Ayurveda is a science that has endured for over 5,000 years. One of the reasons for its great longevity is that Ayurveda empowers you to take responsibility for your own healing. Since you know your body better than anyone else, you can make health promoting decisions to bring your body back into balance via diet and lifestyle modifications. As Ayurvedic practices become daily routines, they become second nature to you. You no longer have to keep remembering to do something that improves your health.
As you walk the path of Ayurvedic healing, you will gain immense benefit by paying close attention to your body and how it reacts and adapts to changes in diet and lifestyle. Keep a journal to record these if you’d like. You can also witness how Ayurvedic herbal supplements promote detoxification and rejuvenation. The longer that you engage in Ayurvedic practices, the more adept you will become in understanding what your body requires. While it is helpful to have the guidance of an Ayurvedic doctor or practitioner to get you on the right track, you can free yourself from seeking outside advice for even the smallest of health issues.
Another factor contributing to the longevity of Ayurveda is that Ayurvedic practices are cumulative. Everything you do creates a ripple, from scraping your tongue, to abhyanga, to taking your herbs. So even if you miss taking your herbs for a day or two, the historical efficacy of the herbs still remains in your system. If you are only able to do self-massage twice a week rather than daily, you still derive a benefit. There is no “all or none” phenomenon to concern yourself with. Over time, you witness how the power of your healthy habits has transformed your body and mind.
The doshas are also benefited from creating daily healing rituals. Of the three doshas, vata is the most resistant to stability. Vata craves change and stimulation but has difficulty sticking to a routine. The mobile quality of vata makes it quite erratic. So if you have a vata imbalance, you may have to work a little harder to get into the swing of routines. Vata dominated people often wake up at different times daily, don’t eat on a regular schedule, and are constantly multi-tasking. The more you participate in a regular routine, the healthier and more grounded your body will feel. It literally will make a world of difference for your personal and professional life. You will feel greater focus and clarity as you move throughout your day. You can accomplish more and feel a greater sense of ease knowing that you have control over your circumstances.
How do you start cultivating healthy habits? You start slowly and in small, measureable increments. Don’t try to do everything at once. For example, if you are moving towards eating an Ayurvedic diet, don’t attempt to change your entire diet overnight. Take one food group (e.g., fruit) at a time and slowly incorporate the changes over a few weeks. Then move to the next group (e.g., vegetables) for a few weeks. These adjustments to your diet will become habitual over the course of a couple months.
As far as daily habits go, select one habit to start with. You may begin with pranayama and do five rounds of Alternate Nostril Breathing in the morning. If you happen to forget one morning, just make it your intention to do so the next day until it becomes a habit. You can gradually increase the number of rounds of pranayama until you’ve created a comfortable and sustainable routine. Then move on to the next habit, such as using Nasya Oil drops. What will automatically happen is that you will feel both the subtle and physical impacts of these practices and their benefit, leading you to become empowered to cultivate healthy habits.
What healthy habits will you start cultivating?