Erin Casperson, guest blogger Ayurveda, India’s traditional system of medicine, is believed to be around 5,000 year old, and is considered to be the longest continuously practiced system of medicine. Long before blood tests, MRIs, CAT scans, EKGs, and x-rays, there was the eightfold examination process called ashtavidha pariksha. (Ashta means eight, vidha means fold [...]
Ayurveda is the sister science of yoga. If you want to learn more about this 5,000-year-old system of natural healing and balanced diet, you’re in the right place.
by Erin Casperson, Kripalu School of Ayurveda Intern According to Ayurveda, one of the keys to maintaining health is to practice ritucharya—seasonal routines. Adjusting our daily self-care rituals to seasonal changes helps us maintain balance and reminds us that we are a part of the natural world. Spring is ruled by the kapha dosha, whose [...]
While we sleep, our bodies do their natural work of clearing toxins out of our system. As they leave the organs, these toxins travel to our colon and skin—which is why, according to Ayurveda, it’s important to take care of personal hygiene first thing in the morning to prevent reabsorption. The following routines are effective [...]
Erin Casperson, guest blogger and Kripalu School of Ayurveda Intern According to Ayurvedic philosophy, ojas is the life-sustaining vitality that promotes immunity in the body. Ojas can keep you healthy during flu season and prevent depletion during a stretch of overtime at work. It takes a long time to build this nourishing substance, but, in [...]
Pranayama (breathing) practices are a great way to cultivate inner heat during the winter. Larissa Hall Carlson, a Kripalu Yoga teacher and Ayurvedic Yoga Teacher, shares three of her favorite warming pranayama practices sure to get your inner space heater thrumming. Anuloma viloma is a variation of nadi shodhana (Alternate-Nostril Breathing), with a short breath retention. [...]
Three years ago, I went on vacation and suffered a horrible bout of food poisoning that left me with a relentless and debilitating intestinal problem. I was lethargic, I gained weight, and I had to go to the bathroom constantly. I went from doctor to doctor looking for a solution, to no avail. I tried [...]
Time-honored techniques to thaw winter’s chill Winter brings the festive sparkle of the holidays; fresh, snowy vistas; exhilarating outdoor sports … and, for many people, lethargy, dry skin, and runny noses. How can we keep up our spirits—and our health—when it’s so easy to let Old Man Winter bring us down? Ayurveda, the holistic-health system [...]
Ayurveda originated in India more than 5,000 years ago and is the oldest continuously practiced health-care system in the world. Drawn from an understanding of nature’s rhythms and laws, Ayurveda is built around the five elements of ether, air, fire, water, and earth.
It is understood in Ayurveda that humans, as natural beings, are governed by the same rules and laws as all other natural beings. If we choose to ignore these laws, then imbalances will begin to appear. These imbalances are the precursor to disharmony and disease in the mind and body. This system of medicine understands our deepest connections with the whole universe and the influences of the energies that make up this universe. We are considered a microcosm of the macrocosm.
Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a morning person, there’s still much to love about those first few moments after you roll out of bed: In their stillness you can get ready to step into the day by organizing your thoughts, assessing your needs, and—when it comes to breakfast—nourishing your whole self.
As we’re all unique individuals and our bodies call for different things, there isn’t a formula for a breakfast that suits everyone. Instead, starting the day off right means understanding your body and digestion, and choosing what works for you. This tuning in is at the heart of what we teach at Kripalu, which can help point the way toward a breakfast that’s balanced with you in mind:
1. Heed your hunger. Not everyone can eat like a lumberjack first thing in the morning, so prepare the right-size meal for your body type. From the Ayurvedic perspective, for instance, those with more delicate constitutions (vata types) should have a warming but light meal, like simple hot cereal, while hardier folks who wake up hungry (pitta types) can handle things like eggs, nuts and seeds, and fruit.
2. Fresh is best. We all know the best breakfast comes from our own kitchens—so look for whole foods (grains, fruits, and vegetables) that you can easily prepare for yourself each morning to optimize their freshness. Meat, eggs, and dairy may also have their place on the breakfast table, but only if they arrive fresh from a trusted local source.
3. Stay on schedule. Get into the habit of having your breakfast at a regular time. The body tends to get attuned to things, and if you eat at 6:00 am one day and 10:00 am the next, that can throw off your digestive rhythms. (But you don’t need to eat the same thing every day. In fact, Ayurveda encourages eating seasonally, which ensures an ever-changing lineup of fruits and vegetables.)
4. Savor every bite. Ayurveda teaches that being in tune with your meal—from selecting and preparing it to quietly sitting with it and appreciating it—feeds far more than just your body. Breakfast is an ideal time to explore this practice, and discover that the more you create consciousness around what you’re putting into your body, the stronger and healthier your whole body-mind-spirit complex becomes.