Yoga & Ayurveda: 3 Tips to Stay Balanced
Stress seems to be the new normal. In uncertain times, we often tend to let go of the very things that nourish us. On top of that, seasonal changes can challenge our sense of balance. As seasons change, so do our bodies and minds. The yoga and Ayurvedic traditions also shift with the seasons. Here are some suggestions for making a graceful shift and for helping heal the stress of these uncertain times.
For starters, commit to an early bedtime. If you were living without electricity, you would probably be heading to bed by 7:00 pm in the wintertime because it’s dark and not easy to be productive when you can’t see anything! With less light in Nature, the yogis encourage you to consider retiring to bed by 9:00 to 10:00 pm during the winter months to ensure you get your seven to eight hours of sleep. Rest is an important part of any healthy ecosystem; from the perspective of your personal ecosystem, it helps your body and mind recover from the business of each day. The more you can simplify your daily and weekly schedules during this darker season, the more space you have in the day for self-care.
2. Just Say No
November is often a time to say “no” more often when considering staying out late, eating cold foods, having another alcoholic drink, taking on more responsibilities, or any other invitation where your intuition (in the belly brain) feels tight or uncertain. This pause or uncertainty may be alerting you to the fact that you are doing something for someone else or something that may create future harm toward yourself. What if for the next two months you said “no” when you felt an invitation was not a “yes”? Space is an essential element in Ayurveda and in life for balance and ease. Give it a try and see what happens!
With the possibility of more space in your life by saying “no,” you can focus more energy and creativity toward self-care. One of the ways we can stay healthy with yoga and Ayurveda is to maintain good circulation in body and mind.
3. Maintain Good Circulation of Body and Mind
Move your body frequently during the day (for example, every 30 minutes) to improve circulation. Basic yoga stretches like standing side bends or joint rotations can be helpful, especially if you’re feeling stressed out. Here are some suggestions for yoga poses you can practice at work and beyond.
Ways to Improve Circulation of Body and Mind:
Take time to unplug and enjoy a brisk walk around the block.
Manage how much social media or news you take in during the hour. If you fill your mind with too much information, you may feel overwhelmed, anxious, or fearful in the moment and as a result be less efficient or effective in achieving your goals.
Drink warm hydrating beverages, such as tea made from ginger, tulsi, lemon, licorice, or ashwaghanda throughout the day.
Eat until you no longer have hunger rather than eating until you are full. Like any campfire, your stomach fire (agni) needs space to work efficiently.
Massage is a great way to relieve tension and help you relax. In Ayurveda, we promote oil massages called abhyanga. Abhyanga uses medicated oils for your constitution to help promote deeper healing and balance in your system.
Use Yin Yoga, meditation, and breath awareness to slow down and become present.
These are just a few of the ways I believe yoga and Ayurveda can make a difference in your lives. We all have a lot of work ahead of us in healing the world and if we can pace ourselves and do our own self-care on a regular basis, I have hope that we’ll have the strength and stamina to overcome what lies ahead.
Want more Ayurvedic tips? Read Melina Meza's Ayurvedic Tips for Healthy Skin.
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Reprinted with permission from Melina Meza.com
Melina Meza has been sharing her knowledge of Hatha Yoga, Ayurveda, and whole foods nutrition with yogis around the world for over 20 years. Melina pioneered Seasonal Vinyasa, an innovative multi-disciplined approach to well-being, and is the author of the Art of Sequencing books including her latest, Asana Modifications.
Since 1997, Melina has been teaching yoga at 8 Limbs Yoga Centers in Seattle, Washington, where she also is Co-Director of their 200- and 500-Hour Teachers’ Training Program.
Currently residing in Oakland California, Melina facilitates year-round yoga and Ayurveda workshops and retreats for new and experienced practitioners. From her very first class in 1993, she has never stopped exploring the physical, mental, and spiritual practices passed down from the ancient sages. Yoga has been the “launching pad” that has rocketed her into a life journey of cultivating the disciplines necessary to gain insight and wisdom integral to being healthy, compassionate, and radiant, as well as how to share those gifts with others.