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Season 1 - Episode 8

Daily Ayurvedic Routines

15 min - Talk


In order to be successful in our yoga and spiritual practices, we must first take care of ourselves. Katie offers practical and nourishing daily self-care tips to help set the tone for the day and help us reconnect with essential daily rhythms that nature provides.
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Sep 15, 2015
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(waves) So one of the most powerful ways that we can supercharge our spiritual practice and the goals that we have for daily life is our relationship to daily routines for health and wellness. As I said in the talk on ayurveda, the yogis saw that ayurveda in daily routine were crucial soul sisters for the yogic practice. In other words, in order to really be successful in our spiritual disciplines and in anything that we achieve to do as human beings, we need to feel healthy. It's really hard to meditate if we have an upset stomach or a headache, as many of you know it's really even hard to do asana if we don't feel good. This old school form of healthcare called ayurveda is really coming back into our collective consciousness now in many forms, in our world because of this need to reconnect with essential daily rhythms.

When we can align ourselves with the natural daily rhythms that nature provides for us, what we will find is that we have more (foreign language) more power, more Parana, more energy for our life and so yesterday I said in the talk on ayurveda, I love this idea of the daily routine actually starting the night before. Check out the next video we have on here. On how to sleep like a baby for really specific aspects on how you can do that. The first thing that I wanna talk about is waking up and waking with the sun and what ayurveda says about that, ideally we would be waking up with the sun. We wanna immolate what the sun is doing, this light begins to awaken and our consciousness comes from the unconscious realm of sleep into the realm of awakening and so if I can think of it like a wave of power and if I can figure out what the wave of power is, I can ride it and if I'm just sitting out in the ocean and I'm on a board, it's going to be a lot less fun that if I actually catch a wave and I've got suddenly this massive force and velocity behind me.

You can do the same thing with ayurvedic natural rhythms. So we would wanna wake up with the sun. It's like riding a great wave. There are some exceptions though on why you wouldn't wanna do that and I do wanna address them. The reason that you would not wanna wake up with the sun is if you were really exhausted and that is a lot of people unfortunately right now so in my own body if I've been traveling a lot and my patients and clients what I say to them is like if you're exhausted, sleep as much as you want because many of us are actually suffering from adrenal over fatigue so in general, if you're a more coffa type of person, you have heavier bones, you tend to speak slower, you may tend to have a little bit more weight that's just natural coffa tendencies, you might actually wanna wake up a little bit before the sun and kinda get even more velocity on the wave.

If you're a pinta person, with a medium build and more medium features, then you might wanna actually wake up right at sunrise but in general, vata people who have more of a long lengthy constitution like you see with me I have very small bone structure and a tendency towards vata type emotions like overwhelm or anxiety, definitely those people can actually wake up a little bit later. So there are some rules but there are some plays and leeways there. So waking up with the sun. When you wake up, a great thing to start with and what I also wanna say at that these patterns and routines, you can kind of mix and match a little bit, there are some traditions that have them in a really delineated order and then you'll see another tradition with it in a different order, this is the order that I kind of do it in, feel free to kind of play with it a little bit. So waking up in the morning, scraping your tongue, really important, it seems like not a big deal but when you wake up in the morning you're body has done a really good job and made a lot of effort to get excrement moving out of your body.

So bear with me, I might be a little bit graphic for a second, so you essentially have two directions in which these excrement's can go, they can go up and out right or they can go down and out and when you're asleep your body is pumping them in both directions, so you get up and you go to the bathroom this way but think about it that you're actually doing it as well through your mouth. I know it's kinda gross but I wanna say it this way to you because then you'll remember it. So don't wake up and not scrape your tongue anymore because all the gunk is sitting there and when you scrape it, especially if you haven't done it, you know six or so times, you'll see it probably will have a lot of stuff. There's a whole science around looking at what the stuff looks like and being able to understand more about your constitution and what's going on with you. Obviously, that's beyond the scope of this talk but it's just interesting to look at your tongue gunk and see how it's changing from day to day.

