Happy New Year!!! 2016 is here as we bid good bye to 2015…one more year gone by…hopefully everyone of us has gotten wiser along with getting older by a year
Everywhere in the world the ‘New Year’s Day’ is arbitrarily picked to make ambitious goals, prioritize life and even to re-evaluate the life lived.
For me, personally the re-evaluation part is the most interesting before embarking on my making new goals. I had kept it simple for the year 2015 with only 3 goals to evaluate myself –
- practicing humility (on a daily introspection chart)
- eating fresh home cooked meals to my body constitution (80-20 rule)
- working with a personal trainer to build more core strength and muscle (3 times a week)
In my next post I will be sharing with you my experience on the above 3 things.
Setting up New Year’s goal(s) is a great idea and you will find tons of tips/advice on Google to get them going. But sadly most of these goals get dissolved into self-defeating disappointments! Check out any gym in your area and talk to the manager they will share with you the every year trend – increase in gym membership in the first week of January and the number starts dropping drastically when the calendar hits end of March!
There is a good positive intention behind every goal, says the Fitness and Psychology experts but what they point out is interesting, most of them fail to take an honest look at themselves before setting up the goal. Finding the “middle ground” is the answer experts give in order to achieve our goals.
Ayurvedic Habits To Achieving Your Goals
Ayurveda says the same thing, in order to be successful in any endeavor the principle of balance and moderation needs to be incorporated in daily life. Another important thing Ayurveda emphasizes is following a daily routine which is called as dinacharya in Sanskrit. Following a specific set of habits on a daily basis helps the body and mind to be aligned with the inner Self and with the environment around. I like to call this set of habits as ‘rituals’ as they are meant for our highest well-being.
To put this in another way, and also to convince our logical brain, let’s take the analogy of a car. Every car comes with a reference manual on how to take care of the car and keep it running for the longest period of time. For my car to take me from point A to point B, it is my responsibility to make sure I follow the reference manual and keep the car in a good working condition.
I wish we all as human beings came with the similar “reference manual” to take care of our bodies and mind. The good news is we do! We have a reference manual which we can confidently refer to, that has been studied and written thousands and thousands of years back in India, by experimenting on human life. This is called as Ayurveda (Science of Life).
Ayurveda – A Reference Manual for Healthy Living
This reference manual called as Ayurveda gives us in-depth and specific ways on how to align and keep our bodies and mind in alignment. So, does it not make sense, it is only when we keep our body vehicle and mind vehicle in perfect working condition, that it is capable of taking us to the successful destination of achieving our worthy and ambitious goals.
Here I share with you, my three rituals that I have practiced regularly and it’s only because of these daily rituals that I have been successful in achieving my 2015 goals.
Let me tell you, you may find these daily rituals to be very basic or in other words not “worthwhile” to make time for them in your busy schedule. But please trust me here, these rituals may not look promising but you will realize their power when you practice them daily.
These rituals have slowly and subtly cleansed my body, helped me remove toxins (ama), have given me clarity of mind and a deep sense of attunement with my inner Self which keeps growing with my daily practice.
Now you might ask, what has this got to do with achieving my goals? It has got everything to do with it! Unless we are first balanced in our body and in our mind there is no way we can focus on anything outward. Ayurveda says this beautifully – when a human being is physically and mentally balanced one attains a new found confidence born out of healthy self-esteem. This Self-confidence reveals to the person the strengths and weakness of his/her character.
Is this not beautiful and powerful at the same time?! Don’t you agree, having an honest look at ourselves with our strengths and weakness, will not only help us achieve our goals but also help us set the “right” goals for ourselves.
3 Ayurvedic Rituals To Help Achieve Your Goals
- Drinking 1 litre of water first thing in the morning
- Practicing Mindful Meditation and Hatha Yoga
- Eating your meals to your body constitution
1. Drinking 1 litre of water first thing in the morning
This is one of Ayurveda’s highly regarded ritual. Yes you heard me right – one litre of water taken first thing in the morning (very beneficial after cleaning our bowels) after brushing your teeth on an empty stomach.
