Leave it to Ayurveda to devote an entire branch of its ancient science to the practice of rejuvenation. One can only imagine how important this concept should be in our stressed-out, ever-busy world.
Rasayana, the Ayurvedic tradition of rejuvenation, is all about slowing the aging process, boosting our immunity, and bringing our body/mind/spirit back into balance. It gently asks us to dedicate time to this process of deep nourishment.
Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? But I know from personal experience that slowing down and nurturing oneself is not easy for many of us—especially when we seem to live our lives in constant motion.
The Vata Connection
Vata = movement. Even if vata dosha is not predominant in your constitution, we live in a very energetically vata world. The Internet, transportation, communication, and our addiction to cell phones, are just a few examples.
I will never forget a wise healer saying to me when I was frustrated and struggling with a chronic illness, “It takes the body a long time to get to a state of imbalance, and it can take an equally long time to bring it back to balance.”
The practice of rejuvenation is crucial for someone dealing with an illness. There is no magic pill for us to regain good health and vitality. It takes time.
The other day I was struggling to write this article—it was all jumbled up in my head—so I took a break and sat down to watch a TV show. Halfway through, I heard one of the characters say, “The most important thing is stillness and rest.”
Made me laugh out loud.
Tell that to a vata-type. We like to move. And yet I know what vata burnout feels like. As if my very cells are crying for a nap. Because they are!
Vata is often referred to as the dosha of depletion. And Ayurveda wisely suggests a period of rejuvenation to fill our well with energy, joy, stamina, and an overall feeling of well-being. As much as I sometimes fight against it, slowing down and nurturing myself really works.
Unlike a boot camp mentality where we push our bodies to extremes, rejuvenation can bring about remarkable results, all while being gentle, nourishing, and healing to our very core. It brings our mind, body, and spirit back into balance.
Just last month I traveled to the Catskill Mountains for a week. I turned off my phone, didn’t look at a computer, or even read a book. I sat with the river, walked in a meadow, communed with people around a campfire. Nothing, in my humble opinion, heals like being in Nature.
Tips for Fall
Fall is vata season for those of us in the northern hemisphere, and it’s a perfect time for rasayana. Here are some easy tips that everyone can do:
- Eat seasonally. The foods Mother Nature provides for us each season are just what our bodies need.
- Get adequate rest. Seems obvious, yet we often fight against it.
- Meditation, yoga, qigong, and tai chi, are all practices that are remarkably healing for the body, mind, and spirit.
- Try Chyavanprash, a famous Ayurvedic nutritive jam that is deeply nourishing.
- Start following a daily routine, one of Ayurveda’s most important teachings.
- Learn to nurture yourself as much as you do others.
Check out this Fall Rejuvenation Guide which will give more targeted suggestions, including herbal remedies, for your particular constitution.
All constitutions (vata, pitta, kapha, and their various combinations) will benefit greatly from a period of rest and rejuvenation. It doesn’t mean we have to put our lives on hold. Not many of us can do that anyway. Start with one or two of the above suggestions and go from there.
Stop and smell the roses. Or the pine trees. Or the ocean. Rest without any agenda. Just be.
Our mind, body, and spirit will thank us when we honor them with a period of rejuvenation. We will shine from the inside out, cells renewed, skin glowing, with enough energy and vitality to spread joy wherever we go! I say “we” because I’m going to try my best to follow my own advice. The world can use some extra joy, don’t you think?