Easy, Life-changing Ancient Ayurvedic Morning Rituals For A Healthier Lifestyle
While hot lemon water, yoga, and adaptogens may seem like modern wellness techniques, they all have roots in Ayurveda. An ancient – and arguably the oldest – holistic philosophy originating in India over 5000 years ago, Ayurveda teaches us how to live in harmony with our environment, spanning diet, lifestyle, and philosophy. A combination of two Sanskrit words, Ayush meaning ‘life’ and Veda meaning ‘science’, Ayurveda is quite literally the ‘science of life’.
If a complete diet and lifestyle overhaul seems likes a little much, no matter. Incorporating simple daily changes can be an effective way to lead a healthier lifestyle. These Ayurvedic morning rituals are easy to implement, help you start the day off on a positive note, and (when followed consistently) make a noticeable change to your overall wellbeing.
1. Wake up before the sun does
Ayurveda recommends rising a little before sunrise, as this is when nature has a calming, peaceful energy that refreshes and energises the senses. The world looks a lot different at 5.30 am than it does at 9 am, making it the ideal time for quiet solitude sans technology.
2. Scape your tongue for a clean slate
While in the west, oral care encompasses brushing your teeth, rinsing with mouthwash, and (if you’re particularly diligent) flossing, an essential part of an Ayurvedic morning routine always includes tongue scraping.
If you’ve ever noticed a thin film or coating on your tongue, it may be indicative of a build-up of ‘ama’ or toxins in your body, which can negatively affect the digestive and immune systems. Tongue scraping removes these toxins as well as any bacteria that’s built up in your mouth overnight and prevents these from being reabsorbed into the body.
To tongue scrape, use a silver or copper tongue scraper, apply gentle pressure, and scrape from the back of your tongue forwards, down to the tip. Rinse your mouth afterwards.
3. Switch to warm water
Switching out your usual cold water for warm water with a squeeze of lemon can do a world of good, as warm or room temperature water is more suitable to the temperature of your body. Starting the day with warm lemon water (preferably drunk from a copper cup) kickstarts your digestion by stimulating peristalsis and activates circulation.
4. Pre-shower self-massage with oils
Abhyanga, or oil massage, is an important aspect of Ayurveda. This should be done prior to showering, using a warm body oil of your choice. Massage your entire body in circular motions starting from your face and ears, down to your feet. Wait 5-10 minutes for the oil to soak in before showering. You’ll find that you don’t need to moisturise as much post-shower, as the warmth from the shower allows the oil to penetrate deeper into your skin.
5. Help your body adapt with adaptogens
While they’ve taken over the health world now, adaptogens originate in Ayurvedic medicine and play a strong role in one’s daily lifestyle, helping your body adapt to physical and emotional stressors. Here’s how to find the right adaptogens for you.
Words by AR Staff Cover and feature image courtesy of Justin Polkey for Vogue India