3 Healthy Ayurveda Practices For You!
EYES, NOSE + MOUTH
A healthy lifestyle is the foundation for creating optimal health. The best medicine is of little value if one’s lifestyle is creating your suffering. The effect of medicine is temporary. The effect of lifestyle is everlasting!
While a healthy lifestyle is the most important factor in our well-being, it is the most difficult to adopt. Lifestyle changes penetrate the deepest nature of our consciousness and it brings up our attachments to our way of life. Most people do not change easily. For this reason, be very patient with yourself. Experiment with the practices below and try to adopt them as a way of life.
The Practice of Eye Cleansing or Bright Eyes (Sanskrit term is: Chakshu Dhauti)
The Ayurvedic practice of Chakshu Dhauti is the practice of washing the eyes. Washing the eyes removes waste secretions that build up in the eye. In addition, the herbs used in the eye washes help to restore balance to the eyes, improves vision and helps to keep your eyes healthy.
Washing the eyes only takes a few minutes. It can be done a few times each week or practiced daily when you experience significant redness and burning~ such as with too much screen time!
Eye wash solutions are usually prepared from rose water, however other eye wash formulations exist.
Instructions for Rose Water
- Purchase an eye cup
- Purchase rose hydrosol. This is basic rose water.
- Fill a cup half way with rose water.
Instructions Once the Wash Has Been Prepared
- Bend your head forward and place you eye into the cup creating a tight seal with the rim of the cup.
- Tip your head back keeping the cup firmly attached to your eye.
- Open your eye and look into the cup. Blink 10-12X.
- Bend your head forward and remove the cup.
- Repeat on the other side. Discard the solution when complete.
The Neti Pot: What it is, Why? + How to use it!
Neti is the practice of passing something through the nose. Jala Neti is the Sanskrit name for the practice of passing water through the nasal passages. This nasal “irrigation” cleanses the nasal passages and sinuses offering many important health benefits to the body and mind. As a result of the practice, dust, pollen and pollutants, such as smoke, are removed. For those suffering from allergies, cleansing the nasal passages and sinuses often reduces allergy symptoms. The benefits of Jala Neti, however, go beyond the physical body. The practice also cleanses the mind resulting in a higher level of being alert and awake.
Jala Neti is practiced with warm, salt water that fills a neti pot, a small vessel. The water is then poured into one nostril and fills the sinuses. It then comes out the opposite nostril. As it does, it carries impurities out of the body.
You do not need to do this everyday, but you can! And definitely practice this when you have sinus congestion.
The following are a few tips to keep in mind when practicing in order to create a successful experience~
- Fill the neti pot with warm water. The temperature should be about 98 – 100 degrees, which is about your body temperature. If it is too hot or cold it may cause some discomfort. It is not necessary to take the temperature of the water, an estimate is fine. To the touch, it feels a little warm and not hot.
- Add a little salt to the neti pot. All pots are sized a little differently. Normally about 1/8-1/4 tsp. is the right amount. Too much or too little may cause a burning sensation. Play with the amount until you get it right. If it burns a little from the salt either add or subtract the amount of salt you are using for your pot. Sometimes you need more salt so that it does not burn. That is because we are salty and we need to match the natural PH of our own bodies with the salt water we are making for our Neti practice.
- Pour the water into one nostril while bending the head forward and tilting it to one side. It takes some practice to learn how to bend the head forward and tilt to one side allowing the water to flow properly. Take your time and experiment until you get it right. Once you do it right, it is very easy to reproduce. It is important to note that when pouring water into your nostril you should keep your mouth open. This helps create the proper pressure in the nasal passages. Thus, your head is tipped forward and to the side and your mouth is open.
- Following nasal irrigation, place a drop of oil on your finger tip and insert the oil into the nose. Briefly massage the inside of the nose with the oil. This lubricates the nasal passages keeping them healthy.
Note: It is safest to use purified, boiled or distilled water for this practice as there is a miniscule risk of micro-organisms being in the water. Most people use warm tap water and do not have any problem. To remove any risk, I recommend that you use water that has been purified through microfiltration, distillation or boiling.
The Practice of Tongue Cleansing
Tongue cleansing is a traditional Ayurvedic practice that removes the coating that has built up on the surface of the tongue. Ayurveda considers the coating to be an accumulation of toxins called “ama.” Left untreated, the ama on the surface of the tongue is a contributing factor to bad breath and alterations of taste in the mouth. By cleansing the tongue, not only is the breath freshened and proper taste restored but the tongue is massaged. The tongue is considered an important site for reflexes to the organs. By massaging the tongue, the organs are also massaged. This removes toxins from the organs and helps keep them healthy.
One final benefit of cleansing your tongue is that it helps improve digestion. The tongue is a part of the digestive system. The tongue communicates to the stomach and small intestine that food is on its way. A healthy tongue improves the ability of the stomach and intestine to do their job of digesting food.
- Purchase a tongue cleaner also called a tongue scraper. Often these are made of stainless steel but may also be prepared from copper or from plastic.
- The instrument is held in one hand and the curved end is placed on the back of the tongue,
- Move the instrument from the back to the front scraping off the coating of the tongue. Rinse the instrument as often as needed and repeat about ten times. No need to be aggressive, you can be gentle and get it done well.
- Fill the other half of the cup with warm water. The overall temperature of the solution should be about body temperature, warm but not hot.
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