I always speak about creating your own playlist of rituals from my book Prajna, seeing what works for you – which is why I instantly loved the way Nidhi spoke about treating Ayurveda like an a la carte menu that you can pick and choose from.
Nidhi has a wealth of knowledge and our conversation was truly insightful. She is a third generation Ayurvedic specialist, healer and consultant, following in the footsteps of her grandfather; but she also formally studied Ayurveda at Shubham Ayurveda, as well as Naturopathy at the Global Collage of Natural Medicine, and had since used her knowledge to help others move towards a happier, better and fuller life.
Find Nidhi @my_ayurvedic_life and her website https://nidhipandya.com/
It’s early there right now – 5am – and you wake up early everyday! So let’s start with the circadian rhythm and why Ayurveda focuses on this?
Understanding the power of the circadian rhythm is the key to your health. Waking up early and sleeping early is a bit like free health – you’re going with the tide rather than against it. Our hormones, enzymes and neural transmitters all function in line with the cycle of the sun. It’s a real gamechanger!
According to Ayurveda, the human body is a replica of the universe. First thing in the morning, the earth is wet and soggy, and our body is just like that; we tend to be congested or have stiff joints in the morning. In the afternoon, however, the sun comes outs, and this is exactly when our digestive enzymes are their hottest. When you skip lunch, you get hungry because the heat in your body is so high. So this is when you should have your biggest meal (more on this below).
How does one go about incorporating Ayurveda into their everyday lives?
Ayurveda is about principles and prescribed practices are all designed with these principles in mind. I recommend living by the principles, then choosing practices.
For example, when balanced, your body should be warm and moist; sometimes, though, this goes off-balance and we become cold and dry or even hot and oily. Our body and mind change throughout our lives and we always need to focus of bringing our body back to a balanced environment- one that is warm and moist.
When you recognise what you need to alter, pick one practice at a time to incorporate, and only when that becomes a natural habit, you can start thinking about incorporating something else. It doesn’t need to be complicated; you can simply refrain from drinking cold water or add spices to your water or food, that support digestion.
How has this time of isolation been for you?
We have a choice, we can either view it as a prison or a monastery. If we view it as the latter, we can slow down, disconnect from the world and learn about ourselves. And we also need to move away from this feeling of guilt.
What Ayurvedic practices do you recommend for everyone – as a starting point?
These are all real gamechangers – and very simple:
Nasya nostril drops can be used first thing in the morning. Simply lay on your bed and put one drop into each nostril – great for opening up the sinuses and accessing the part of the brain that nourishes the whole body.
Tongue scraping this not only helps get rid of toxins from your mouth, but also stimulates the nerve endings on your tongue, helping to awaken the digestive system
Alternate nostril breathing is great for balancing energy in the body and resetting your nervous system. It balances your left and right brain, the hot and the cold, the masculine and feminine and the dry and moist in the body. It’s a simple practice that everyone can do. Try to keep one finger in between your eyebrows while you do this practice to stimulate the third eye energy point. Nasya also helps with this as it will help keep both nostrils clear and not congested.
Meals – Breakfast should be warm and you should avoid eating fruits in the morning to help with allergies. Lunch should be your heaviest meal as digestion is at its best here. And finally, dinner should be a light meal.
Make sure your food is warm and moist – therefore try to include good spices and fats in every single cooked meal.
Drink warm, herbal teas throughout the day – fill a flask in the morning and sip on that throughout the day. This helps with hydration and digestion.
Don’t shower right after eating – shower before you eat as this kindles your digestive fire. If you shower after dinner, your body suddenly realises that it needs to adjust to the temperature rather than put energy into digesting the meal.