Ayurveda, a mind-body system developed by the sages of India millennia ago, is gathering speed. It is currently the hottest rising trend in the world of spiritual health.
Ayurveda is becoming hugely popular thanks mostly to the rise of yoga and meditation.
Until the last few years, Ayurveda was known by only the most ardent yogis. But yoga has grown in popularity by more than 50% over the past five years (source: Harvard). And meditation is growing in similar numbers.
Ayurveda is an incredibly complex healing practice with its roots in ancient India.
Ayurveda itself actually means Knowledge of Life (Ayur = life, Veda = knowledge). It is a system built on two main principles: 1) mind and body are inextricably connected, and 2) the mind is the most powerful way of transforming the body.
Ayurveda can be used to create physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. It achieves this through the use of food, beverages, herbal supplements, mindfulness, and exercise.
One of the most popular Ayurvedic techniques currently is oil pulling.
Oil pulling involves swilling coconut oil around the mouth for twenty minutes every morning. This simple practice is a powerful way of cleaning the teeth, treating gingivitis, and creating oral health. I have personally been using oil pulling for the past 3 months and have seen some excellent results. My gums look much pinker and healthier and my teeth are cleaner than ever.
There are many other benefits of the Ayurvedic system:
- It creates overall wellness
- It helps improve quality of sleep
- It purifies the mind
- It reduces toxins in the body
Thanks to these benefits, Ayurveda is becoming hugely popular.
Packaged Facts, a leading publisher or research in the foods and beverage market, tells THE DAILY MEDITATION that Ayurveda is currently trending amongst Baby Boomers, Millennials, and anyone interested in holistic health.
Unlike other diets, such as the Paleo system, Ayurveda is not an exclusive practice. It is a complimentary one.
The majority of people practicing Ayurveda are using it as a complimentary practice. I’ve personally been using oil pulling alongside an Alkaline diet. The Ayurvedic technique does not interfere with the diet and is easy to fit into your current lifestyle, which is one reason why it is becoming so popular.
Try integrating the following nine Ayurvedic practices into your lifestyle for a health boost.
9 of the best Ayurvedic Practices To Try
NOTE: Arguably the most important Ayurveda practice is meditation. I recommend reading our complete guide to meditation before trying the Ayurvedic techniques below.
- Oil pulling
Oil pulling is my favorite Ayurvedic practice. It is a very effective way of cleaning the mouth, teeth, tongue and gums. However, it is not an alternative to brushing your teeth.
So, how to do oil pulling.
Purchase some organic coconut milk. Swill it around your mouth, pulling it between your teeth, for twenty minutes every morning. Oh, and you’re going to be surprised how hard this is the first time you do it. But it soon becomes easy.
Oil pulling detoxifies the mouth, which in turn detoxifies the body. In my experience it is pure magic for the teeth and gums, and it will also whiten teeth but only a little.
In the Ayurvedic health system the mouth is incredibly important. Oral heath is very closely related to health in other parts of the body. One of the best ways to health a body is to have a healthy mouth (whether that means curing gingivitis or simply having white teeth is up to you).
- Try Abhyanga—self-massage with body oil.
Hands up who likes good massage?
In Abhyanga we give ourselves a full body massage using body oil. This helps the body stay hydrated and softens the skin. The warm oil absorbed into the skin increases circulation and boosts the lymphatic system.
It is traditional to use sesame or coconut oil for this, depending on your dosha (you can find out your Dosha using this test on the Chopra Center). It is best to massage the oil before beginning the massage and then begin to massage from head to toe using circular motions.
Taaj has body oils that can be used for Abhyanga. Find their products here.
3 Mindful Eating
Diet is very important in the Ayurvedic health system. Equally as important as what we eat is how we eat it.
Food should be eaten mindfully. Scoffing food down dissociates the mind from the body. Eating mindfully heightens the mind-body connection.
Modern society demands that we rush everything, but the wise among us know to take our time and to appreciate the moments. One of the best times to do so is while eating.
Mindful eating can be practiced with the family. Mothers and fathers might like to suggest that the whole family eat slowly and mindfully, focusing on the process of eating and being conscious and awake while at the dinner table.
- Pranayama (Breathing Exercises)
Take a look at this guide to mindful breathing exercises (Anapanasati). They are some of the best ways to slow the mind down, to connect with the moment, and to increase consciousness.
Buddhism, Hinduism, Yoga and Ayurveda all advocate the use of breathing exercises. By meditating on the breath we slow the mind, increase oxygen intake, and fill the body with positive energy.
One Ayurvedic breathing exercise is Kapalabhati in which the breath is used to pull the belly in. We then breathe our forcefully. This heightens Agni (fire) and is a good exercise for the abs.
- Sweating (Swedana)
The skin is the largest organ in the human body. And the skin can be used to remove impurities from the body. The key to doing this is sweating. When we sweat we open the pores, allowing impurities to leave the body through the skin.
Swedana is a purifying Ayurvedic practice. Traditionally, it is done by practicing Abhyana (massage) and then having a herbal steam bath.
Shoe some love for your body by trying this technique. Get some vigorous exercise so you’re sweating. Then have a full-body massage (Abhyana). And then continue to Swedana (herbal steam bath). This will purify the skin.
- 6. Drink Ginger Tea
Mother nature truly is the source of great health and happiness. The sun, water, fresh air… and ginger tea.
One thing that surprises a lot of people is that drinking cold water can interfere with digestion. Warm water is actually a lot kinder on the body. Especially if that warm water has ginger tea in it. Ginger tea is another great way of boosting Agni (digestive fire) and helps improve digestion. Your body will be thankful if you drink more ginger tea.
Why not do it now. Go grab either a ginger tea, or just a plan black or green tea with ginger added to it. Drink it while you read the rest of this article. Simple.
- Scrape your tongue
The tongue is a haven for bacteria. Getting rid of that bacteria is one of the best ways of boosting dental health and overall wellbeing.
The easiest and one of the most effective ways of removing bacteria from the tongue is with a tongue scraper.
This is incredibly quick to do and has no side-effects except for possibly gagging. There really is no reason not to practice tongue scraping.
It is important to have a good tongue scraper. I recommend this one from Diamond Dental System.
- Appreciate the six Ayurvedic tastes
To get the most out of food, include all six tastes of Ayurvedic nutrition. They are: Sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent.
Here’s a great way to boost consciousness of food: grab a fruit, vegetable, nut or legume and mindful eat it. Not note which one of the six tastes above that you think it is. Try to include at least one food from all six groups in every meal.
An easy easy to do this is to mix Ayurvedic spices like Cayenne pepper, ginger, and cinnamon.
Not sure what to cook up? Take a look at Kate O’Donnell’s excellent book The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook.
- Enjoy a lovely Basti (Enema)
Here’s an alternative way of using herbal oil: introduce it to your rectum.
Basti (enema) is performed by using herbal oil on the rectum in order to lubricate the intestinal tract. It’s actually a great way of removing toxins from the intestinal tract. Clearly, not for everyone. But if you really want to show compassion to your body this is a great way to do it, because the health benefits are amazing.
The world is awakening to the power of the Ayurvedic health system. And only good can come of it.
Which of the above Ayurvedic practices have you tried? And what do you think about Ayurveda in general?
Leave a comment.