5 Ancient and Ayurvedic Self-Care Habits to Add to Your Routine
When it comes to self-care, I’m an all-in kinda gal.
For many of us, self-care is often the first thing that gets overlooked in our routine. No time, too much stress, other priorities – these are the excuses we tell ourselves instead of committing to some self-care.
But it’s about time we started treating this aspect of our lives with some importance. You’ve got one life, one temple and one chance to treat it right.
Oil pulling is the process of detoxing your mouth using a natural oil. Typically sesame oil was used but in modern times organic coconut has become the main oil due to its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and enzymatic properties.
Ideally, it’s practiced for 15-20 minutes but this is difficult to do initially, so start with just a few minutes, working your way up. This ancient Ayurvedic self-care method keeps your teeth and gums healthy. It removes the build-up of bacteria in the mouth which can cause cavities, helps with bad breath and can prevent plaque from forming as well as gingivitis.
Here’s how the pro’s tackle oil pulling:
Put 1-2 teaspoons of oil into the mouth.
Swirl the oil in your mouth, through teeth, up, down, side to side. Aim to do this for 20 minutes. I do it in the shower and then apply my toner, serum moisturizer, etc. all whilst swirling. Don’t gargle! The oil will get thick and milky, as it will mix with saliva and it will also have doubled by the time you’re finished.
When you’re done, spit oil into the trash can. DO NOT spit it into the sink as it might clog the pipes and definitely don’t swallow it–it’s full of toxins.
Rinse your mouth with warm water and brush your teeth as normal to get rid of any remaining bacteria.
Our skin is our biggest organ so we really ought to be treating it with a bit more love. Don’t you think? Dry brushing stimulates your body from the outside in, allowing it to absorb nutrients and oxygen much more easily. Not only will your skin look and feel much better, you’ll also:
– Stimulate your lymphatic system – Reduce cellulite – Increase muscle tone – Relieve some stress – Improve blood circulation
Here’s a mini guide:
Use a natural bristle brush.
Do not wet your skin.
Always brush in an upward motion, starting at your feet, and working your way all the way up to your chest, where your heart is.
Brush in smooth, long strokes, or in circular motions.
After the brushing, have a light shower and then apply rosehip or coconut oil to your body and let all that good stuff soak in to make your skin as smooth as a baby’s.
It seems obvious but what’s important here are the poses.
Grounding postures such as Salamba Bharadvajasana (Supported Reclining Twist) and Salamba Upavistha Konasana (Supported Straddle Pose) are a great place to start. These soothing postures work to heal the nervous system, prevent adrenal fatigue and are a good liver detox, but most importantly they bring you to a state of calm.
Yoga is a great way to release tension and cultivate positivity. Your yoga practice will be a much better experience if you crank up the good vibes and put one on your dial, plus it will help you get through some of those trickier postures.
Meditation is the tool to achieve mindfulness. Mindfulness is something we all naturally possess, but it’s not so easy to just tap into because we’re too busy living in the next minute instead of the current one. But we can learn to do that with daily practice with meditation.
Make the decision to meditate every day. Add it to your morning routine, along with showering and brushing your teeth. Starting the day with a ten-minute meditation can work wonders for your productivity. Think of it as clearing your mental inbox, ready for the day ahead. You’ll soon realize that you’ll have more time because your mind will be calmer and more focused.
The aim of mindfulness is to make it stay with you, to carry that heightened sense of awareness throughout the day. If you apply the principles of mindfulness to your everyday life, you will develop new ways of dealing with thoughts and new ways of attending to the constant rush of your emotions. You’ll become a more relaxed, positive and aware person.
This Ayurvedic practice of self-massage is one of the most loving self-care habits to practice.
For most of us, finding the time (or funds) to get a regular massage is not on the cards so doing this once a week is a much more practical option.
You’ll need some lovely oil – sesame is traditionally used but sunflower or almond are also good, which you’ll heat up in a pot some warm water.
Then, find a peaceful, quiet and comfortable space where you can be alone.
Begin applying the oil on your body, massaging it gently using long strokes on your limbs and broad, circular motions.
Massage under the arms and your neck activating your lymph nodes.
Next, apply the oil to the crown of your head and massage it in a circular motion. Then add some oil to your fingertips and apply the oil to your ears and finally, your feet.
After that, you should be in a beautifully blissful state. So make a cup of tea, grab a book and enjoy.