Body Sense

SPRING | 2021

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Page 7 of 16—your resource for all things bodywork 7 5 Ayurvedic Ways to Improve Balance in Your Body and Mind By Angie Parris-Raney Detox on the Equinox Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth. As nature emerges, there is a wellspring of life filled with hope and inspiration. For some, however, it can mean a heavy and damp season associated with colds, congestion, and allergies. Thankfully, ayurveda—one of the world's oldest holistic healing systems—offers a guideline to counter these characteristics with diet and lifestyle routines to strengthen a healthy immune system as we shift into the new season. According to ayurveda, spring is kapha season, which reflects the qualities of water and cohesion. Kapha characteristics include words like cold, heavy, dull, cloudy, slow, or dense. Over the winter months, we may have accumulated even more of these attributes. Ayurveda recognizes that "like increases like." To counter this type of imbalance, we look to diet and lifestyle routines to invite a sense of lightness, warmth, dryness, and sharpness to support our physiology as it aligns with the changes of nature. Just as spring is a great time to clean out our closets and drawers, it's also a good time to clean up our diet and daily routines. Here are five tips to kick-start your ayurvedic detox this season. 1. PURIFY THE MIND WITH MEDITATION Our beliefs, thoughts, and emotions directly affect the chemical reactions that take place in every cell in our body. Because of that, it's important to observe our thoughts and feelings so we have an opportunity to respond to events in a healthier way. Meditation is a practice that settles the mind into silence, connecting the self to its inner wisdom. In silence, we access joy, peace, harmony, love, and compassion. As a result of meditation, we bring these qualities back into our life, and we become more consciously aware to make healthier choices. A growing library of research continues to support the physiological benefits of meditation, including decreased anxiety, heart rate, inflammation, and stress hormone production; increased antiaging hormone production; and a strengthened immune system. One study, supported by the Chopra Foundation, compared meditation to the effects of a vacation. Researchers found quantifiable physiological changes with longer-lasting effects (up to 10 months) in those who meditated in a nourishing environment, compared to those who went on a vacation. 1 If you've never meditated before, today is the perfect day to start! If you're familiar with the power of meditation but haven't practiced for a while, then today is the day to give yourself 10 quiet minutes to reacquaint yourself with your practice. 2. MOVE, BREATHE, SWEAT Ideally, we want to balance the whole system, which includes both the body and the mind. It's also essential that exercise gives more than it takes, not robbing you of energy and leaving you feeling depleted. Ayurveda views exercise as a primer for daily activity. Walking is among the most natural and beneficial means of exercise. Aim to walk at a brisk pace for at least 30 minutes daily. And for additional benefit, increase aerobic activity to three times per week. This can include activities such as bicycling, swimming, or an aerobics class.

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