Ayurvedic Self Care for Women
5 Ayurvedic Tips for Women: Daily Self Care
1. Find a daily routine that works for you most days. Ideally we awake by 6am and are making our way to bed by 10am. These times help us work with our own body rhythms and the cycles of nature. When we have a consistent routine, our entire being & particularly our nervous system can relax knowing that there is some sort of structure to our day. In the same way that babies & children like to have routines in their day, so do adults. Eating at similar times each days assists our digestive system to function better by preparing our bodies with naturally occurring digestive enzymes. Ayurveda suggests that generally breakfast be a light, yet nourishing meal; lunch be eaten around midday when the sun is at it’s highest and dinner is eaten as the sun goes down, at least 3 hours before sleep. If you do a lot of travel, there will still be ways you can create a regular rhythm within the irregularity of your routine, such as a practice you do every-time you get off the plane for example: a shower & body oiling, sitting quietly or a 10 minute meditation or a walk. As you develop daily rituals & routines, you will notice a sense of freedom within this nourishing container of time.
2. Honour your female cycle. When you are menstruating, take time to rest as much as possible during at least the first few days. If there is a way to say no to work during these few days, then even better. Excessive work means we are constantly doing, running to deadlines and often in our head rather than in our bodies, which can overstimulate the masculine part of ourselves. Instead, we want to activate the feminine part of us by practicing a more yin lifestyle. This can be done by creating a quiet space where you have minimal responsibilities. The essence of the feminine is to receive so find ways you can be receiving as much as possible including being fed & cared for by family & friends. Keep movement or exercise to a minimum, so that your body temperature does not overheat and can rest. (It is best to take 3 – 4 days off from your yoga practice while you are menstruating.) Allow yourself to simply be with yourself, your thoughts & feelings in a gentle & loving way. Other things you can try is eating simple, nourishing foods by avoiding spicy, fried or rich foods is recommended. Your ‘women’s time’ is a lovely time for being creative, reading and being as still as possible. In this way, you are creating your own custom made Red Tent.
3. Try oiling your body before your shower or bath (except during menstruation). Depending on your constitution, there are various Ayurvedic oils to apply to your skin. If you tend to have a colder body then using warmed-up black sesame oil will usually be best, and if you tend to run hot, then using a coconut based oil will cool your down and suit your constitution better. In general, oiling your body will nourish your muscles, bones, joints & tissues as well as supporting your nervous system. Also, oiling your head regularly is great for the brain and nourishing your central nervous system. For more specific advice, see an Ayurvedic doctor or book in for an Ayurvedic Lifestyle session.
4. Eating foods for your constitution is paramount for good health. For example, if you tend to have a cold, dry constitution then you would want to eat warm, cooked, moist foods, avoiding cold or dry foods. Alternatively, if you have a hot & oily constitution then you would want to avoid oily, deep-fried, bbq’ed or spicy foods, instead choosing foods that are raw, slow cooked or lightly spiced. For more information, try the Ayurveda Dosha quiz on the website or book in for an Ayurvedic consultation.
5. Practice listening to your body as much as you can during your day. Take time to stop, notice your breathing and what your body is saying to you… because it is talking to us all the time, if we are willing to take the time to fully listen. Are your feet aching after standing for 8 hours straight ? Do you have a headache after hours on the computer?
If you are exhausted, then don’t push yourself to the gym or next appointment, instead rest, sit quietly or meditate or try a restorative form of yoga or exercise.
Alternatively, If you have abundant energy levels or are pumped up on adrenaline, then you could chose to move your body through dynamic yoga, dance or exercise that helps to burn off your energy or stress, rather than trying to sit in meditation. Perhaps after you have exercised you feel more relaxed and able to sit still or rest.
When we create these quiet still moments in our day we are able to better connect with our intuitive self. As women, we are especially wired to pick up on our 6th sense, which can give us a feeling, thought or sense of knowing when something is ‘not right’ feels ‘off’ or when something feels ‘right’. By trusting our intuition, we can be guided to honour ourselves in each moment and make the most loving & powerful choices for us in each situation.