After a busy week, why not treat yourself like a flower in need of some care and pampering?In the healing tradition of Ayurveda, we’ve have created a rejuvenating summer routine that you can do at home on a weekend — one that consists of such indulgent pleasures as soothing masks, herbal baths, calming yoga poses, and seasonal meals. Come Monday morning, no matter what, you’ll emerge feeling refreshed, collected, and looking your best.
Greet the day with a gentle yoga routine. Poses such as Bow Pose, Downward Dog, and spinal twists help balance pitta.
For the first meal on each of these two days, eat a large bowl of fruit salad with a tall glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. This meal will help your body get rid of accumulated toxins. If you find orange juice too acidic, you may substitute pitta herbal tea (available at Indian grocery stores) or any other fresh fruit juice of the season. You may also prepare a blended fruit smoothie in place of the fruit salad. In a blender, combine a large banana with 1/2 cup of your choice of seasonal fresh fruits and 1/2 cup of water to thin it out.
Spend an hour or two luxuriating in the pitta-balancing spa treatments. On Saturday, you’ll focus on your skin and body; on Sunday, you’ll treat the hair, hands, and feet.
Spend the late part of the morning as you like — reading an interesting book, listening to music, writing in your journal, gardening, painting. The choices are endless. It is important, though, to spend time unwinding and doing what you want rather than what you think you should do.
After your morning yoga and spa therapies, enjoy a large raw salad made with fresh seasonal green vegetables such as cucumber, celery, and sprouts. Choose pitta-balancing herbs and spices like cilantro and basil to add flavor. Eat your lunch slowly and mindfully, focusing on the flavors and textures of the ingredients. To unlock your mind, reflect on the view from your window, or even the sight of indoor plants and flowers, while you eat.
- treat yourself to some rest
Your retreat will be enhanced by a brisk walk, preferably in the open air so you can breathe fresh oxygen directly into your lungs. Stay conscious of good posture, and warm up by starting out at a slow pace then building to a brisk pace. Keep your chest out, swing your arms wide, and breathe through your mouth. Walk for 20 to 30 minutes. If you prefer, swimming is also a good exercise for balancing pitta.
Digestive Meditation and Care
This is an ideal time to tune in to and become familiar with your digestive system. Place your hands first on your stomach and become aware of any slight movements, feelings, or sounds. Do the same with your small intestines in your midriff area and then with the area under your navel. Mentally prepare for your next meal by noticing whether you are hungry or not. Resolve to eat only as much as you need to fill three-quarters of your stomach (this typically translates to about as much food as will fit into both your cupped hands). Using a little bit of oil, massage your stomach in round circles, moving clockwise. This will help you digest the last meal and prepare your body for the next.
Dinner during the retreat should consist of steamed vegetables. As with lunch, use fresh, green seasonal vegetables — the greener the better. For extra flavor, add fresh herbs such as rosemary, basil, parsley, and sage, or pine nuts, sesame seeds, or pumpkin seeds. As with lunch, eat slowly and mindfully, which will allow for complete digestion. An hour or so after dinner, enjoy an herbal tea.
Bath and Bedtime
Bath and Bedtime
Run a bath prepared with ingredients to balance pitta — rose, neem, jasmine, basil. You may use fresh or dried leaves and herbs; bundle a handful of ingredients in a piece of muslin cloth to make a tea bag for your tub. Or, if you prefer, add a few drops of essential oils directly to the bathwater. If you like, use candles, fresh flowers, and music to aid relaxation. As you soak in the bath, close your eyes and breathe deeply, releasing tension with each exhalation. Keep yourself warm after the bath and go to bed, relaxed and at peace.Rest is important to calm the mind and allow the physical body to deal with fatigue. After eating, take some quiet time to listen to music, read, or take a short nap for half an hour to an hour if you are sleepy. If you are tired but cannot fall asleep, then simply rest your mind and body by lying down and emptying your mind of thoughts.
One of the ultimate Zen like experiences is waking-up from a great slumber refreshed and energized. Your mind and body are harmoniously one, both alert and focused. Having a refreshed mind and body are two keys to a natural and Zen lifestyle. Waking up in the morning should not be a loud and abrupt awakening, but rather it should be a peaceful positive experience. The right natural alarm clock can transition your deep and tranquil sleep into a serene start to consciousness. Imagine a long-resonating Tibetan bell-like chime waking you up to a beautiful morning experience.
The right alarm clock can be the most beneficial investment for you. With our Now & Zen natural alarm clock you are awakened more gradually and thus more naturally. Now & Zen is focused on creating a naturalistic lifestyle, and our clocks are an example of our philosophy.
adapted from Body + Soul, June 2005
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