If you had a pretty rough night made a lot of pizza and drank a lot of tequila, I know you're not doing that but if you did, you might have a lot more gunk then say a night that you ate a really healthy dinner and went to be, you can see it in the tongue. So scrape the tongue, neti pot is another wonderful yogi tool for eliminating through these holes if you will. So you can buy a little neti pot and put a little salt in, warm water, irrigating the nostril channels is also a part of this cleansing. After that, drinking something warm. What you'll see a lot is drink warm lemon water.

That's a great general thing but again, if there was one answer to any questions in ayurveda, it would be it depends. So warm lemon water's great, do it but you may also wanna do lime water or you may also wanna do ginger water, you may also wanna do turmeric water or just water. So it doesn't have to be lemon, there are many different options and depending on your type and the time of year, for me, I love turmeric and ginger, they're more warming when it's cold and you can play around with this a little bit but in general drinking something warm in the morning is great. Next, going to the bathroom, elimination. This is super important and I see it so often with people is that we rush really quickly in the morning to get out the door and get going to work and what I find is that if people actually wake with the sun suddenly they have a little bit more time to actually sit in the morning and maybe read a book that you find uplifting or spiritual text and contemplate life, journal, do something that makes the day have a tone that is conscious.

So if I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is flip on the internet on my phone and check my email, please, I promise you, this is effecting you ability to eliminate in the morning because it's automatically sending the mind of this place of doing. So if you aren't going to the bathroom daily one thing you can do to just try to change that is to just spend a little time in the morning drinking something warm, reading something calming and what I find with my clients is that typically just that alone gets things moving rather than spinning into the energy of the day. Then, washing your eyes, face, teeth, mouth, just these obvious things is a great idea. Self massage, we call abhyanga, is the next thing. This is so wonderful and I struggle with this myself so much I usually just slap the oil on my body and get going and I understand that these are a lot of steps but if there's one thing you can really spend a lot of loving time on, it's self massage.

Putting this layer of oil, which the word for oil in (foreign language) and it means love. So when you make oil, you take a sesame seed, it's very tiny or mustard seed or whatever you're working with caster oil seed, they're small seeds and you squeeze them, you crush them and what comes out is the essence, remember what the seed is in the plants, the life carrier. You open that and what reveals itself to you is the essence of the plant. So these oils were highly revered in ancient India, they called them love because the essence of everything is love according to this tradition. So when you oil your body, you're putting a layer of love on and there's lots and lots of science that backs this up in terms of what this does to your central nervous system, what it does for purification of your lymph system, there's a whole host, we're lucky to have this of information on what massage does to the body, mind but also the oils themselves are what we call they pull, and so they pull toxins out of the body and the largest organ's the skin.

So the skin's constantly being purified when I'm doing daily self massage. It also creates a boundary, a bigger boundary on the skin. So especially those of you that have a tendency to be more etheric in nature or ungrounded, putting oil on your body creates this loving boundary. It's not a hard boundary, it's not a mean boundary, it's a love boundary on your body between you and the outside world. This is really helpful if you're a sensitive person.

So often what I see is that we attempt to ground through methods that aren't helpful and this is a really beautiful method of grounding in a way that is actually really super loving for yourself. So how do I do it, warm the oil a little bit and then just place it on your body. In general, you'll wanna go kind of circular on the joints and long on the long parts of the body and just work intuitively. Most texts recommend 20 minutes of self massage. I don't ever get to that level and I just wanna be really honest because I want you guys to be successful with it but if you can work up to that amount, great.

