5 Attributes of an Ayurvedic Lifestyle
Collectively, the sadhanas that make up an ayurvedic lifestyle restore us. They are rasayana (rejuvenative) to every vital tissue in the body. They are the heart of ayurveda. Without the sadhanas, the medical procedures, detoxification strategies, and other concentrated practices employed at certain times during the year are futile. Without a healthy lifestyle, treatments from all systems outside of ayurveda are generally rendered useless as well.
Sleep is the most important dinacharya practice, and one of the most powerful detoxifying practices we can engage in. Ayurveda emphasizes going to bed between 9:30PM and 10:00PM. During our sleep, we secrete melatonin, an antioxidant. Our liver also secretes antioxidants that powerfully cleanse and repair the body, and are believed to be responsible for the ‘second wind’ many of us experience when we stay up past 10:00PM.
Daily Cleansing includes practices such as having a bowel movement, brushing teeth, showering, and abhyanga massage. A thick white residue on the tongue upon waking might indicate heightened toxicity in the system or food allergies. Ayurvedic practices for daily hygiene include cleansing the seven gates (the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth). Abhyanga self-massage helps to stimulate the lymphatic and digestive systems, cleansing excess out of the tissues, lungs, and intestinal tract.
Yoga and Pranayama. Gentle yoga postures help to increase prana (life force) in our body. They also aid the detoxification process of internal organs, keep the body flexible and full of vigor, and cleanse the nadis (energetic channels). Most important, yoga prepares the mind for meditation. Pranayama (breathing exercises) are used to help control life force (prana).
Meditation. Following abhyanga, yoga, and pranayama, the body and mind are prepared to undertake a practice of meditation. Meditation is the cultivation of inner silence, where daily life is transcended and stillness is experienced as a natural state of being. It cleanses negative thinking and clears habitual patterns.
Routine. Ayurveda is a big proponent of routine and regularity. Eating at the same time every day is more powerful at entraining important organs in the body, such as the liver. Exercising during certain hours can utilize when we have more energy and build more muscle and endurance. Sleeping regularly helps the body take full advantage of important antioxidants and natural detoxification processes that happen when we sleep through the night