10 self-care rituals
Harmony in our bodies and minds cannot be found with crash diets and fads, but by listening to your inner voice and making simple shifts on a daily basis. In Ayurveda, we notice how we feel, what we are digesting (food and feelings), the weather, and make adjustments to balance. With these adjustments we can feel lighter, more energetic, and whole.
Below is the how-to for 10 simple Self-Care Rituals that can be incorporated into your daily routine.
Ritual #1: Scrape your tongue
- Clears toxins and bacteria from the mouth, which is a pathway into the body and bloodstream
- Reduces bad breath
- Promotes overall oral health
- Helps with proper digestion
- Presence with your body and health!
- Grab each end of the tongue scraper in each hand
- Place the rounded end of the scraper toward the back of the mouth
- Gently scrape only the top layer of tongue from front to back
- Repeat 7-14 times
Get your tongue scraper.
Ritual #2: Pour some tea
A point of clarification: "Chai" just means Tea in Hindi. Now you know.
With Ayurveda, we make simple shifts all the time to adjust and balance our bodies. Chai is no exception. Wake up, notice how you're feeling, and make a cup. Learn the basics, then improvise and just go with what speaks to you. This small act is empowering and incredibly healing. You don't need to be an Ayurvedic counselor to practice this ritual and heal yourself.
Here are some ideas, with things you can find in your home. Just boil in water, steep for 4-6 min, strain and enjoy alone, with maple syrup or honey. Take a moment to double down on your rituals, and consider something you are grateful for.
First thing in am detox & flushing system:
Warm water with lemon
Everyday balancing and digestive health:
Cumin, Coriander, Fennel (CCF) - an Ayurvedic staple
Add other elements - lavender for calming, ginger for heating, star anise for digestion
Congestion & Immunity:
Ginger, Turmeric (I drink this in large quantities - daily)
Add other elements like black pepper, cardamom, cloves, tulsi (holy basil)
Mint, Fennel, Cardamom
Cinnamon, Cumin, Cloves, Licorice
Get KOSA tea blends.
Ritual #3: Oil your nose & mouth
The word for oil in Sanskrit is “Sneha”, which also happens to mean love. Oil restores balance in the body and mind with healthy elements. It also aborbs toxins, and flushes them when you flush or wash oil internally and externally.
OIL PULLING (oil in the mouth!)
WHY? Promotes good oral health (antiviral), freshens breath, naturally whitens teeth, boosts immune system
HOW? Just replace your drying, mouthwash ritual with this simple and much more pleasant one. Except use 1 tbsp on an empty stomach and swish it as long as you can – 8-12 min (pick your clothes, do self massage, whatever)– for full detox. We sell a lovely Cinnamon from Banyan Botanicals, which is warming for this season.
NASYA (oil in the nose!)
WHY? The nose brings breath and Prana (life force) into the body. It needs to have healthy flow to bring in healthy Prana. It also soothes and lubricates the nasal passages, helps with sinus health, relieves tension, protects from toxins and allergens (can prevent allergies), improves quality of breath
HOW? Tilt head back, place 2-3 drops in each nostril, inhale, massage sinuses in circles to distribute. We sell a lovely tridoshic Nasya, also from Banyan
These two rituals probably add 12 minutes to your day. So much benefit and self-love in such a small package!
Watch the how-to video.
Ritual #4: Rest
Make space to step away from work, take a nap and be in nature. Whatever rest means for you!
Ritual #5: Brush your body
Garshana is Sanskrit for “friction by rubbing”. Actually, it’s not as intense as it sounds. Using raw silk gloves, it is a gentle form of energizing massage that is a core practice of daily detoxification through lymphatic stimulation. That means, it offers just the right pressure to just the right layer of tissue where the lymphatic system moves toxins. This technique actually helps move the toxins to the lymph nodes where they do their job of flushing your system.
(You can also do this with a dry brush if you need extra stimulation, but if you have Vata imbalance, it is not recommended.)
- Removes toxins
- Stimulates blood flow
- Improves lymphatic circulation
- Reduces appearance of cellulite
- Detoxes liver
- Boosts skin glow
- Apply medium/firm pressure on clean, dry skin
- Using long strokes, vigorously massage over long bones and in circles over joints
- Follow with a light self-abhyanga oil massage to soothe skin and optimize absorption of oils
Get your Garshana Gloves.
Watch the video.
Ritual #6: Notice your eyes
Screen time has weakened our eyes and our posture with the nature of work and technology. When our eyes suffer, our minds will tire. Redness, dryness, weakness, headaches, furrowing (wrinkles!!) follow. No matter how much we use our precious eyes, we don’t spend much time noticing how they feel and giving them some love.
