We all have at some point of time made resolutions about changes we would like to implement in the new year. Personally, I have benefitted more from small consistent changes rather than big temporary ones as far as my health goes. Some of the changes I made in my diet and lifestyle have not only helped me physically but emotionally and spiritually as well. They have gone a long way in making me a better individual and health coach. So here’s my bag of goodies for you for your 2017!
Sometimes we try to do everything at once, get overwhelmed by the process and drop it all. Instead of trying it all at once pick one practice from this bag of goodies and implement it for a month. Then move on to the next one the following month, while still incorporating the previous months practices.
Most importantly enjoy your new year and don’t criticize or judge yourself!
1. Conscious Breathing
“A healthy mind has an easy breath”. When stressed and busy most people take shallow breaths depriving their body of the much needed oxygen. By taking deep belly breaths you allow your body to relax and mind to focus.
2. Hydrating warm liquids
Nothing else helps hydrate your body as much as water. Warm water works better on digestion than cold. I sip on warm teas all day. One of my favorite is with cumin, coriander and fennel seeds.
3. Mindful Eating
Giving your meals full attention helps improve digestion and nutrient absorption. Notice the colours, textures, flavours of your food and chew it thoroughly. Try to eat in a quiet place away from gadgets and television when possible.
4. Tongue Scraping
Tongue scraping is an important immune boosting ritual. A tongue scraper (available in most health food stores) is a thin u shaped piece of stainless steel with blunt edges used to remove gunk from the surface of your tongue. It helps with cravings and bad breath and improves your ability to enjoy the taste of food.
5. Oil Pulling
Oil Pulling is an ancient ayurvedic practice that helps clean bacteria out of the mouth and between the teeth, bacteria that can otherwise enter the bloodstream. Several studies have shown that oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause serious health problems particularly cardiovascular diseases. Oil pulling is a natural, no chemical way to reduce these bacteria. It is best practiced first thing in the morning. Take about 15 ml of sesame oil or warm coconut oil and swish it in your mouth for 10 -20 minutes. Begin with maybe even 5 minutes. Then spit that oil into a trash bin. It should be white and foamy which indicates oil pulling is working fine. Gargle with warm water and follow up with your regular dental routine of brushing, flossing etc. You don’t even have to take out time separately for this activity. I typically do oil pulling in the shower or while preparing my kids lunch in the morning !
This morning and evening ritual has made a big difference in how I feel about my day. Begin each day in a positive way checking in with yourself and expressing gratitude. Write two or three goals/intentions for that day. Some of my mornings are rushed and I land up writing just one but consider that an accomplishment too. In the evening, feel complete with reflecting on how your day went. What worked and what didn’t ? Remember to be loving to yourself and your efforts. There is no right or wrong.
7. Meditation or Self Reflection
In our fast paced lives we neglect looking after our soul. One way to rejuvenate yourself is to practice meditation every day. I like to practice Transcendental Meditation as I have learnt it and feel it is the best. But any meditation practice can be nourishing to the soul.
8. Get Moving
There can be nothing more beneficial than regular movement of the body. I like walking and yoga. Choose what fits your lifestyle and body the most. Try to stick to your choice of exercise. Your hormones will be balance and you will look and feel wonderful!
9. Focus on your digestion
According to Ayurveda if you have a strong agni (digestive fire) than you are less susceptible to a lot of diseases. I keep my digestion on track by sipping on coriander, cumin, fennel tea during my day and psyllium husk in the night as needed. One of the ways to kindle your digestive fire is to have a slice of fresh ginger with a sprinkle of sea salt and squeezing some lime just before your meal.
10. Tackle health concerns as they come up
It is important not to disregard skin eruptions, aches, pains, stiffness, inflammations, muscle weakness, recurrent digestive upsets and so forth until they worsen. Practice self care and meet with your acupuncturist, health coach, massage therapist or health care provider. It is a lot easier to practice certain wellness rituals than manage a full blown illness.
11. Follow the natural rhythms of nature
Given a chance your body will give you cues and guide you to greater health and well being. Wake up early and go to bed by 10 pm. Eat seasonal local produce. Eat your largest meal at lunchtime as much as possible. Don’t eat a heavy meal for dinner. Allow your body to adapt to a daily schedule. Listen to your body’s intelligence and do not be carried away by diet and health fads
12. Love yourself
Set moderate, short term goals. Do your best and be mindful. Keep the long-term goals in view and believe that you will reach them as you steadily take those proper consistent steps. Importantly, love yourself and make yourself happy. Its only when you are happy can you make everyone else around you happy !
Happy New Year !