From a distance, drinking out of an insulated bottle seems far too insignificant a factor to cause menopausal symptoms. But cold beverages restrict and weaken agni, digestive fire. Over a few years of using this bottle daily, the ice cold water had reduced her ability to digest food and life experiences. This created dosha imbalance and her health issues.
The expansive power of simplicity
When life is complicated, it becomes difficult to manage. Then comes a sense of overwhelm and exhaustion, followed by confusion about what direction one should really take. There is a different way to live. Ayurveda offers us the art and science to guide us.
The path to healing is a simple one. By scaling back your activity to what is most important, your experience of life will greatly expand. This is where the Ayurvedic concept of dinacharya, or daily routine, is so helpful. By aligning your day to the rhythms of nature (not the rhythms of your job or to-do lists), you can live with greater connection to yourself, the seasons and the world around you.
We have a full post on the life-changing practice of dinacharya, but here is a short overview:
- Wake and go to bed at regular times. For the most energy, wake before 6:00 a.m. (or sunrise) and go to sleep before 10:00 p.m.
- Enjoy three peaceful meals a day at regular times. Eat moderately -- not too much and not too little.
- Carve out designated times each day for activities that contribute to your self-awareness and your livelihood. Your Yoga practices don’t need to be several hours long. Meditate for 10 minutes in the morning, then do 10 to 15 minutes of asana. You will feel better, enjoy more creativity and have a more positive attitude about whatever comes next.
Sticking to a simple daily routine ensures that your priorities don’t get pushed aside by the busy pace of life. It takes the guesswork out of the day and helps you focus on what is most important.
The role of sattva, rajas and tamas
Too much rajas leads to tamas, or inertia and darkness. When rajas is prominent, it looks like running from one activity to the next, focusing on the “next big thing,” over exercising, eating for entertainment or spending a lot of time in stimulating activities and environments. As you expend your energy on activities that serve your ego, you become exhausted, mentally fatigued and ill. At any point in time, all you need to do is turn around and point yourself in the direction of sattva, the light.
When you move away from a life that is defined by what you accomplish and toward one that is defined by how you grow, you start to see that living simply and being present in each moment is far more fulfilling than reaching goals. Slow down and allow your true nature to open up.
Less is more
Strip away complication and make room for sattva. This can come by reducing your belongings to what you truly need, removing unnecessary activities from your day (and, if you have children, simplifying their schedules) or making the commitment to eat freshly cooked food at home more often than you eat in restaurants. It’s not just learning to say “no”; it’s learning to say “yes” to the right things.
This doesn’t have to happen overnight. Make the decision that tomorrow will be simpler than yesterday. Start with a simple, delicious breakfast of steamed bananas. Untangle a complicated Yoga asana practice and focus on a few powerful poses, such as utkatasana, chair pose. Pause in the middle of your day to take three slow, conscious, deep breaths to bring you back to yourself. And find a few quiet moments in the evening to reflect on your day. Though you are doing less, a simple life will bring more rewards than you could ever imagine.