In Ayurveda we want to keep the eyes cool, keeping Pitta (fire) in balance so we don’t trigger other issues. These simple practices can be done anywhere and bring relief, relaxation, and brighten your eyes while offering mindfulness to your daily activity.
Some eye strain tips:
- Take frequent screen breaks, meditate
- Drink Pitta pacifying teas (cooling ingredients like mint/ we have one in our online store)
- Connect visually with nature
- Massage the eyes, face and neck
- Use palming technique
- Stretch and exercise the eyes - yes, eye yoga is a thing!
Watch the instructional video.
Ritual #7: Practice self-massage
Self-massage, or Abhyanga, is one of those rituals that emotionally and physically is one of the most nurturing.
* Calming to the nervous system and reduces stress hormones
* Detoxifying - with both the massage and using oil that absorbs toxins
* Lubricating joints
* Softens skin and hair
* Improving sleep
* Good excuse for "me time"!
HOW? Watch Sarah's instructional video, OR:
* Select an oil for your dosha (take our dosha quiz, choose one of our oils in online store)
* Practice after garshana, and before warm shower
* Warm 1/2 oil (in bottle or small bowl) in a bowl of warm water
* Use long strokes on long bones, circular strokes on joints, circular motion on the scalp and pull through hair to ends
* Follow with a warm shower
Select abhyanga oil for your dosha.
Ritual #8: Breathe
When feeling stressed, we need to release and reset in any way possible. Whether we know it or not, we are often in fight or flight mode, which releases stress hormones, increases heart rate and makes for shallow breathing. Over time, this state can erode your health in multiple ways. Doing simple breath exercises can activate your parasympathetic nervous system, slowing down and calming you for greater oxygen intake and a less stressed mind. Bonus benefit is strengthening lung function for general health!
Basics breath exercises to try. Sit upright with a straight spine and close your eyes:
- Belly Breathing - Put your hand on your belly and practice breathing with your diaphram, not your chest. Feel your belly expand as you fill with the inhale. Exhale through your mouth. A good, long exhale alone can do wonders. Practice for 5-10 minutes.
- Square Breathing - Inhale, hold, exhale, hold and repeat for equal lengths of time (4–10sec). Practice for 5-10 min.
There are so many more once you get started! You will feel empowered, peaceful and energized at the same time!
Ritual #9: Sleep. Properly.
Ayurvedic texts say " “Happiness and unhappiness, nourishment (good physique) and emaciation, strength and debility, sexual prowess and impotence, knowledge and ignorance, life and death—all are dependent on sleep.”
Make sleep something you relish, and the ritual something you revel in. These are basic guidelines to consider:
DIM YOUR LIGHTS 2 hours before bedtime - this keeps your circadian
cycles in synch . Light candles, enjoy the dark. Go outside (notice how
well you sleep when you camp?)
DON'T EAT OR DRINK alcohol 2 hours before bedtime
AVOID ALL SCREENS (including your phone!) 2 hours before bedtime. The blue light reduces production of melatonin. At least use an app that eliminates blue light.
CALM. Avoid high intensity emotions before sleeping.
GROUND. You can rub warm sesame oil on the bottom of your feet, use lavender essential oils on your pillow, give yourself a warm oil abhyanga (see Self-Care Ritual #7 post), drink moon milk
SLEEP BY 10:00 to take advantage of the most restorative time of sleep (between 10-12)
WAKE AT SUNRISE. Again, staying in synch with circadian rhythms
Even with good practices, we need to be mindful of our specific or constitution, and the time of year, in order to make adjustments. Check with your counselor or book a virtual consult with us.
Book your Virtual Counseling session.
Ritual #10: Eat to heal & nourish
Food is the core of Ayurvedic practice. Our digestion is the primary mode of purifying our body and absorbing nutrients. We need to help our digestion with good foods and healthy eating habits.
In Ayurveda, opposites balance. Start by understanding your dosha (you can take our quiz link in bio) and adjusting your diet to balance. The second step is to work with a counselor to create a customized plan that works for you. And know that you don’t need trendy diets or to make huge, stressful changes. Small shifts are the secret.
Some simple eating guidelines for this (Vata) season:
- Eat what’s in season (e.g., grounding root vegetables)
- Avoid raw foods and cook stews and soups to enable digestion
- Use warming spices such as cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger in your teas and foods
- Eat your biggest meal in the middle of the day when your digestive fire is most efficient
- Avoid sugar, processed foods, and alcohol – these are drying, depleting, and throw off your microbiome
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When we touch Marma points we stimulate the body’s biochemistry to produce exactly what the body needs