Summer and I have felt a strong pull to study Ayurveda for years. Back in Florida, we were introduced to iconic text, The Yoga of Herbs by Dr. Vasant Lad. It sparked a new way of seeing our food, understanding healing herbs and our bodies. We couldn’t get enough of making our own ghee, mixing adaptogenic curry blends & having a pot of kitchari on the stove at all times.
Last fall, we started studying at the Dhyana Center under DeAnna Batdorf and have taken our love of Ayurveda to a whole new level. The Foundations of Ayurveda Course has powerfully blended Western Herbalism with Ayurveda in a way that makes it approachable for modern times. Most of all, learning these practices steeped in a foundation of elemental theory, have given us a renewed sense of empowerment to make decisions that will bring our bodies back into balance on a daily level. Here are a few of those practices that anyone can do to support overall well being.
e l e m e n t s // Ayurveda reminds us that everything is made up of the elements. We know this by our daily direct experiences and observations. We walk outside and notice the weather, the shape of leaves on a tree, the crunch of the ground under our feet—there’s ether, air, fire, water and earth. When we’re experiencing an excess or deficiency in one of the elements, we can balance it with the opposite.
That means, if we’re running cold or dry we need more warming wet foods to balance those elements in the body. On the other hand, if we’re damp or have a lot of mucus with inflammation, then we need cleansing and cooling foods or herbs. Try noticing how your body feels throughout the day. Are you called to certain foods or flavors? Try using the tool ‘balancing with the opposite’ and see if you feel a shift.
b r e a t h // We have a choice every second to decide how we want to respond to life through our breath. If there is one take-away from this ancient science it is learning how to breath and being aware of your breath to make positive changes in your life. Our breath is our communication with our bodies. Our glands, or chakras, are the first affected, they signal the hormones, nervous system and organs to function accordingly to the state of our breath. Are we telling our bodies we’re anxious by holding our breath? Are we communicating that we’re calm by taking deep full inhales and being aware of our exhales? Just coming back to being mindful of the breath is so powerful even if its only for a few moments. Meditation helps us to settle into this awareness more often. See how many times throughout the day you can bring your awareness back to your breath—in traffic, at the computer or before eating a meal.
o i l // Self oil massage, or ahbayanga, is such a beautiful gift we can give ourselves to help move the lymphatic fluid that’s right under our skin. Unlike our blood, the lymph doesn’t have a giant pump moving it through the body. The lymph moves when we move. It gets sluggish and stagnant when we get sluggish and stagnant. Oh, and the lymph is also our immune system! Rarely do we recognize that in fact our lymph health is the basis of our immune health. Start by doing some dry brushing before getting into the shower, making long strokes from your feet and hands towards your heart. Next, apply some warm oil, sesame is great, and massage your body in the same way you dry brushed. Don’t worry about washing off the oil with soap in the shower. The warm water allows the oil to penetrate the skin for deep moisture that is truly calming to the nervous system.
s a l t // These edible crystals have been prized throughout time for its healing properties and distinct flavor. The magic of salt begins in its formation—-when the electromagnetic charge of the oceans waves makes contact with the charge of land, it creates an electrolyte crystal we know as sea salt. Electrolytes allow the body to send electrical signals from one cell to another. Adding magnesium rich grey sea salt to your daily water helps support the kidneys to move water where it needs to go in the body properly. If you find that you drink a ton of water and also pee a lot, salt will help you to absorb more of the water. Try adding 1/2 tsp of grey salt to your daily water. If it tastes too salty add less. You can always adjust salt to taste.
s p i c e // Ancient people knew the enzymatic power of spices to help support digestion. Spices not only make your food come alive, but they also have important functions in the body. Without proper enzymes the body has a hard time breaking down food and absorbing nourishment. Let your taste buds be your guide when adding spices to your food. They are great tools to use when ‘balancing with opposites’ during meal time. Try adding more warming spices like cardamom and ginger to your meals when you’re running cold. Bitter spices likes methi leaf (fenugreek leaf) and turmeric are great if you need more cooling-cleansing in your meals.
Ready to learn more about traditional foods and elemental herbalism? Join us for a grounding weekend as we focus on releasing blockages while helping you tap into your deep creative potential. The adventure includes 3 nights stay at the beautiful desert oasis, Korakia Pensione, menu curated by yours truly, daily yoga with Nina Endrst, herbal cooking workshops + so much more!
Pop over to FP Escapes to reserve your spot for this magical weekend getaway!