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5 Ayurvedic Practices for a Healthy New Year!


Ayur” means Life, and “Veda” is Science in Sanskrit; Ayurveda is the 5000-year-old Indian Science of Life, as well as a contemporary system of medicine in India and a form of alternative medicine in the United States of America. Ayurveda sets an individualized protocol for each individual, essentially treating each body and constitution as unique and special. This holistic protocol is based on harmony of our mind, body and spirit, as well as our relationships with family, community, and the environment. 

When you’re deciding your New Year’s resolutions, consider the Ayurvedic Triad of Health: Aahar (Diet), Nidra (Sleep) and Vihar (Balanced Living).


Nourish yourself with wholesome foods

Nutrition (Aahar) in Ayurveda refers to food, liquids, breath and sensory perceptions, all of which we manage through a wholesome diet and practices like yoga and meditation. One of the first questions we begin consultations with in Ayurveda is, “So, how is your Agni? (digestive and metabolic strength).” 

Ayurvedic science teaches that most diseases originate in the gut, and so your Agni is of utmost importance. However, don’t feel too stressed about your diet, because that, too, impacts digestion; Ayurveda has always acknowledged the gut-brain nexus. Take baby steps and incorporate changes gradually.

For instance, this winter, set a goal to cook one fresh meal every day. Eat warm, soft food with a spoon of Ghee added, and avoid cold, processed food. Drink a large glass of warm water first thing in the morning and sip warm water throughout the day. Check out more Ayurveda tips here! 


Know your body and know yourself

Life is a journey of self-discovery, and Ayurveda provides an exciting framework from which to do this. Our Prakriti, or body type (how much of which Dosha or humor we have) was determined at the time of conception, and we also have imbalances, or Vikruti, that cause disease. Find out your body type and learn how can you use this discovery to understand your health, figure out your imbalances, and set measurable goals to get back into balance. 


Practice daily exercise and yoga

Build exercise into your routine, as this reduces stress and the risk of many disorders like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Start with just 10 minutes of daily yoga, incorporating a longer routine on weekends: as it says in the Patanjali Yoga Sutra, an ancient Indian text, “Heyam Dukham Anagatam”, or “yoga prevents future pain”. Receive free Wellness Videos, content and updates starting with a yoga and practice linked to your body type (Dosha) or imbalance.


Deep sleep and enough sleep is key for the basic functioning of your mind and body (Nidra

Your body needs activity for wellbeing, and your mind needs rest and sleep. Sleep is a powerful Rasayana, or rejuvenator, and an often-neglected basic neccesity of modern life. It is vital for both the body and mind to feel rested and to heal. According to health statistics 50-70 million adults in the United States suffer from some form of sleep disorder; we need to be mindful of just how important sleep is in restoring our health. 

According to the Ayurvedic base text Charaka Samhita, happiness, proper growth, strength, potency, knowledge, and the quality of life depends on quality of sleep. Here are some Ayurvedic tips for a restful sleep:

  1. Routine: A regular routine helps one to align with natural rhythms.

  2. Nutrition: Have a nutritious diet that balances Agni (digestive and metabolic fire), hydrate a lot, and avoid caffeine and stimulants after 2 pm. Nutrition is not only what we eat but also includes breath and sensory perceptions; take a breath, set boundaries, and avoid negative news and relationships. 

  3. Soothe the senses: Try Dinacharya (daily) practices like splashing the eyes, yoga for eye care, and Nasya (oil in the nostrils). Avoid digital overload! 

  4. Breathwork: Breathing exercises before sleeping promotes sound sleep. 

  5. Regular Yoga: Try a Yin Yoga routine for alleviating stress and insomnia. 

  6. Meditation: Meditation alleviates stress, promotes sleep, and has myriad scientifically proven benefits. Try a Meditation Workshop... https://www.mudrawellness.com/online-ayurveda-consultation-course

  7. Spend time in Nature: A walk at sunrise and sunset resets our biological clock. 

  8. Exercise – Studies demonstrate that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity in a week improves sleep quality by 65 %! Exercise daily and especially Avoid try a calming yoga sequences.

  9. Ayurvedic Herbs such as Brahmi, Bacopa, Ashwagandha and Jatamansi are often recommended by Ayurvedic practitioners for sleep per consultation

  10. Therapies: Abhyanga Massage, Sneha Nasya (Herbal Oil in the nostrils), and Marma are effective sleep aids. 

  11. Daytime naps: After a meal, a walk and resting on the left side of your body aids digestion. Kapha Dosha can avoid daytime naps but they are ok for other Doshas habituated to siestas! The emaciated, sick, elderly, infants, post-trauma patients, travelers, and people doing strenuous or nighttime work need naps. 

