ayurveda + me

Ayurveda is hands down the coolest thing I've learned about in my yoga teacher training this past year, and also the most life changing. Ayurveda is a sister science to yoga, literally translated as "life science/knowledge." It is a system or method for creating balance in mind + body through diet, mental patterns, physical activity, and sleep.

There are 3 doshas that Ayurveda assesses: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. A dosha is basically a body type, but it can also reflect personality traits and even the time of day + seasons of the year. There are quizzes you can take that help determine your dosha or combination of doshas.

I have a Kapha (muscular, slow digestion, grounded) body + tend to have a Vata (creative, flighty, sensitive) mind. I have a hard time waking up in the morning, tend to dislike intense phyical activity, and love to create, plan, + dream.

For my combination of doshas it's important for me to wake up by 5:30 AM. I hate this. Every single morning I struggle to get out of my nice warm bed and greet the day, BUT my day always goes better and my body feels great when I am up before 6 AM. Always. I should also be in bed before 10 PM. This one, however, is not nearly as hard for me follow :)

As far as diet goes, I should eat only 3 meals a day. Breakfast at 7, lunch at noon, and dinner at 5 ish. Since my digestion tends to be slow, I usually drink ginger tea as soon as I wake up, and do some sun salutations + mild backbends to warm up my body.

My physical activity varies from day to day, but I really try to do intense aerobic exercise like running in the morning, and a yoga practice with long, sustained poses in the evening. If I have too much activity in the late evening, it's impossible for me to unwind and for my brain to shut off, and I spend the entire night planning wonderful vacations, next week's grocery list, or what to get my sister in law for Christmas 2015. Not very helpful, right? Just by making the simple switch to running in the morning/yoga at night, I have stopped the crazy night thoughts, and my sleeping has improved.

Are you wondering why I'm sharing so much Ayurvedic goodness with you today? Well, for the month of August, I'm trying my best to live a balanced life by following the Ayurvedic practices specific to me + my body type; waking up early, eating healing foods...the whole bit. The first week went well; my body felt light, I had more energy, and my mind was clear. Here's to the rest of the month!

Image from here. If (for some reason) you are feeling up to reading more about Ayurveda, Whole Living had an excellent article in their june 2010 issue, Discover Your Dosha: Ancient Ayurveda Meets Modern Science. Also, as part of my training, I'll be teaching free ayurvedic + yoga workshops in October in the Bountiful area. If you are interested, you can contact me at rachelswanyoga {at} gmail {dot} com, and I can email you updates and more info.


Emily said...

1) I want a Dosha.
2) I want to do this. I also want to do teacher training, but all in due time right?
3) I'm trying to convince myself that your life isn't entirely: early morning tea accompanied by sun salutations, running, then waking up precious little ones who are clean, and not sticky, and do not cry or whine and you fill your days with loving and learning and beauty.

It's too dreamy. At least, for my world that is only a dream! xo mama, keep me updated because I'm interested. I'll probably be reading your article at lunch. And speaking of, any yogi reading recommendations? I have Jivamukti, Yoga Sutra, The Heart of Yoga bookmarked to-read. But need guidance where to start, most enjoyable, etc...

Rachel Swan said...

HA! My life is definitely full these days, packed to the gills with sticky + whiny kids and interrupted sleep. We have plenty of beautiful, happy moments too, I guess we just have a lot of everything right now.

Are you ready for some book recommendations?

Eastern Body, Western Mind
by Anodea Judith

Bhagavad Gita
the Stephen Mitchell translation

The Inner Tradition of Yoga
by Micheal Stone ( I think that's his name...)

These are all really great books, though Inner Tradition is incredibly intense, just to warn you now.

I'm so glad you enjoyed the post, I sometimes wonder if I'm the only one who finds this stuff interesting...

BERRETTS said...

You're not the only one. I've spent the morning (well part of it, I had a final) going through to find my dosha. Now I'm doing it again because I realized I wasn't accurate.
I'm grateful I live in a very yoga-friendly area because this stuff is so accessible here (we actually have a city-wide holistic fair).

Rachel Swan said...

The holistic fair sounds super cool, I wonder if SLC has something similar?

On another note, I drove past your house on Saturday night (heading home from the Erin Auger + Mark Boothe wedding). I thought about playing with bunnies, swinging in your backyard, and your mom's laugh. Summer in Salem was/is the best.

On an entirely unrelated note, do either of you find it interesting that so many of our high school classmates married each other? I've been meaning to have this conversation with someone for YEARS, so please weigh in.

Rachel Swan said...

p.s. I want an invite to your blog.


thanks, love.

Emily said...

Ah hahahaha! I found out about the Mark and Erin wedding maybe 3 weeks ago, which definitely generated a puzzled look on my face... I think its crazy. I actually think it's kind of incestuous but maybe that's just me. My little heart skips a bit I see others leave the cesspool.

Also THANK YOU for the book list! I'm excited to check them out. Any recommendation where to start?

Emily said...

I haven't heard of such a fair in salt lake city. But there is a hippie sort of flea market on sundays on the west side. You can buy lots of crystals and what not but it's interesting... I'll get the info from my friend Candice and let u know. It's worth checking out at least once.

Rachel Swan said...

I would start with a subscription to Yoga Journal, actually. I anxiously await mine every month, and it's packed with great sequences + interesting articles.

As for the books, I would start with the Heart of Yoga and Eastern Body, Western Mind- they are both really great reads.

I'm so happy I'm not the only one baffled by the intermarriage of our high school peers! Cesspool?!? You're hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rachel...Jessica here...drill team SFHS.. yeah. Found you from Em's blog. I love your thoughts on Yoga and Ayurveda. Its so true that you really need to find what diet/ exercise works with your own body. I am the same way: I have to wake up at 5:30 for running, and then I love to do yoga in the evenings. I would be interested in your free classes! I live in SLC so Bountiful is not too far away. jessicagrace {at}hotmail {dot}com

BERRETTS said...

The interschool marriages have been really odd for me. I don't say much about it because people tend to think I'm being snobby about those who choose to stay around SF. I don't intend to be snobby, but having left and not being able to see the relationships develop, it is super weird that some people get married.
I'm with Emily on the incest. There are a few that make me shift in my seat, though I've never known why. I think she gave an answer.
I just invited you to my blog.
Oh, and just because they are the most incredible men in the world and their blog is interesting, if you get a chance check out paulstravelblog.com. The pictures are so stunning.
Paul worked with Trevor and Derek was our family photog (such amazing shots, like the top one on our blog) and my close friend.

Lauren said...

You should ABSOLUTELY stop doing long, sustained yoga poses to clear your mind. I will be anxiously awaiting my totally awesome Christmas gift in the year 2015. I can't wait!! :)