As a traveling yogi, I move around a lot! Hopping between cold, dry climates to heat and humidity, experiencing constant temperature changes of more than 35 degrees at a time. Shifting time zones on a daily basis and spending hours each week on long-haul flights – I experience more than my fair share of imbalance and instability.
Ayurveda dramatically changed all of this for me and brought a sense of grounding and centering back into my life.
I was briefly introduced to Ayurveda during my 300hour yoga teacher training. Initially it confused me but also intrigued me and my curious mind instantly wanted to learn more. Nine months later, I was on my way to Mexico to complete a 4-week training in Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy, little did I know what a profound effect it would have on my everyday life.
Ayurveda, the science of yoga, enables an individual to create a balanced, healthy lifestyle that is specific to their body. Ayurveda taught me to really understand and listen to my body, to keep myself balanced in every aspect and most importantly, to heal myself. Here are 7 tips on how to incorporate Ayurvedic principles into your daily life:
1. FOOD JOURNAL
This food diary is not intended for you to judge yourself or feel guilty at the end of the day. It is about raising your own awareness of how different foods affect your physical, mental and emotional body. Before studying Ayurveda, I thought I had a solid idea of which foods were healthy and which to avoid but I wasn’t really aware of which foods were healthy for my particular body type or how I, as an individual, responded to various food combinations.
After just a couple of days of keeping a food diary and focusing on what exactly I was feeling, I was amazed at my discoveries. I realised that certain foods and food combinations that I had considered to be beneficial for my body, were actually harmful for both my body and mind. This was the first step to understanding what my body actually needs and benefits from.
2. HERBAL REMEDIES
Spices and herbs were never my thing, I didn’t know how to use them or why I should and so I almost never did. Since learning about the abundance of therapeutic and medicinal properties that herbs and spices have to offer, I now use an array of them in my daily diet-from hot teas to meal times to cleansing products. Even my bed time routine includes herbs and spices!
I now only use herbal remedies for mild illness or ailments, rather than instantly turning to pharmaceutical treatment. Becoming familiar and creative with herbs and spices and learning to throw them into meals or hot drinks can work wonders for your well-being.
3. GET A ROUTINE
Moving from one country to the next on a weekly basis (often covering three or four continents in just one month) meant that my routine was fairly non-existent – until Ayurveda entered my life.
I was initially very resistant to establishing a morning and evening routine. I revel in the fact that I don’t have too much routine in my life, as I often feel that it can be restrictive and I am very much a free-spirit. However, I came to learn that a certain amount of routine is essential in order to maintain a sense of grounding, especially for someone who is on the road as much as I am.
To start with, I established a very short, effortless morning routine, then introduced a simple bed-time routine. Since then, this has become much more elaborate and specific to my needs. I always stick to my routine, no matter whether I’m on a long-haul flight or in the depths of the rainforest.
4. DREAM DIARY
As we know, sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. As someone who has suffered for many years with frequent sleep paralysis, vivid dreams and nightmares, understanding my sleep patterns and how it is effected by waking life is key. Once I started to keep a record of my sleep and dream behaviour and then linked it back to my food diary, I was able to make significant connections between certain foods and my dream and sleep patterns. From this, I was able to establish a night-time routine to promote healthy, balanced sleep, which of course promotes a healthy, balanced waking life.
5. MIX IT UP
I will admit, I used to be one of those people who was resistant to trying new dishes or mixing a combination of flavours that, in my opinion, just didn’t fuse well. In Ayurveda, there are a lot of healthy food combinations that can be highly beneficial and many which should be completely eliminated. This, again, was something that I was initially very resistant to, since many of my favourite combinations—cheese and tomato, fruit and yoghurt, honey and hot water—are absolute Ayurvedic no-nos. But then I began to accept that maybe that’s why I used to have so many digestive problems…
6. KITCHARI CLEANSE
I am definitely not a fan of fad diets or detox cleanses. I have tried more than a few but have not been happy with the process or the outcome of most. So, when I was informed that I would be partaking in a five-day kitchari cleanse during my teacher training, I was far from happy. I was eventually persuaded to give it a try and managed to succeed in the fiveday cleanse with a spirit of positivity.
The kitchari cleanse is very different from other cleanses. It doesn’t leave you feeling dissatisfied, hungry or desperately craving food. It is a neutral, balanced meal, packed full of tasty spices and nutrients and it is definitely how I will be starting my new year.
7. KNOW YOUR DOSHA
In order to really delve into the Ayurvedic lifestyle, you need to know and understand your dosha. If you’re really interested, I would recommend visiting an Ayurvedic practitioner, or if you still need a little more convincing before investing financially, do some more reading or take a free course. Give it a try, it really could be life changing.
Bio: Laura McEgan, founder and senior teacher of Divine Light Yoga, is the ultimate travelling yogi, leading Yoga Alliance Registered Children’s Teacher Trainings and 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Trainings across the Globe. Laura’s yoga journey began 17 years ago, with her grandmother as her first and most playful yoga teacher. Through many dedicated years of training, teaching and practicing, Laura has developed a teaching style that enables yogis of all levels and ages to feel secure, confident and inspired in their own practice. She is highly committed to providing a supportive, creative and playful environment for her students, both on and off the mat. Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.