Ayurveda 101: 5 Simple Shifts to Feel Better Today

Parsley Health
August 31, 2016

To get back into balance means getting back in tune with nature—your true nature.

Ayurveda is a 5,000-year old holistic system of medicine that originated in India. While many people think of Ayurveda just in terms of nutrition, it goes much deeper than that.

The ancient sages that created Ayurveda discovered that everything in the Universe, including human beings, are made up of the qualities of the five elements: earth, air, fire, water, and space. These five elements exist in pairs in the three doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—which make up one’s individual constitution. Vata is air and space. Pitta is fire and water. Kapha is earth and water.

Within Ayurveda, your constitution can determine which specific nutritional and lifestyle practices are best-suited to maintain optimal health, and which practices and treatments are the most effective in bringing your mind, body, and spirit back into balance.

When any of the five elements go out of balance, it creates the optimal environment for disease to manifest. While a skilled Ayurvedic practitioner can help you determine your dosha and specific imbalances, there are a few simple practices that you can begin doing today that will help you achieve more balance in your life.

Ayurveda for beginners

1. “Resting is an action.”

Our bodies and minds need rest, but most of us don’t get enough of it. According to Ayurveda, rest is achieved in two ways: through sleep and meditation .

During sleep, your body is able to rest, rejuvenate, and detoxify . Most people, especially here in the United States, are sleep-deprived, which can lead to premature aging, weakened immune function, and psychological disorders. While we’ve been trained to think that “doing” is better, as one of my meditation teachers told me, “Resting is an action.” Rest needs to be on everyone’s daily “to-do” list. Ideally, you want to aim to get to bed by 10 pm, but if that seems too early, aim to get to bed a half-hour earlier for a week or two, then continue moving the time back.

Daily meditation is another way to give your body deep rest while also expanding consciousness. With regular meditation, you can begin to increase your awareness, be more present (not stuck in the past or future), and let go of old patterns of thinking that are driving self-sabotaging behaviors and patterns.

Meditation creates the pathway to reconnecting to your true self and your primal nature, which is to make positive choices for yourself and those around you. It’s here that what we need, what we want, and what we do all agree with one another.

If the idea of a daily meditation practice seems daunting, start out with just five minutes per day of silent, focused breathing.

2. Strengthen your digestion.

Ayurveda states that good health is the byproduct of our ability to properly digest and assimilate what we eat, feel, and experience. When your digestive fire, or Agni, is strong, you can break down the food you eat, absorb the nutrients you need, and eliminate waste and toxins effectively. If your Agni is weak, this can cause toxic buildup in the body called Ama. Ama accumulation leads to blockages in energy flow, nutrient absorption, and bliss, and fosters the ideal environment for illness to manifest.

A few tips to help you improve digestion are to practice mindful eating, such as sitting when you’re eating, eating away from distractions, eating slowly, thoroughly chewing your food, and eating until 75% full. Another simple, yet powerful, practice is to sip hot water throughout the day. This helps to stimulate digestion , burn up Ama, and boost metabolism.

3. Move your body.

Not only will daily physical activity help to improve your metabolism, but it also helps to detoxify the body and improve energy, mood, and cognitive function . Variety and respect for your body’s needs is key here. Focus on incorporating aerobic, strength, and stretching exercises that feel good to you as part of your weekly workout routines . You don’t have to feel miserable to get healthy. Start where it feels realistic for you and make a commitment to increase your time and intensity from there where appropriate.

4. Get out into nature.

We are a part of nature, yet too many of us spend our time behind our computers surrounded by four walls. When we make decisions that go against our highest good, such as consistently eating unhealthy foods, drinking too much , not exercising, or not sleeping , this is a clear indication that we are out of tune with nature. This can bring about emotions of feeling lost, disconnected, depressed, anxious, and fearful.

One of the best ways to ground yourself is to spend more time in nature. Dedicate at least 10-15 minutes every day to spending time in a park, at the beach, or on a hike. Take off your shoes and plant your feet in the grass or sand for a few minutes. This grounding energy can totally transform your day!

5. Cultivate more enjoyment.

Happiness is not a luxury and you don’t have to wait to experience it. There are opportunities every day to raise your vibration and create feelings of love and bliss in your life. When we feel weighed down, there is always an opportunity to swing the scale in the other direction.

Make an effort to cultivate loving and supportive relationships, eat without guilt, give yourself permission to be silly and laugh like you did when you were a child, take a vacation , and work on releasing emotional stressors from your life. Some great techniques for this are meditation, pranayama breathing, journaling, gratitude, EFT, and support from an expert team!

Ready to take control of your health? Schedule a call  to learn more about Parsley’s root-cause approach, using insurance  with Parsley, and how we can personalize your health journey.

Parsley Health

Parsley Health is the doctor that helps you live healthier, longer, by treating the root cause of symptoms and conditions. Our medical teams—staffed by leading clinicians and health coaches—spend more time with you, order the right tests, and prescribe food, sleep and movement alongside medications so you can get better—and feel better.

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