By Amanda Turner
As the seasons change, it is easy to become overwhelmed and feel as though you are forced to passively accept the challenges that come your way. When that overwhelming feeling sets in, you may have reached a state of imbalance that seems impossible to get out of. Fortunately, balancing your life does not have to be a mystery. Here is how to create a balanced life in a season of chaos and stress:
Ayurveda, the ancient, sister-science of yoga, offers us countless recommendations for how to live a healthy, balanced life. The preventative care that this system of health encourages works to prevent overwhelm and instead keep you grounded and at ease for the long-term. A few general recommendations include creating routine and giving yourself time for self-care on a regular basis.
One of the best ways to reduce stress is to incorporate gentle exercise into your schedule. Yoga, swimming, even a walk in the park with your dog can be excellent ways to get active in a non-competitive environment. If possible, consider exercising with a friend or family member, so you can enjoy quality time together while creating space from the challenges of your day-to-day.
Another important factor in balance is ensuring you eat good food and get enough sleep. These are two of the most basic needs that often get brushed aside when life gets hectic. Instead of resorting to take-out and staying up well past midnight, give yourself the gift of a mindful meal at home and a solid night of slumber.
When life feels out of control, the last thing you want to worry about are home repairs. Make sure your home is not on your to-do list by keeping up with home maintenance and scheduling any repairs that need to be completed. When your home is running smoothly, your life will feel easier.
If you have a growing--or endless--to do list, it’s possible that the weight of these requirements is contributing to your daily stress in a very negative way. Instead of constantly worrying about all of the things that need to be done, set clear intentions each day for two to three tasks that must be completed. This will help you focus on what is a true priority, and relax about all the rest.
Finally, check in to see where your focus is primarily resting. If you are working more than feels comfortable, give yourself more free time. On the other hand, if you have been putting off more work than you should, get yourself back into a consistent routine. Setting clear boundaries for your work/life balance will ensure that you stay aligned to your goals, without going overboard, in one direction or another.
When you’re in the thick of stress and chaos, creating a balanced life can feel impossible.
However, it’s never too late to incorporate a few of the above tips. As you integrate these
changes into your life, notice how formerly frustrating situations can seem less intense and your life can feel more at ease.
A preventative approach to maintaining the body assists in maintaining a healthy lifestyle for years to come. Maintenance-wise, our car requires regular tune-ups and yearly maintenance. Why don’t we tune up our bodies?
In addition to regular check-ups with a physician, Ayurveda emphasizes a holistic, self-care approach to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Ayurveda’s emphasis on preventative healing measures are decidedly effective and teach ways for practitioners to deal with issues before they begin.
According to Ayurveda, there are six stages of ill health. They begin with imbalance and gradually increase to disease. Like weeding, Ayurveda emphasizes clearing the flower bed before the weeds take over.
The preventative Ayurvedic approach is built on four pillars: food, lifestyle, rejuvenators & supplements.
When a person is in poor health, they are in need of a different approach that is meant to address imbalances with holistic healing practices and balancing supplements. Skilled practitioners of Ayurveda use pulse assessment to determine which specific supplements, food and lifestyle practices will restore balance.
Balance through Ayurveda improves a person’s health, energy, and youthful vitality.
The four keys to a healthy lifestyle:
Whether you are a vata, pitta or kapha person, the most important element for maintaining balance is following the diet that suits your constitution. A healthy person who knows his natural constitution will be able to follow a diet best suited for maintaining balance. A person in poor health can learn what sort of dietary changes will help restore balance.
What we eat goes to our stomach, which is like the root of our system. Like a tree, which derives its nutrients and energy from its root system, humans derive their nutrients and energy from what is put into the stomach. From our stomach, our entire body is nourished. As the old saying goes, “You are what you eat.” Finding the right diet, based on our constitution, is the first and most important step in attaining a healthy lifestyle.
Idli (see photo) is such a nutritious meal because it is actually a complete protein and the fermenting process involved in preparation stimulates digestion.
Finding a recommended lifestyle routine is vital to maintaining balance and correcting disparity. After food, lifestyle comes as the most important way to stay in balance. A healthy lifestyle includes:
• A routine of health
• Waking and sleeping at regular times
• Going out for regular exercise, according to your constitution
• Self-massage with suitable oils
• Centering yourself with a few minutes of stillness and meditation
• Light yoga
Chyawanprash (see photo) is one such rejuvenator used in Ayurveda, especially during the colder seasons.
Rejuvenators, rasayana, are a variety of ancient supplements that promote the rejuvenation of the body and the maintenance of a young, vital, dynamic and energetic self. Rejuvenators work to make the body feel young and refreshed. Rejuvenators are not simply food, they are powerful solutions to problems that ail many of us — solutions to whatever upsets balance and health. Concerning the many factors that upset balance and health, there are equally as many rejuvenators to combat these problems.
4. NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS
There are many traditional Ayurvedic herbal supplements that are used in a variety of ways. They include spices in our food and herbs that promote detoxification of the body. Choosing the right herbal supplements is a matter of understanding both one’s constitution and one’s imbalance. Whether in need of detoxification or wanting to combat stress, lethargy, or poor digestion, Ayurveda has numerous herbal supplements to help promote longevity and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Now you’re set knowing the four key tools of Ayurveda. These tools can be used with a knowledge of your nature to make choices that lead to greater balance and health.
One of our members, Jeeta, is a Trained Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant, who is always bringing in treats she cooks from home for the teachers to enjoy. Her cooking can be described as aromatic and frankly, just made with love. Here is one of her ayurvedic inspired recipes we asked her to share.