Reprinted from Palm Beach Woman Magazine
The New Path to Conscious, Optimal Health
With the New Year in full swing, many people are working tirelessly to stay on track with their weight loss goals. Running. Training. