Self-care is a buzz word that I hear being used to describe a variety of activities. My recent search of #selfcare on instagram revealed over 9 million posts. The current top posts include “how to get a boyfriend, favorite manicure color, eyebrow shapes and weight loss tips for lazy people”. This differs dramatically from what I consider self-care, so I consulted my trusty dictionary.
“The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health.” - Oxford Dictionary
There is nothing wrong with maintaining your looks or improving your relationships, but as a yoga teacher and ayurvedic practitioner, I offer a much broader variety of self-care practices. Wellness needs vary from person to person and shifts are often necessary based on the season and individual constitution (including vikriti - state of imbalance). With the cool winds of fall, many people experience an imbalance of the vata dosha (air and space elements). Signs of vata imbalance include bloating, gas, constipation, nervousness, fatigue and dryness of the skin. Ayurveda and yoga offer warming and nurturing self-care practices that can help return a sense of balance.
Diet is a great place to practice self-care and establish balance. Because of the cold, dry nature of the season, I recommend avoiding cold foods, and opting for warm, moist foods that are easy to digest. In ayurveda, we focus on the 6 tastes (sweet, salty, sour, pungent, astringent and bitter) and include them in every meal. In the case of vata imbalance, we can focus on can add a little more sweet, sour and salty tastes.
I recommend establishing a series of daily morning practices as self-care. One item that is a must in my daily routine is drinking hot lemon water. During the summer when my digestion is strong, I use less lemon or switch to lime. Now that fall is here, I recommend using the juice of 1/4 to 1/2 a lemon. You can still have coffee or tea, but start with your hydration practice. If you choose to drink coffee or tea, let it be the bitter taste that accompanies your meal.
Looking for more ways to support your health with yoga and ayurveda? During ayurvedic consultations, we will establish self-care routines that include morning/evening habits, breathing practices, a yoga/movement routines and dietary guidelines tailored to meet your wellness goals.
If you are in the Lancaster area, you can learn more at my Doshas + Dosas Workshop. Those ready to invest in the next level of self-care are invited sign up for Create Karma’s AWE (accessible wellness for everyone) program. 2019 rates are discounted for those who sign up by January 31.