Life’s balancing act with Ayurveda

In the three ring circus that each of us navigate and so lovingly call life, we each have to find a way to pull of a balancing act of career, family and our hobbies/passions that make life colorful. The best way to do that is to learn how to cope with stress and there are ancient methods such as ayurveda that can help.

The term ayurveda has started to pop up more and more: diets, massages, skin care and retreats. It may be the new buzz word on the wellness scene but ayurveda has been around for thousands of years.

But what is ayurveda?
Often translated as the ‘science of life’ it is the traditional Indian health care system and a sister science to yoga. But it is so much more than herbal capsules, diet books and luxurious massages. Here is a little insight into how it is to live ayurvedically.

Ayurveda is an integral part of life. It is about being in tune. Your inner cycles, landscape, rhythms and physiology being in tune with the outer cycles, rhythms, seasons… Living in balance you start to connect the inner and outer world. You start to listen to your own body and emotions and respond to create balance and wellbeing. You acknowledge your environment and how it affects you. Through this innate wisdom you take responsibility and action to create health and wellness.

Therefore living ayurvedically involves:

  • Diet – Eat seasonally and locally. Enjoy your meals according to the daily rhythm e.g. main meal at midday when the sun is strongest and therefore the inner digestive fire is most effective. Enjoy cooling foods and drinks to ease the heat on a hot summer’s day.
  • Daily routine – When do you choose to get up in the morning, what is your routine according to the 24 hour clock? When do you meditate, exercise and work? Everything has its time and place. Get up early to meditate while it is quiet around you, then start to feel hunger before you enjoy your breakfast (consider the word: you are breaking your fast after sleep). Be inspired to begin projects, work and study in the afternoon when our brains is active and full of ideas. This is the same time asthe air and space (vata dosha) elements are dominate.
  • The outer environment – Are you aware of the rhythms of the 24 hour clock? The environment you live in? How does it compare with how you live your life? If you live in a big busy city perhaps you need to focus on slowing down and spend more time in nature? Consider how you spend your time both indoors and outdoors, on transport, travelling. Whether you live a very cold and windy climate, or in hot humid sunshine – all these factors are considered in ayurveda. Your home and how it makes you feel is important. You may know of feng shui and the energetic flow in designing your home. In ayurveda we embrace a similar science called vastu which aims to create balance in architecture and design.
  • Seasonal changes – In ayurveda you acknowledge the elemental changes during seasonal change. In summer you feel the heat and dryness of the sun. This will affect you not only at the time but potentially accumulate and affect your wellbeing later. Equally the effects of cold and windy weather accumulate in winter. Ayurveda offers routines to create balance.
  • Cosmic influences – The lunar landscape with the ebb and flow of the moon cycle has a great impact on the outer environment (such as the oceans) but also on your inner being. In your ayurvedic routine you become aware of these cycles and how they affect your internal physiology and emotional landscape. For women especially, as the moon cycle is connected to a woman’s menstrual cycle. Even astrology, called jyotish in the ayurvedic tradition, is consulted for physical, emotional and spiritual advice.
  • Scents and sensibilities – Massage is an important part of ayurvedic treatments. In fact daily massage is part of your morning routine. Adding aromatherapy is an accepted and loved part of ayurveda – and yoga. It is believed that the five elements (space, air, fire, water and earth) are connected to our five senses, the indriyas. The element of earth is associated to the sense of smell. We know scents and aromatherapy affects the limbic system. The limbic system is a part of the brain relating to emotions and memories. Ayurveda uses scents through oils, essential oils, fresh flowers and even spices in food.
  • Yoga – Is the sister science of ayurveda. Hatha yoga may be known for movement and as a physical exercise. It keeps your body strong and healthy. But it is also a spiritual practise and a philosophy of life. Meditation, contemplation, spiritual studies and breath awareness are all part of the yoga package of wellbeing and contentment. Therefore yoga asana and yoga as a spiritual practise is the perfect complement to ayurveda.