I was surprised when I came to know about this for the first time. No way I can drink 1 litre on an empty stomach. Yes…thoughts of bloating and filled-up stomach came to my mind too
But you know, it’s not a lot, 1 litre is roughly 4 or 41/2 cups of water. It’s important we drink it as plain water not infused with anything. Also it is beneficial to have this 1 litre water hot if one is dominant in kapha or vata dosha. If one’s pitta is imbalanced or has a high pitta body type it is beneficial to drink this at room temp or lukewarm. Heating the water on a stovetop gives it an even warm consistency rather than microwaving it.
If you were to practice only one ritual from Ayurveda I would give my vote on this one as this is a very effective ritual for optimal detoxification and bringing clarity to mind. This ritual has a deep steam cleaning effect on our tissues and cells and this simplistically humble ritual regulates the right body weight according to our body type!
2. Practicing Mindful Meditation and Yoga
Ayurveda says, after you have emptied your bowels and consumed 1 litre of water, the body detoxification and digestive agni are re-kindled. This is the best time to sit in silence to commune with your higher inner Self. Practicing mindful meditation anywhere between 15 mins to an hour helps to calm and detoxify our toxic emotions, balance our hormones, and help us bring our body and mind in balance.
On my trip to India last November, I got an opportunity to interview a well known Ayurvedic Physician in Kerala. His definition of yoga really hit me straight in the head. Practicing Hatha Yoga is “an exercise for the internal organs” . This is absolutely true, and practicing this with deep reverence at least for 30 mins daily brings flexibility to body and mind and revels a new meaning to life!
In my own personal experience, trying to be humble (my first goal for 2015) is a challenging virtue and subtle (for lack of a better word) at the same time. And me, being a high pitta body constitution, my natural reaction has not always been humble. But thanks to this daily ritual I feel humbly proud as I have progressed much better and have caught myself acting many a times with a calm and controlled frame of mind. This is still a work in progress…
3. Eating Your Meals To Your Dosha (Body Constitution)
In today’s modern high tech world, everything is customized to our likings; we buy dresses to what suits best for us, we drive cars with all the latest gizmos we love, live in homes that reflect our personality. Even Google and Facebook are changing their algorithms aggressively to customize the ads according to our buying trends!…lol
So, my point is we love to customize everything we buy, spend, and live, according to our taste and personality. Then, why have we not paid attention to eating according to what our body personality demands! Is this not a fair question to ask ourselves?!!
This makes perfect sense to me, and in my opinion we should first pay attention to customize our diet to our body type/personality. Learn to eat what is good for our dosha.
Ayurveda says this so accurately – ” When diet is wrong medicine is of no use. When diet is correct medicine is of no need.”
I follow this ritual pretty religiously in my own personal life and have seen it produce many health benefits. Please click on Finding Your Dosha (body type) to know more on how to start eating to your body constitution. If you are interested in knowing more about Ayurveda and it’s five elements here is the Introduction to Ayurveda.
I hope you find these rituals or daily habits as beneficial as they have been for me. Start with what habit attracts you and it’s totally okay to start with one and make it into a ritual and then gradually build on with the others. The key is practicing them sincerely and regularly to the best of your ability. Ayurvedic wisdom lays out it’s instructions in the form of guidelines or a daily routine, never forcing them into rules and regulations.
There are many guidelines given in Ayurveda in accordance to our body type and the outer environment. I have shared with you only the ones I have practiced regularly in 2015.
For this year 2016 I am working on adding one more habit which I hope will become a daily ritual eventually. It is about getting up early in the morning during the Brahma Mahurat (pre-dawn, which is technically one hour and thirty six minutes before sunrise). In fact Ayurveda says the dinacharya (set of habits) starts getting up from sleep in the Brahma Mahurat. This is going to be a challenging one for me but I know it would be very very beneficial if I incorporate it gradually.
Following a routine may sound very limiting and confining for some people but as one progresses steadily on this routine, the daily habits transform into daily rituals that indeed sets us free with a liberating expansion in body and mind.
My best wishes for you to achieve all your worthwhile goals set for this 2016 year. And I sincerely hope you incorporate some of these Ayurvedic rituals to help you navigate the bumpy waves of life!
If one of your goals in 2016 is to be healthy and eat to your unique body constitution, I offer customized Ayurvedic dietary recommendations according to your body type. Please email me at JeevaLifestyle [at] gmail [dot] com. Here is the list of services (scroll towards the bottom of the page) I offer on a one-one basis and in group sessions.
This turned out to be a long post, I would like to end here and once again wish you a very Happy and Healthy New Year!!!