I've recently joined a Facebook group (I know!) called View From My Window and submitted this photo of my morning view. The groups function is to be a positive reminder of the beauty around us and an appreciation for and connection to our global community. This is the view from my window on March 29th when things seemed bleak here in Nova Scotia but the sun still rose and we kept moving on.
Today, I'd like to dig into the gorgeous wealth of energy and healing available when we align with nature's rhythm in our latest treatment of the delectable topic of Ayurveda.
Last week, we chatted about digestion and elimination - the root of all health and generally, if you were to see an ayurvedic practitioner for whatever health concern whether it be emotional, mental, or physical, they would start with strengthening and balancing digestion through awareness of the dosha and where the imbalance lies.
In order to balance our tissues and regulate the elimination of waste from the body, we need to observe and align with the rhythms of nature including the 24hr daily rhythm of the earth spinning on its axis, the monthly rhythms of the moon revolving around the earth, the 12 month seasonal rhythms of the earth rotating around the sun, and even the daily tidal rhythms of the moons pull on the oceans which we know well here on the Atlantic Coast of Canada.
Since the invention of electricity, we’ve grown out of alignment with these rhythms, giving us the ability to work night shifts, shop 24hrs a day, and watch TV into the wee hours of the night. As a result, many of us are out of sync with our natural rhythms, over-stimulated and generally depleted augmenting our stress and forcing us to seek chemical support in the form of coffee and energy drinks and worse.
I want to offer you a tiny moment now to be aware of your natural rhythms that with time and practice you can expand or come to when you need an oasis upon which to reground.
Find a comfortable seat, close your eyes and settle into the moment. Begin by noticing the natural rhythm of your breathing, your attention following the inhalation and the exhalation. Just take notice of this basic bodily rhythm, which luckily occurs with and without our conscious awareness. Silence … Notice the natural, involuntary rhythm of your heartbeat, which continues to beat every moment of our lives, without us having to orchestrate a thing.
Draw your attention to your organs of digestion and elimination, which rhythmically, absorb nutrients and expels waste products routinely with each meal, day in, day out. Consider the rhythms of the plants around your, as they open their blossoms with the sun, and close back up at night. Consider the animals that share this earth, how they wake up and begin their daily feeding frenzy and rest in their nests and their holes when darkness falls. Reflect on the dance between the sun and the moon: when one reliably rises, the other disappears, and as one falls, the other emerges. Reflect on the consistent turning of the earth, bringing the cycle of life and death with each new season. Consider the universal rhythms, or yugas, in which one phase transforms into the other every 25,000 years.
And here you are, in the middle of this cosmic dance, rhythmically shifting from yin to yang, from yang to yin. Let your soul be comforted by this constant rhythmic pattern, found in all things, everywhere. Silence…
Through yoga and Ayurvedic living, we begin to reconnect with these natural rhythms and honor their intelligence while we grow in health, self-love, and connection.
You may already have intuited, but as there are doshas in nature and in therefore in our own beautiful make-up, there is a daily rhythm and doshic make-up to our day that moves through the 24 hr cycle:
Kapha: day 7am-11am, night 7pm-11pm
Pitta: day 11am-3pm, night 11pm-3am
Vata: day 3pm-7pm, night 3am-7am
To maximize your productivity and tap into your natural talents, observe where a task may naturally fall and therefore you'll be more successful at adopting a habit. For instance, writing this blog is highly creative for me so I write during the Vata period before 7am.
The following are ideal recommendations for aligning with the rhythms of nature and your body with regards to eating, exercise and sleep:
· Rise before dawn
· Scrape tongue, drink warm water and eliminate bowels
· Begin your day with contemplative practices such as prayer, meditation or journaling
· Do yoga or other forms of exercise like walking
· Enjoy Abhyanga and bathe the body
· Use the Neti Pot and Breathing Space Sinus Oil
· Cuddle or make love
· Eat breakfast
· In a mindful manner, travel to work or whatever you do with your day
· Drink warm water with ginger or lemon essential oil throughout your day
· Break for lunch between 11am-1pm when Pitta is high to support optimal digestion. Sit down and focus on the act of eating
· Go for a walk outdoors, taking deep, full breaths and absorbing the sounds of nature
· Engage in work again in a stress free manner
· Do yoga, meditate or nap
· Eat a light meal
· Do Yoga or other calming activities such as: meditation, a walk, watching the sunset, taking a bath, cuddling with babes, or make love
· Wind down with an inspiring book, uplifting conversation or soothing music with candlelight
· Avoid violent aggravating shows
· Apply essential oils and massage the body and go to sleep between 9:30-10:30pm. You can see that if you miss this window, Pitta rises again at 11pm and you'll be naturally drawn to be "doing" something instead of winding down to rest.
*I strive for 4hrs of work and 4hrs of personal pursuits time each day.
What simple change(s) could you make to enhance your life, starting tomorrow?
Here are a few tried and true ancient techniques for renewal and detoxification:
· Abhyanga: massage technique including dry-brushing to support overall health
· Neti pot & nasya oil: we'll also dive into this next week
· Ginger and lemon tea (add 1 drop ginger essential oil + 2 drops lemon essential oil into slightly warmer than room temperature water and enjoy. I like to add honey on the occasions that I've been speaking a lot that day to soothe my throat.
· Meditation & Yoga Nidra
· Listening to natural sounds, music, & forest bathing
Next week, we'll dive into the actual techniques as described above. Until then, my friends, I hope you take time to breathe today!