You know that surge of turmeric-spiced drinks and clarified butter pics you’ve been seeing all over the internet? Those are all thanks to Ayurveda. Translated to mean “knowledge of life,” Ayurveda is considered the oldest healing science, originating in India more than 5,000 years ago. It emphasizes balancing your health through natural elements and can guide you through everything from your morning routine to what foods to eat according to your digestive health.
The Five Elements
Ayurvedic techniques are centered around the five elements it sees as the building blocks of nature.
- Ether (Space)
It is believed that every substance, from the food on your plate to your body, contains each of these elements, but one or two are typically dominant.
The Twenty Qualities
In Ayurveda, there are also twenty qualities, called gunas, that can be used to describe and remedy every substance and experience. They are organized into ten opposites:
With these qualities, like increases like (i.e. eating light foods equals feeling lighter) and opposites balance. Say you’re a naturally warm-natured person and when summer rolls around, you feel aggravated by fiery indigestion and heartburn and generally overheated and uncomfortable. In Ayurveda, the solution is to seek out cooling elements, like air and water. So eating cooling foods like cucumbers and watermelon and looking for “chill” experiences like swimming or taking the time to veg out can help you feel better.
Try incorporating Ayurveda into your daily life with these five morning practices:
- Wake up early, ideally by 6 a.m. In Ayurveda, the lighter elements of space and air are most active from 4-6 a.m., which makes waking up easier. After that, heavier elements such as earth and water become more present, making it more likely you’ll reach for the snooze button.
- Scrape your tongue and brush your teeth first thing. Because your digestive system works hard while you sleep, it’s believed that the toxins it’s ridding your body of can end up on your tongue. So after brushing your teeth, use a stainless steel tongue scraper to remove any residue on your tongue. Scrap 5-7 times, rinsing with water in-between.
- Drink a glass of room temperature to warm water. This is meant to wake up your digestive system, and therefore your entire body and mind. Drinking it after brushing your teeth and scraping your tongue also means you won’t be swallowing any residue your body has already tried to get rid of.
- Boost your energy with some light yoga. A quick 10-15 sun salutation can loosen your joints and help you feel refreshed as you start your day.
- Enjoy breakfast at the same time every day. Eating regular meal times is important in Ayurveda because it helps your digestive system anticipate when it needs to work hardest, meaning you can digest food easier.
With 5,000 years behind it, there is so much to learn about Ayurveda, so now it’s time to do your own research and find out how this holistic wellness practice can help balance your health!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.