As part of my yoga teacher training program, we spent a weekend immersed into Ayurveda; learning about all the ins and outs of this ancient healing method that originated in India more than 5,000 years ago.
From an outsider’s perspective, it is easy to be skeptical of Ayurveda and its ancient ways of healing and understanding the body. For example, some practices include oiling the body, tongue scraping and drinking out of a copper cup (click here to read about other Ayurveda routine practices).
Yet, with any practice or lifestyle regime, it is up to you to find the right balance of rituals and choices that work best for you and your body. This lesson is the root of all practices in Ayurveda, for everyone has their own constitution and you have to tailor your lifestyle decisions based on this flow of energy you were born with.
This doesn’t just mean checking off the boxes of your Ayurveda checklist according to what practices are recommended for you, it means truly believing the practice has benefits and adjusting other elements of your life as necessary to create balance. This is another important Ayurvedic belief; achieving balance.
Balance is something I am constantly striving to feel in my mind and body. I always want to do everything and anything that is good for me and many times this can have the opposite effect. This is exactly what happened to me when I integrated Ayurveda practices into my life for the first 30 days of January.
Being the curious health nut I am, I wanted to do everything and did not want to “fail” at it. I decided that I would wake up at 5:30 a.m. during the week, I would drink out of the copper cup each morning as well as scrape my tongue, drink tulsi tea, practice yoga everyday, and go to bed before 10:00 p.m.
The first two weeks of my regime was great. In my mind I was the queen of Ayurveda. I went to the gym every morning and felt refreshed and awake for work. The tongue scrapper was allowing me to look at my tongue every morning and see how the shape and color of my tongue changed with certain foods I ate. Not sure what the copper cup did, but I was doing it. I had my tusli tea every morning at work and I would take yoga classes at night if I was not able to get in a class in the morning on top of my usual workouts.
The third week was a different story. Life got busy and I was tired. I was trying to do too much. The yoga everyday along with my regular workout regime made my body and mind exhausted. From there, I ran out of tusli tea and stopped drinking it for a couple days. I also was almost too tired that I had a hard time going to bed before 11:00 p.m. This then caused me to sleep in one or two mornings a week.
Then a week later I got sick. The kind of sick where your body is so tired you can barely get out of bed or off the couch. I literally ran my body and mind into the ground. Ironic huh? I turn to Ayurveda as a healing method to prevent illness and I end up getting sick when I never do. The key lesson learned from this experience is that my Ayurvedic practices fueled my imbalances.
According to my constitution, I’m a pitta. I am high energy and thrive on achievement. Therefore, adding these practices to my plate and neglecting to make other changes to my life caused the “fire” within me to ignite and before I knew it, I was literally burned out.
Now that it is January 31st, I am ready to try 30 days focusing on what Ayurveda really is, healing practices that foster balance in my mind and body. Time for some real ommmmmm in my life!