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Ayurveda Fall Challenge

It’s Autumn! With the changing of the season comes the return to school (and, for many of us, the return of Autumn allergies). With this in mind, I offer you a 14-day Ayurveda challenge!

Ayurveda, the science of life, is Yoga’s “sister science”. Ayurveda focuses on aligning our lifestyle with the natural rhythms of nature. We do this primarily by adjusting our diet and lifestyle. Let’s begin with a daily routine designed to reconnect with our internal rhythms, promoting health and overall wellbeing. This program is safe for most people. (Please run it past your doctor if you have any concerns or are struggling with a serious medical condition).

What you’ll need:

Organic sesame or coconut oil
Tongue scraper
Neti pot
Cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds
Fresh lemons
Fresh ginger

Daily routine

  • Wake up before the sun (by 6:00 am).
  • Upon waking, drink a large glass of warm water with some lemon juice squeezed into it. This will stimulate your digestive tract and help cleanse toxins.
  • Scrape your tongue with a tongue scraper, wash your face, use your neti pot, and put a little bit of warm sesame oil in each nostril and inside each ear. Brush teeth.
  • Sit quietly for five to 15 minutes and pray, meditate, journal, or just focus on the breath and relax. Perhaps set an intention for your day and write it down.
  • Attempt 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise—preferably doing something you love (Yoga, jogging, brisk walking).
  • Apply warm, organic sesame oil to your entire body, using long strokes. Make sure to give your joints extra tlc. Let the oil soak in for 5-10 minutes.
  • Shower  (no need to wash the oil off with soap, just a simple rinse will do).
  • Have a healthy breakfast, between 7:30 and 8:30 am. Try to incorporate whole grains.
  • If possible, take a short 5-minute walk after breakfast. This will help you digest.
  • Avoid snacks between breakfast and lunch. Instead, drink a cup of your favorite tea or sip on water with a bit of fresh lemon.
  • Make lunch your biggest meal of the day. Try to eat sometime between 11:30 am–1:30 pm, when the digestive fire is at its strongest. Opt for whole foods: beans/lentils, grains, steamed vegetables. (Avoid too many raw foods/avoid fried foods.)
  • After lunch, if possible, take a 10-minute walk. (A 30-minute walk is even better.)
  • Between lunch and dinner, enjoy a bit of ginger tea. (To make your own, dice about a half inch of fresh ginger, boil in 2 cups of water, strain, and serve. Add raw honey to taste.)
  • Midway between lunch and dinner, enjoy some fresh seasonal fruit.
  • In the evening, before dinner, do a bit more physical activity. This can be yoga, a jog, a brisk walk, or a hike—nothing too vigorous.
  • Enjoy dinner in a quiet environment, between 5:30 and 7:30 pm. Make this your smallest meal of the day.
  • Walk again after dinner if possible, for five to 30 minutes. Leave at least two hours between eating and going to bed.
  • Shut off all electronic devices one hour before bed. Wind down from your evening with quiet activities like reading, writing, or meditation. Get in bed by 9:30 pm so you can have your lights off and be asleep by 10:00 pm. If you have a hard time sleeping, try having either a cup of chamomile tea or a mug of warm milk.

Remember, this doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. If you are not able to commit to trying on the entire routine, why not pick 3 or 4 habits to try out. Whatever you decide, enjoy the process of connecting with the rhythm of nature and your strong, wonderful self. Peace!

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