Optimum Health: 11 Yoga and Ayurveda Practices to Start Today

What I value most in this precious life is health. To me, health means the absence of disease, stable energy levels and emotions, a steady appetite, regular bowel movements, and a daily urge to be creative. My definition of health is strongly influenced by my practice and study of Ayurveda over the last few decades, and I continue to appreciate the practical wisdom she offers. Each year, I’m more aware of its value and try to do my best to protect the health of my body and mind with simple daily routines and mindfulness. If you are like me and value health, consider some of these practices to weave into your daily routines:

Ayurvedic Tips for Maintaining Optimum Health

sleep is an important part of a good ayurvedic routine

1. Commit to a regular bedtime, if possible, by 10 p.m.

2. Practice a morning self-exam:

  • Scrape your tongue to remove bacteria in the mouth and look for unusual colors or smells that might indicate ama (undigested food matter or low digestive fire).
  • Rinse your eyes with water or special Ayurvedic products.
  • Apply nasya oil to your nasal passages to moisten tissue and add a protective coating to prevent inhaling undesirable particles in the air.
  • Hydrate with room temperature or hot water. Add lemon if you tend toward constipation.
  • Bowel movements tell you a lot about how you are digesting your food. Look for consistency in shape and ease in elimination.

3. Meditate: A practice of 5 minutes counts, and once that is doable for a few weeks or months, consider increasing to 10 minutes. The key is consistency.

4. Move your body: Practice yoga stretches, walk, and head to the gym.

5. Eat when you are hungry and increase warm meals as we move deeper into the autumn season.

6. Take regular breaks from your desk or from looking at screens. Your body needs to move in order to stay healthy.

7. Hydrate before lunch with warm, non-caffeinated teas.

8. Eat lunch in the sunshine or away from your desk. Take time to enjoy something tasty and rest, for 10 minutes if possible, after eating.

9. Hydrate and take a walk to enjoy the late afternoon light. Be creative.

10. Eat a lighter dinner at least three hours before going to bed (preferably with company).

11. Treat yourself to a foot and scalp oil massage before bed.

I hope you see the possibility of incorporating these health-promoting practices into your daily routines and feel the power of healthy habits. If you are already doing everything I mentioned above, congratulations on taking such great care of yourself! May others always benefit from our practice.

Reprinted with permission from Melina Meza.

Melina MezaMelina Meza Bell 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 is also 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 sharing those gifts with others.

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