“You want me to do what”? was my immediate reaction to some of the self-care practices we learned in ayurveda class. But once I understood the reasons behind the teachings, I warmed up to them. And I even started looking forward to some of them.
Here are 4 self-care routines you’ll find weird at first—but will come to love.
1. Tongue scraping
Ever wondered about the bumpy side of your toothbrush? It’s for scraping your tongue but it’s best to get a real tongue cleaner.
You’ve probably noticed white coating on your tongue when you first look in the mirror in the morning. The white coating is called “ama”, which is an ayurvedic term for undigested or improperly digested particles. They often loosely translate this word to toxins in English.
In a nutshell, your tongue is a map of your digestive system. (Actually, various parts of your tongue represent various organs in your body.) When you clean your tongue, you also stimulate your digestive tract.
One of my favorite self-care routine now. This is something you’ll want to do daily but at least once a week—unless ladies, you’re on your period or you have other conditions that prevent you from doing it. Couple this with meditation while you wait for the oil to soak in and/or follow it with a gentle exercise before the shower. I wrote about the why and how of this self-care practice before.
3. Oil in your nose, ears and mouth
Your sense organs are just as important as the other parts of your body and mind. Allopathic medicine and wellness enthusiasts are talking about how we use our sense organs in terms of overexposure to digital screens, but that’s usually as far as they take it.
Ayurveda identifies the misuse or overuse of our sense organs as one of the potential causes of imbalances in the body and mind. So besides limiting your screen time and ingesting positive, pleasant sensory experiences, placing oil in your nose, ears and mouth can help you stay balanced.
Oil in your mouth, (gandusha) or oil pulling, is getting more popular these days but there’s a lot of incorrect information about it on the Internet. For one, the preferred oil is sesame oil to counterbalance the cool, moist and heavy qualities of your mouth. You can learn more about oil pulling and other healthy eating habits here.
Warm oil in your nose (nasya) helps clear your sinuses and improve your sense of smell. It’s also calming to the nervous system. 3 – 5 drops of brahmi oil with a light massage early in the morning or at bedtime can help sharpen your senses and make you feel relaxed.
Warm oil in your ears (karna poorna) can feel like magic especially when you have tinnitus. This practice can help unclog your ears, sharpen your hearing and soothe the nervous system.
The idea of self-administered oil or decoction enema (basti) is a hair-raiser for many. You should always do this under a qualified health practitioner’s supervision. They will recommend enema if they feel that you can benefit from it. They will give you the right kind of herbs and instructions on how to do it.
Practitioners may suggest a series of enemas when you have too much of the air-like element, vata dosha, in your system. The colon is the main seat, or location, of the vata dosha. Dosha roughly means “the one which goes out of balance”. In this case, vata goes out of balance, leaving you with too much air-like quality, such as racing thoughts, constipation or general dryness, to name just a few.
When you address a vata imbalance at the main site of vata, such as the colon, you intervene in a more powerful way. And how do you get to the main seat of vata from the outside? Through enema.
Ready to give any of these a try?You won't believe these 4 weird #selfcare practices to keep you balanced #wellness #ayurveda Click To Tweet
This blog is not intended to diagnose medical conditions or give medical advice.
Many thanks to dr. Krista Farey, MD, allopathic doctor and ayurvedic practitioner for her review.
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