  12. Night Routine 

  • Sleep with the setting sun and then awaken with the rising sun. (If this is not possible create a setting with dark light and white noise to simulate nighttime). 

  • Have dinner early (2 hours before sleeping) and try Turmeric or Ashwagandha Milk. Avoid late nights and late-night snacking. 

  • Maintain your bedroom uncluttered, clean, and comfortable and wear loose, comfortable pajamas. 

  • Avoid stimulating activities before sleep; try a relaxing shower, foot massage, gratitude journaling, self-reflection, white noise, soothing books, and...calming breathwork…

  • Unplug: Avoid devices and blue light after 9 pm that can disturb natural rhythms. EMF disrupts melatonin production; keep phones away or on airplane mode and wifi routers far away or turned off.

  • Wake up early to feel rested and alert, when Sattva (the truthful, clear quality of the mind) dominates at Brahma Muhurt; about 1.5 hours before sunrise. 

  • Sleeping position: Generally, Ayurveda recommends sleeping on the left side; physiologically this aids digestion and lymphatic drainage. If you are bothered by a million thoughts try sleeping on your right side (left nostrils open corresponding with the cooling energy channel, Ida Nadi). 

Try Ashwagandha Milk for Sleep

Ingredients: 

  1. 1 C cow’s milk

  2. ½ teaspoon Ashwagandha powder

  3. 1/8 teaspoon each nutmeg, cinnamon, dry ginger, cardamom 

Method: 

  1. First boil the milk

  2. Then stir in powders, and mix well, lettting it simmer for a couple of minutes. 

  3. Sweeten it with maple syrup, turbinado sugar, or honey (when warm).

Commit to a daily meditation practice and align with a higher purpose in life (Vihar)


Another great way to strengthen the mind and spirit is through increasing Satva (purity and alertness of mind in Ayurveda/Sanskrit).

Cultivate inner balance and align with a higher purpose for spiritual wellbeing (Vihar or Brahmacharya). Ayurveda teaches that creativity and loving relationships are essential for a happy and healthy life.

Ayurveda recommends meditation to bring in balance and enhance our physical, mental and spiritual well being and according to a Harvard Study, 8 weeks of meditation can change the grey matter of the brain. We want to increase the calm, peacefull illuminating qualities of the mind - Satva.

This makes it easier to accomplish our tasks and alleviate depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric ailments. We increase Satva through light, fresh food, breathwork, meditation and seeking out knowledge and wisdom daily, as tools in your Sadhana (spiritual practice). 


Serve and bring out the divine qualities in others (Seva)

Ayurveda considers our connection with family and community to be a vital part of our health. 

Encourage others and connect authentically with family and friends; be mindful of being overworked, tech-overloaded, and phone and social media usage. Be in Satsang, defined as being in the company of truth and around people that uplift us; which helps all of us meet our individual and societal goals. Volunteering or helping others (Seva or service) is the best kept secret of mental health; studies have shown that helping others lowers blood pressure and reduces feelings of depression. Oxytocin production spikes in most people who volunteer regularly. That is the hormone of peace and happiness.


Honor natural rhythms

Spending time in nature by itself is a Rasayana, a rejuvenator. We are a part of nature and will go back to nature.

There is a rhythm to nature which benefits our all-around health; circadian rhythms, seasons, a rhythm to our breath, to when we sleep and wake up, when we eat, our heartbeat, menstrual cycles, hormones; indeed, there is a poetry and rhythm to everything in nature. Align your lifestyle to daily rhythms or Dinacharya for optimal health and seasonal rhythms or Ritucharya. Here are some recommendations on your Ayurvedic regimen in these cold winter months. 

Winter months can get lonely and isolating, so stay connected with good friends and like-minded people! Exercise enough and keep to a routine. In terms of yoga, warming sequences like Sun Salutations, Warrior, forward, and backward bends are great and breathing exercises like Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) and more brisk breathwork like Kapal Bhati and Bhastrika for dense days.

Start Anytime! Start Just Now!

Whether you are looking for a fresh and inspiring start to the New Year or are simply reading this becasue you are ready for change now - along with the Ayurvedic TRIAD OF HEALTH of Food, Sleep and Balanced Living - consider the most important question of the year and of your life:

What makes you happy?  And what are you doing towards that goal?

Here’s wishing you a blessed, happy, healthy, health-filled New Year!



At Mudra Wellness I provide support and direction for your health needs as well as Detox Programs and Custom Health Plans via Consultation which have three foundational pillars: Food as Medicine, Good Sleep, and Ayurvedic lifestyle practices and herbs.

For these and Yin Yoga classes on demand visit Mudrawellness.com 


Jill Michelle Palmer, Ayurvedic Practitioner and E-RYT500 Certified Yoga Teacher.

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