This is why ayurveda makes sense as a way of life. This is why you don’t need a new fad diet or the newest exercise craze. Because with ayurveda you learn to listen to your body wisdom, your innate knowledge and you connect to your environment, the universe and nature. You become in tune with your true needs and you respond from your inner wisdom to create wellness in body, mind and spirit.

Anja is the founder of yogaembodied a yoga teacher and ayurvedic practitioner. She is passionate about self care, wellbeing and contemporary healing through the ancient wisdom of yoga and ayurveda.


Acidic foods can be your worst nightmare

One of the huge tenets of natural medicine is that we focus on nourishment of the body through proper nutrition as a way to not only make sure that you stay healthy but actually as a way to help deal with symptoms of disease and actual elimination of disease. Most of the issues with nutrition come from the fact that there is so much ignorance surrounding the subject. Here are some foods you should be sure to avoid. If you have any additional questions, call Optimal Wellness today.

(NaturalNews) Many people have heard or read about how

avoiding acidic foods

and eating more alkaline ones can help

reduce your risk of cancer

, but often without understanding the definitions of “acidic” and “alkaline” being used.

Acidic and alkaline substances are, in a sense, chemical opposites. When they react, they tend to produce “neutral” salts and water. Acidity is indicated by pH, with water being neutral at 7, numbers lower than 7 (down to zero) indicating acidity, and higher numbers (up to 14) indicating alkalinity.

But a food that is chemically acidic, such as lemons, might actually have an alkaline effect in the body, by lowering the body’s internal pH. Thus, lemons are actually an “alkaline food” according to alkaline diet theory.

Read on to learn how to recognize and avoid acidic foods, and which alkaline foods to eat more of.

Eat like our ancestors did

According to the alkaline diet model, an acidic environment within the body causes

toxic waste products

to build up, producing various health problems and disease, most infamously, cancer.

“The focus for preventing and reversing cancer must be on maintaining the alkaline pH of the body fluids, and a recognition that cancer is a systemic acidic condition,” writes Robert O. Young, author of The pH Miracle.

Acidic foods include meat, dairy, processed sugar, refined grains, junk food, caffeine and alcohol. These foods, formerly rare in our diets, have come to dominate the Western diet in recent decades (and are growing in popularity worldwide). Alkaline foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, along with most nuts and seeds.

In this model, acidic foods are not “bad foods” – they’re just not foods that should form the core of the human diet. According to Young, the ideal diet consists of 80 percent alkaline foods and just 20 percent acidic foods.

If you have been eating an acidic diet for some time, you might want to emphasize some of the more highly alkaline foods in order to help re-balance your body. Some of the most potent alkaline foods include buckwheat (a great wheat substitute), flax seeds and oil, olive oil, melons and cabbage. Other good alkaline foods include avocados, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, garlic, grapefruit, green beans and peas, lemons and limes, lettuce, millet, onions (including green onions), parsley, pears, pumpkin, radishes, sesame seeds and tahini, soy beans and products, spinach, sprouts, tomatoes, wild rice and zucchini.

You can also drink a daily tonic of a teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in 7 ounces of lemon juice (a little less than a cup), in order to help flush acid wastes from the body and produce an alkaline pH.

Feel the health benefits

According to Young, moving your pH towards alkaline can provide immediate health benefits, even beyond the reduced risk of cancer. That’s because over time, an acidic body and the waste it produces degrade all bodily tissues and systems. According to the website pH Miracle Living: “If left unchecked, it will interrupt all cellular activities and functions, from the beating of your heart to the neural firing of your brain. In summary, over-acidification interferes with life itself leading to all sickness and disease!”

Thus, restoring your body’s alkaline pH helps remove these chronic symptoms, including fatigue, weakness and poor muscle tone, and lack of endurance.

An overly acidic environment can also produce allergies, including food allergies. Young notes that this stems from the acidic body’s weakened immune system being unable to properly digest proteins, thereby leaving behind partially broken down amino acids that can produce allergic reactions.

Young says that fat is also a defense mechanism the body uses to protect internal organs from an overly acidic environment. Thus, an acidic diet produces obesity and an alkaline diet helps prevent or reverse it.

Sources for this article include: