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Beginners Guide to Ayurveda Medicine and Health

We sat down with the amazing Chara Caruthers and asked her all about Ayurveda. This ancient way of living that creates vibrancy and balance in the body.

You can tune into the video Interview inside the MerryBody Online Studio. There are over 20 amazing interviews, an abundance of Yoga and Pilates classes and meditations. The Class library continues to grow each and every single week!

Chara has also put together this beginners guide to Ayurveda that we know you’re going to love. 

Let’s get into the goodness… and of course, find more info about Chara right here!

What is Ayurveda? Ayurveda [Eye-Er-Vay-Dah]

Ayurveda is the oldest system of health and living on record (it pre-dates Chinese and Greek Medicine). It’s ancient, and it’s from India.

Ayurveda recognizes that you are a body, a mind and something more…(a soul, essence) all of which have a CRITICAL part to play in your health and happiness!

It focuses on the prevention of illness by treatment of root causes… which basically starts with the way you think and live BEFORE illness can develop and take hold.

It’s a holistic, uniquely you, all-natural way of approaching the complicated tasks of:

  • looking and feeling vibrant
  • making powerful choices
  • connecting with the world
  • being authentically YOU.

Here are the basics you need to know about Ayurveda…

Harmony is Health

Yeah, sounds like a fairy tale…it isn’t. It’s true. By harmony I mean, YOU and your environment (home, work, family, friends, weather, food, basically everything around you) working in sync. Put it this way… the opposite of harmony is stress. Stress has many, many forms.

Seasons Matter

Things change. You’ve gotta change with them. Refusing to change = mental, emotional, physical stress. Changes in your environment (weather, seasons) have a big impact on your mind and body regardless of where you live.

Routine Matters

The cave men invented the idea that ‘unknown = stress’. And it’s still pretty much true today. Routine removes some of the unknown from your life (but not the fun!). And that means that in many ways routine kills stress.

Another GREAT thing about routine is that it ensures you’re doing the things that matter rather than letting them get buried underneath your busy-ness!

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The key to great health is NOT just food and exercise

Don’t get me wrong those things are important but consider that:

  • What you think
  • What you feel
  • What you choose
  • How you react
  • Where you live
  • Who you spend your time with
  • How you spend your time
  • How you feel about yourself

Are the KEY factors that drive the choices you make around what to eat and how to exercise. And when it comes to living healthy most people pretty much ignore these things.

How much easier it would be to make healthy choices if you changed a few small things about your thinking (like starting to believe that you are worthy of being amazing and healthy)?

For many of us, our health choices (like what to eat and when to exercise) are driven by guilt.

Oh yeah and here’s another little secret… guilt = stress.

Okay, so now for the fun part…

Create a Routine

For many people, the idea of a daily routine can be SCARY! Just remember routines don’t have to be inflexible or difficult to maintain.

Think of a routine as a gift you give yourself every day. Start by choosing one thing (yep just one) every day. For example:

Morning

Try 10 minutes of meditation, or 30 mins of yoga, a cup of warming tea, or a 5 minute self/foot massage.

Day Time

Go outside, chat with a friend or someone you love for a few minutes and do 1-2 minutes of deep breathing.

Evening

Try the meditation again, turn off TV, computers, radio for 10 mins, notice what comes up, do 5 minutes of stretching before bed, get to bed before 11pm.

Observe the Seasons

Best thing about the change of seasons is that you pretty much always know when it’s coming. The change of seasons tends to be a transitional time for lots of life’s activities and it’s also a time that we’re most vulnerable to illness and disease.

So with each season, here’s what to do:

Change up your food

As well as eating seasonal foods, educate yourself about the qualities of the foods you eat (hot, cold, light, heavy) and be sure to make food choices that are in harmony with the qualities of the season (i.e. stay away from heavy wet stuff in the spring, avoid too much hot spicy stuff in the summer, etc.).

Change up your clothes

Be sure to wear appropriate clothing for both the season and the weather on any particular day. It will make a HUGE difference in how you feel emotionally if you wear clothes that keep you suitably warm in winter and cool in summer…trust me on this.

Change up your Routine

Yeah I know…just when it becomes a routine…it changes. Again look at the routine not as something that ties you down, but as a gift that you give yourself every day. In that way changing it as the seasons change and new activities, weather, and other environmental factors come into play, it will start to feel even more like you’re dancing with life rather than playing tackle football with it.

Notice Everything

Yogis call it mindfulness. And it is powerful stuff. One could argue that without it, happiness,

health, bliss, success, really aren’t possible. And even though it’s true that we operate a lot of our lives without much awareness (on “auto-pilot”), and we still manage to get things done, real awareness changes everything.

It’s like turning the lights on and seeing colors for the first time. It allows for a greater efficiency and effectiveness in life. And it’s a lot easier than you might think. So whenever you do think about it OR just before you’re about to do anything – sit down, answer the door, make a call, eat a meal, go to bed, and so on…

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Try this… ask yourself:

How do I feel physically, emotionally, mentally?

This is not a trick question just a way of focusing your awareness. Know before asking that answering it doesn’t mean you have to do anything about it.

How am I behaving?

Does who you’re ‘being’ feel natural and authentic? Are your actions a reflection of what you truly believe?

What’s going on around me?

What’s happening in your environment? What’s the weather? What activities are going on? What are you likely to be involved in? What people will I come into contact with? What’s the pace of life like?

Then… just notice what you notice… yep, it’s that simple!

Harmonize with your environment… even as it changes

Once you’re armed with an awareness of yourself and your environment you can make easier decisions about how to create harmony in your life (that’s the dance I mentioned earlier).

It can be as simple as putting on a warm coat or a rain jacket if it’s cold and rainy, choosing to enjoy a cool salad over a hot and spicy chili on a warm summer day. Or even making a decision to be calm and collected when dealing with a hot headed partner, friend or colleague.

Life is going to ‘throw’ stuff at you. But you have the choice to catch it, throw it back, or let it hit you in the face! My suggestion is to choose harmony (whichever option that represents).

Remember harmony kills stress!

The key to being a great dance partner is understanding the mechanics of give and take and having enough awareness to know that you always have a choice about which one you do in any situation.

So, there you have it…

Some simple rules for powerful living. And if you haven’t tried some or all of these I guarantee that doing so will transform your life (and you with it).

How do I know this? Mainly because I’ve actually tried it myself. As a busy woman I’m no stranger to overwhelm, stress, bad eating and self-care habits. I’ve also had my share of challenges with establishing healthy routines and mindfulness.

And what I’ve noticed is that by making small changes (I mean like really small, ones that you wouldn’t think would make a difference, small) over time, with love and support, I’ve managed to create a body, mind, and soulful life that loves me as much as I love it!

My dharma is to help you work out where and how to apply these rules in your life. How to identify those tiny changes that will make all the difference for who you are and what you do.

So if you’re feeling called to dive deeper and uncover your truth and vibrancy, keep going!

And if you need guidance, connection and support along the way, get in touch. But no matter what, enjoy the ride and know that wherever you find yourself I’ll be here on the sidelines cheering you on!

You can tune into Chara’s Interview as part of the MerryBody Online Studio, it’s a session not to be missed! AND you can find more information about Chara and all that shes does right here!

Images by Chris Jarvis, Chinh Le Duc, Annie Spratt  on Unsplash