda we take a holistic view when it comes to healing and caring for ourselves and anything that goes in, or on, our bodies must have been considered for its effect on the mind, body and spirit to be truly effective.
For me, a routine to start and end the day and products that complement this are really key. I want something that will not only address any external concerns, but will also stimulate my senses, support my body and mind with effective ingredients and help me to build upon my daily self care rituals while being good for people and planet. These are all important considerations from an Ayurvedic perspective. Indeed, daily self-care rituals or Dinacharya are described in the ancient Ayurvedic texts as being something we should all find time for if we want to live a long and healthy life.
Build a morning routine
Start the day with tongue scraping, using a few gentle strokes on your tongue with a copper tongue scraper. This removes any toxins that have built up overnight ( think of that white coating you see on your tongue first thing in the morning!) and stimulates saliva which in turn gently awakens the digestive system. You can then have a cup of warm water with some root ginger to give you an extra boost. You could then spend just 10-15 minutes giving yourself a massage with some warm oil to stimulate the lymphatic system and nourish your skin. Traditionally, this would be done with plain sesame oil, but if you want to add a further boost to the senses then any good quality oil with essential oils will make for a luxurious start to the day. After showering off the oil, find a quiet spot for a short five minute meditation.
Make time to meditate
Making this a priority has really made a difference to my overall wellbeing in the last few years. It’s important to create a little space somewhere that feels like your own sanctuary. Soft pillows, blankets, crystals and candles can all help set the scene. As well as lighting a candle it can be beneficial to clear the energy of the space around you, either by burning sage or using a mist spray. The Detox and Purify Face and Space mist works well here - and I would begin with a gentle mist over my face before spritzing in the space around me to cleanse the air and help purify any negative energy. Take a few moments to breathe in the essential oils and slow the heart rate before starting a short meditation. It’s a great idea to keep a spray like this in your office, bedroom or just keep in your bag for whenever you need to take a moment to breathe and clear the energy of the space around you.
The Evening routine
An evening routine is just as important as a morning one, and you should always allow yourself some little moments of self care. I like to take some time to remove my make up and give my face a gentle massage with my favourite Kansa Wand (an ayurvedic beauty tool for helping to smooth fine lines, release tension from the face and encourage lymphatic drainage) before having a long soak in the bath. Opt for some purifying bath salts in the warmer months and a luxurious bath oil when it’s colder and your skin naturally feels like it needs more nourishment! This ties in with an Ayurvedic view of living harmoniously with the seasons and nature. The Detox and Purify bath salts have a lovely powder to milk texture which aids detoxification of the skin while still feeling very nourishing and the scent is beautifully calming before bed.
Check in with yourself
While it’s important to stick to a morning and evening routine to create a sense of calm in an otherwise pretty hectic world! I always think it is useful to have a few different products on hand to suit my mood or needs on any particular day or even time of year. In Ayurveda we are constantly looking to work with the energies inside and outside our bodies to achieve balance, so tuning in with yourself each day is so important. Just close your eyes and ask yourself how you feel and what you need and what the energies of your body are trying to tell you.
The Doshas and you
In Ayurveda we divide these energies into 3 categories called the ‘doshas’. The three doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha and they each contain two of the five elements or building blocks of life; Ether, Air, Fire, Water Earth.
We all have a unique constitution and how much of each dosha is present within us will vary from person to person.
- VATA ( Air + Ether) The Vata dosha is made up of the elements of Air and Ether and is responsible for our creative spark, energy and movement. When out of balance Vata is responsible for creating dryness, anxiety and trouble sleeping.
- PITTA ( Fire + Water) The Pitta dosha is the elements of Fire and Water. It represents our digestion, our ambitions, comprehension and forward drive to get things done. Out of balance we can feel agitated, short tempered and suffer with inflammation.
- KAPHA ( Water + Earth) The Kapha dosha represents the elements of Water and Earth. It is our stability and grounding and a lovely calming energy to be around. Just like the other two, Kapha can also be out of balance at times and this will manifest as feelings of lethargy, heaviness and inertia.
Feeling a bit of all the doshas?
Most people find that at different times they are displaying one or more of the above signs of being a bit out of balance. Just as you may have one type of moisturiser for the summer and another one for the winter months - so too should you adapt your food, lifestyle and self care habits to reflect how you feel at different times of the year or just on different days of the week. These elements of Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth are in a constant state of flux depending on internal and external factors. Listening to your body and understanding its needs and making the required tweaks as necessary is one of the best things you can do for your wellbeing.
If you are unsure which dosha you fit into - there is also a fourth category known as ‘Tri Doshic’. When something is Tri Doshic it will be helpful for all three of the doshas. A good all-rounder! The ‘Detox and Purify’ range has products that are suitable for all doshas. I love the use of ingredients such as stress-fighting adaptogenic schisandra and restorative elemi. We are all so unique, and everyone will have different needs at different times but having a structure to your morning and evening and taking those precious moments to check in with yourself and perform some small acts of self care will help to keep you feeling balanced.