Ayurveda is the science of life.
As such, life is always changing, shifting, and transforming around us, and through us. As we employ Ayurveda as a means to discover ourselves further, we can utilize its innate intelligence to guide and nurture us by navigating the temperatures of our individual and communal worlds.
As the holidays roll around, you may notice that you are finding yourself kilter off balance. It’s a motley crew of reasons: the weather, the food you eat, you schedule, your possible anxiety levels, the enthusiasm, and even the conversations that spark around the holiday dinner table.
When you think of Ayurveda, your mind may not jump to all of these topics, but because it is the science of life—Ayurveda does includes all of these things. Therefore, using Ayurvedic tips and techniques can help you adjust your habits so that you can show up as your most balanced self all season long.
Four Ayurvedic Tips for the Holidays
1. Stay warm and stay hydrated
Fall and early winter are vata seasons. This season related to properties of air and and wind, and can influence our ability (or inability) to stay grounded. The qualities of air and wind are very quick and light, found energetically at parties, meals, and even in some conversations. Think about that energy of being pulled in a million directions, or being in a loud and fast paced conversation that perhaps you weren’t quite ready for.
It’s important during this time of high social and energetic enthusiasm to remain committed to this simple act of self care. Staying warm physically through clothing, food, and drink gives us a leg up when the vata appears in ways you didn’t prepare for—and helps to support a grounded, open, and genuinely engaged presence (even in the most stressful of situations).
2. Limit spicy foods and alcohol
Nothing stokes a Pitta (fire element) like going home for the holidays. The brain and the belly are inextricably linked. When the mind is active and in overdrive, producing thoughts laced with anxiety and overwhelm, the belly immediately gears up, often producing acidic enzymes creating a hot and spicy internal environment to say the least. An unfortunate bi-product of this very common occurrence is a sharp tongue, and short reaction times.
The solution? Limit spicy foods, moderate alcohol intake, and bring in warm, sweet, and savory foods. With these tools you can support a calmer mind and body, giving you the graceful energy you need to respond to anything and anyone that comes your way.
3. Watch portion sizes and meal times
You will be amazed at how holiday depression can be combated with simple portion control, and regular eating habits. The Kapha (earth element), can be felt strongly during this time of year in the form of lethargy, fatigue, and laziness. Interestingly enough, a simple vata and pitta infusion of rhythm and consistency can help. Rev up the metabolism on a regular basis with light snacks. Doing this supports hormone balance and mental stability—empowering you with powerful ammo for those epic holiday meal times.
4. Engage in a spiritual practice
At the end of the day, we are all spiritual beings, seeking to connect, love, and experience the depth of our human capabilities. The holidays are an amazing time to practice these aspirations with others and grow ourselves in ways unavailable to us the rest of the year. The opportunity for practice lives in each and every holiday party, family and community dinner, and uncomfortable conversation with a family member (or co-worker). Our commitment to our personal practice ensures we nurture the connection to ourselves and our intentions, freeing the energy up to engage, participate, and share with the deep knowledge that we are safe and loved.
Photo via iStock.