If you can just get oil on your body, awesome. So I've been playing around with this rhythm in my own life around oil and sometimes I'll actually do some form of yoga or even other forms or exercise with the oil and then bathe. You can also take a shower and then do your morning practice or exercise or maybe you're not doing that until the afternoon, those are two different ways of working with it, we do want to bathe after the oil because the oil has done that work of the lipids, pulling the toxins out and so you kind of don't wanna go walking around with it all day, you wanna bathe. The bathing also, the warm water opens up your pores and the oils and the medicines, especially if you use a medicated oil, can deepen into the pores and deepen into the other channels in the body. So that's a great idea, to leave it on but definitely bathe and then traditionally you would meditate, do some form of prayer or meditation and then we would eat breakfast.

Again, it just depends and you may play around with this a little bit if you have more of a bata constitution or pittas as well, you may need to eat something, first thing right when you wake up maybe after scraping your tongue or going to the bathroom. Just depends on your metabolism. So feel free to kind of shift those a little bit as you see fit. So what happens is the sun has risen, you've done those activities, we've actually done exercise during this period of cofa time. So cofa runs from six am 'til 10 am and that's the period where things can be a little bit heavy and so we wanna actually stimulate ourselves a little bit and then after that, the sun continues to rise, rise, rise and around about middle of the day, now we have the brightest sun in the sky.

The sun is highest in the sky. The sun is also a metaphor for the digestive fire, sun of the digestion in the belly. Traditionally, and I see this in every culture that has traditional food systems, every culture's eating during the middle of the day and they have their biggest meal in the middle of the day. I really think so much of the digestive imbalances in our culture, as well as psychological imbalances that come from this skipping of this sacred and important sun ritual, is that we don't eat during the middle of the day, we skip out on that. Try to start to make your lunch a little heavier and then if you can, a short rest.

That doesn't mean a siesta. I lived in Spain for a long time and that does exist, yes siesta exists but you can do some little form of short rest, even if it's just five minutes where you're just laying on your belly, on your left side, not on your belly, on your left and just resting and letting the food assimilate before you jump back into life. That can also really help with digestive issues around assimilation of nutrition. Then we would move into these later periods of the day from 2 pm until about 6 pm, we move into what's called the vata time of day and I didn't mention it before but the height of the sun is also the height of the fire time. The vata time of day that runs from two to six, and especially if you look right in the middle of that, you've got 3:30 vata time is when we get that typical crash and so we reach for the substances that keep us going and that's fine if you need to do that but just aware of it, traditionally this would be a great time again, just like I mentioned the Spaniards, they were on it in this way, that's when we would rest because this energy of vata degeneration, anxiety, is high.

The tendency for the mind to become depressive or aggravated or anxious is actually highest at this point of the day, in fact, some tantric texts say, prayer from 2 pm until 6 pm is useless, none of the Gods will hear you and I love that and you can pray then of course it will work and be wonderful than not praying but why they were so hyperbolic is they wanted you to understand that that time was really challenging for you to tap in to soul, whereas sunrise and sunset were these portals into power and portals into spiritual entry. So rest, rest and digest. Then you can do some more work again maybe or you have a lighter dinner and then really what we did traditionally and I long for this is, play. So you would have a lovely dinner then you would maybe watch a funny movie or have a song, sing some songs around a fire or whatever it is you like that is absolutely not related to work. This craziness of continuation of the pitta time, the focus and the ambition and the drive and the exultation of the individual ego is wonderful but there has to come a moment, especially after dinner where you move into this other aspect of who you are that is (foreign language) which means the beautiful do nothinger.

I give you permission to do that. and then you move into night time and what I encourage you to do, is I have a whole little talk on nighty night routines and how to sleep like a baby and we'll walk you through some of those so check out the nighty night video for the continuation of the daily routine. Good luck with your rhythms and your endeavors.


Cynthia P
1 person likes this.
very helpful Ayurveda information - tools that can be integrated into my day. Explanation is presented in a very engaging way . it is a great video
Phuong E
Hi Katie,  this video was very helpful.  Question: how do you not clog up your pipes with oil?  I used to massage myself with oils in the morning, but my clothes would get damaged, or if I showered, the oil would get into the drains.  I worried about the drain.  How do you work with this challenge?

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