Here are a few Ayurvedic practices to strengthen your digestive fire:
Ayurvedic Diet – Eat to Live
What to Eat
In Ayurveda, the rules remain constant: as the seasons change and different foods are harvested, we change the foods we eat in accordance.
In winter, for example, squirrels eat nuts a good source of protein and fat. This is a perfect food to help combat the cold and dry weather in the winter months (vata season). Grains, which are harvested in the fall and cooked in the winter, are also a perfect winter food. Cooked grains provide a warm, heavy nutritional base that helps us adapt to the cold of winter.
In spring, after eating heavy nuts and grains during the long sedentary winter, nature again provides us with the perfect food. Light, leafy green veggies and berries are the first foods harvested in the spring (kapha season) and are the natural antidote for the allergy season.
As the days get warmer in July and August, nature provides cooling fruits and vegetables to balance the heat of summer (pitta season).
How to Eat
Ayurveda understands that the cycles of nature will provide what we need at any given time. These cycles also provide the guidelines for a rhythm of life that is enjoyable. Unfortunately, our society has demanded that we rush, push, and shove our way through life in order to get ahead.
The biggest social violations of natural law revolve around our meals. We frequently race through or skip meals, eating as many as one-third of our meals in the car.
Crashing through our day, racing through lunch, and coming home to eat our biggest meal of the day at 7:00 PM when the digestion is the weakest, could not be going more against the powerful grain of mother nature.
Ayurveda recommends that all meals should be eaten slowly and calmly, and that the main meal should be at midday.
In Ayurveda, exercise is not only about losing weight, winning races, and staying healthy. Exercise provides a kind of physical stress that can be used to teach us how to deal with all kinds of stress (mental, emotional and social) with an internal sense of composure.
Simply breathing deeply through your nose while walking fast for twenty minutes can teach you to handle stressful situations. (Here’s a tip: while walking fast, if you have to breathe through your mouth, you are walking too fast!)
With 80% of all diseases linked to stress, learning how to take an experience of calm into dynamic activity is an integral part of Ayurveda. The ability to know exactly how much exercise is good for you and how much is harmful becomes more automatic as you learn to listen to your body. Nasal breathing during exercise provides numerous health benefits, including a natural experience of calm that we require for self-healing and growth.
Ayurveda believes that healing starts from within.
When fully balanced, living a lifestyle in harmony with nature and one’s type, stilling the mind with techniques like yoga, breathing and meditation along with proper diet, exercise and herbal support, as needed, one can set the stage for optimal health and emotional growth.
Ayurveda attributes 80% of all disease to imbalances of the digestive system and, therefore, much attention is given to its maintenance.
In Ayurveda, as the digestive system is also our detoxification system, when the digestion breaks down, so does the ability to detox.
Five thousand years ago in a non-toxic world, Ayurvedic experts thought it important even then to design one of the most sophisticated detoxification programs in the world, called Panchakarma. Today, with digestive-compromising stress and environmental toxicity at an all-time high, resetting digestive strength and regular detoxification are more important than ever.