“They say time changes things, but you really have to change them yourself.”
― Andy Warhol, Artist
Daylight savings is just around the corner. In this time of seasonal change, you may have noticed the days getting longer, the birds chorus commencing earlier, the curtains of dusk drawing later in the evening. We tend to spot these changes in the environment, but forget to observe the changes happening within our bodies.
Our current lifestyles interrupt the natural flow of time ... And this can lead to us wondering why we feel disconnected, low on energy or motivation.
The body’s innate clock is stimulated by light and dark, but with the prevalence of screens, artificial lighting and unusual working hours, we are tossed into an arhythmic portal, sometimes further altered by coffee and other stimulating foods. We lose touch with our body’s inherent wisdom. And this can lead to us wondering why we feel disconnected, low on energy or motivation. So how do we find our way to a sustainable, mindful experience of time?
Ayurveda is an ancient and revered system of health and healing that originated in India more than 5000 years ago (Sanskrit ‘Ayur’ - ‘Life, daily living / ‘Veda’ - ‘Knowing’). Its rich principles are deeply interwoven with the practice of yoga, and it embodies a holistic mind-body approach that empowers our capacity for self-healing.
In this system, we are intricately connected to the energy of the sun and moon, as well as the natural elements - earth, water, fire, air and ether, the aspect of space. All of these are within us, and the unique balance of these elements within each of us greatly influences our interaction with the world.
As we head towards warmer, sunnier days (this year it seems a lesson in patience!) the power of the sun increases, and with it, the element of fire. This begins to diminish the pull of the moon and the water element associated with it - the wet winter soil becomes dryer, the breeze less damp. The same shift happens in our bodies - you may start to sense a slow shedding of the dullness and sluggishness of cooler seasons, and notice a change your breathing, allergic reactions, or feel more hunger as your digestive fire begins to awaken.
By adapting the way we approach our daily habits, we can find more connection to ourselves, and the changing natural world...This conscientiousness is at the heart of Ayurveda - the Science of Life.
To start, simply be curious. Observe your habits by asking questions: When do feel tired each evening, and awaken each morning? What is your morning ritual and what purpose does each action serve? Perhaps imagine not having that mid-morning coffee - what emotions or sensations do you immediately respond with? What do you automatically turn to for comfort when stress arises, and where do you feel it in your body?
Notice. Allow. And write it down - for most of us there’s simply too much on the to-do list to remember everything!
Awareness and understanding of these rhythms, in our surroundings as well as within our mental and physiological faculties, can add a great deal of clarity and richness to our experience of life. This conscientiousness is at the heart of Ayurveda - the Science of Life. After all, these moments of true presence and attention are the seeds from which we grow the memories of our days, weeks, months, and years.
Over the coming weeks, we will explore some simple ways to incorporate a touch of Ayurveda into your everyday rituals - including ways to uplift your morning, indulge in the simplest experiences, and get a truly restful sleep each night.
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About the Author: Lucy Lawes is an advocate for mindful living.