This new year, many of us will resolve to make changes within our diet and lifestyles that will enable us to live happier and healthier lives. Resolutions are helpful because they motivate us to develop discipline and organize our lives for the year ahead. If your new year's resolution includes losing a few pounds, Ayurveda offers some helpful recommendations to support your efforts.Continue Reading >
Fresh beginnings…optimistic perspectives…renewed focus. The new year always brings a renewal to our spirit, allowing the past to slip away and to re-center us in our potential. Positive affirmations abound as we momentarily re-evaluate our lives, our purpose, and our fulfillment. In the spirit of renewal, the Ayurvedic perspective also brings hope and inspiration. To RENEW is to resume an activity or state, perhaps after an interruption; to extend the validity or effectiveness of something; or to restore and replenish.1 Body, mind, and spirit—all three need renewal as we batter them with our choices of diet, lifestyle, emotional state, and spiritual quest. The beauty is that Ayurveda believes in the ability of the body to bounce back, even if it is already facing some challenges. Don’t you want to RENEW—to resume, restore, replenish, and extend the effectiveness of your body, your being, your existence? Renewal is a fundamental part of the Ayurvedic regimen. The body itself carries the innate ability to shed the old and start afresh. Dr. Jay Glaser, in his book Body of Renewal: The Lost Art of Self-Repair, states the following:
“Your tissues renew themselves on a regular basis. You shed your skin every 28 days – unless you have psoriasis and turn your skin over in 7 days. You make new red cells every six months, breaking down the old weak ones in your soles as you walk and excreting them in your stool. Your white cells have an even shorter life, from a few days to a few weeks. The cells that line your stomach are replaced in a matter of hours. In short, you are a nothingness in progress. Carbon-14 dating of genomic DNA, which has the lowest turnover rate of all the molecules in a cell, has shown that most tissues are much younger than your body.2 Your intestinal tissue (except the lining which you shed every few days) is 11 years old. Skeletal muscle is 15 years old. Your brain’s neurons are the most stable. This study suggested that the average age of your tissues is seven to ten years. You literally urinate out your bones as soluble calcium as you replace them with this morning’s yogurt, and exhale the lymphocytes of your spleen as carbon dioxide and water as you build new ones from the burrito at lunch.”
The question becomes not IF the body can renew itself, but rather, do we optimize its abilities to do so? To optimize means not only to give it the necessary physical building blocks, but also the more subtle ones. When your mind, emotions, and spirit aren’t harmonious, when they are stressed out over the million things you still have to get done, or when they are just ready to throw down and fight all the harassers that have gotten under your skin, this impacts your physical being as well.
You immune system and endocrine system can’t regulate, much less signal your body to rest and renew in a healthy manner. While the stressors of daily life aren’t going to disappear any time soon, you can create a number of breaks and habits in your day to remind yourself of your renewal potential. A pause, no matter how brief, is a great way to reset any unhealthy habit patterns that may be creeping in. Here are some of our favorite breaks and pauses:
- A prayer or affirmation that you say upon sleeping and awakening. This allows your mind to work on a renewing thought throughout its rejuvenation period every night. When you awaken naturally with the affirmation on your mind, you know it’s becoming a part of your being.
- A daily warm oil massage. There is no better way to shower yourself with love and attention, and to ease all the tensions that have a way of crystalizing in the body. Choose a general oil like sesame, bring in some herbs with an oil specific to your vata / pitta / kapha constitution, or toss in some mahanarayan oil if your muscles really need attention.
- A daily meditative practice. This can include a particular meditation technique, reflection, contemplation, or prayer. A daily practice helps one become a non-reactive observer in response to the various stressors of life.
- Yoga and exercise. The key is to do either (or both) being observant of the breath and how the life energy flows through the body.
- Amalaki. This Ayurvedic superfruit packs a load of antioxidants and supports your immune system so you are on top of your game. Try it as a USDA certified organic tablet, or as the primary ingredient in delicious Ayurvedic jam Chyavanprash.
- Get an afternoon boost followed by a good night’s sleep with the Ayurvedic adaptogen Ashwagandha.
- Allow your body the time it needs to renew with proper rest. To support your sleep, we offer I Sleep Soundly as a nightly herbal aid.
And if you are looking for a healthy way to kick-start your renewal process in this new year, consider doing a home cleanse with easy to digest whole foods like rice and mung dal and cleansing herbal formula Triphala. A home cleanse can not only harmonize your immune and endocrine systems, but it will also support the vital metabolism and digestion that will keep you stronger all year long. If your interest is piqued, read more about what to do and why in our free Cleanse Ebooklet, and get all the supplies you need in one place from our Organic Cleanse Kit.
Wishing you and your loved ones all the best as we make 2016 a year to remember!
“So as long as a person is capable of self-renewal, they are a living being.”