A Daily Hygiene Routine for Yogis
Ayurveda is the 5,000 year old sister science of yoga; it translates to “knowledge of life” in Sanskrit. Rooted in the elements of the earth and cosmos, Ayurvedic classifications or doshas include vata, kapha and pitta. The Ayurvedic practice of dinacharya, or “law of nature,” consists of daily self-care routines that promote balance in body, mind and spirit. Join sages and yogis around the world and add the practices below to your daily hygiene routine.
Wake Before the Sun
Morning is a time of quiet connection. Once the sun is in the sky, the clock of Ayurveda signals it is time to move and be productive. Waking early to begin the day offers a chance to connect energetically with self, rather than your inbox, first thing in the morning.
The morning boasts fresh energy and serenity, so it serves as an important time for meditation. Find a few quiet moments to breathe and work your way to a longer meditation over time. Return to mindfulness through meditation at the end of the day, which supports more restful sleep.
Swoosh oil, such as sunflower, coconut or sesame, around your gums and teeth for a few minutes each day. Oil pulling is effective in removing toxins and parasites, which reside in the nooks and crannies between teeth and in the gums. Work your way from 1-2 minutes to 15-20 minutes. Spit the oil in the trash when you are done and rinse your mouth with water.
Known as Abhyanga in Ayurveda, self-massaging is often practiced in the morning and/or evening. It calms the nervous system, improves immunity, softens skin, and tones muscle. Use warm oil, such as coconut or sesame (depending on your dosha). Start at your scalp and extremities, then work your way towards your heart. Follow your massage with a warm bath or shower.
Now commonly found in drugstores, tongue scraping is an ancient Ayurvedic technique. Try this practice in the morning: during your sleep, toxins and other organisms your body cannot process accumulate on your tongue.
This Ayurvedic technique requires silk gloves or a dry skin brush. Start with your extremities and brush toward your heart, with the exception of brushing down the back and spine. This practice drains the lymphatic system and stimulates movement of energy. Take a warm shower or practice self-massage afterwards.
Morning and evening meals should be light in comparison to your lunch. Afternoon is usually the best time of day for your heaviest meal. Agni, or digestive energy, is usually in full force in the afternoon. Avoid eating heavy meals before bed, as this will disrupt your sleep.
Head to Bed Early
Begin your evening ritual around 8:30pm to ensure a restful transition to bedtime. Unwinding with a book or a bath and avoiding screen time are important aspects of good bedtime hygiene. This routine may prevent late-night snacking. Around 10pm, pitta energy kicks back in which may spark a “second wind” and inhibit true rest.
Yoga Every Day: More Than A Hashtag
If you’re a yoga practitioner in 2016, chances are you have had some exposure to the yoga of social media. You may even be familiar with the “yoga every damn day” hashtag that unites a community of yogis in the pursuit of a devoted daily practice. But what does #yogaeverydamnday really mean and is it in the realm of wise practice? While some are quick to condemn this social media movement with cautions of injury, demands for moderation and a strict adherence to tradition, perhaps it warrants closer examination.
Maybe #yogaeverydamnday is meant to celebrate the yogic lifestyle and encourage committed daily practice. Or maybe there exists a deeper level of embedded insight in this seemingly innocuous hashtag than what can be communicated in a well-staged image or video. At the very least, it serves as an entry point for discussing how Yoga Everyday is actually a lifestyle choice.
WHAT IS YOGA EVERY DAY?
THE SPIRIT OF SADHANA: EXPERIENTIAL WISDOM
Among the numerous sacred texts that comprise the ancient body of yoga philosophy, the Yoga Sutras include some of the clearest and most readily applicable teachings for the modern yoga practitioner. There are two words in Sanskrit that are commonly translated as “practice” in English: abhyasa and Sadhana. These two words may be synonymous in their shared English equivalent, but in Sanskrit they illustrate, in two very different ways, what is meant by yoga “practice”. As we begin to examine our own personal reasons for practicing yoga every day, it is important to develop an intimate understanding of both.
THE SPIRIT OF SADHANA: ABHYASA
Abhyasa is the collective of devoted practices and lifestyle choices (thoughts, words, actions) that allow us to grow in the direction of truth and spiritual realization. Abhyasa can be thought of as a set of natural behaviors that are informed by our personal values and our deepest spiritual aims. In Yoga Sutra 1.13, we are given Abhyasa as descriptive of all practices that maintain a state of tranquility. This maintenance is achieved with a commitment to sadhana.
THE SPIRIT OF SADHANA: SADHANA
Sadhana refers to the specific methods and techniques for interacting with the physical world through the vehicle of the body. Sadhana addresses body, breath and mental awareness through prescribed practices such as those offered in Ashtanga Yoga, The Eight-Limbed Path.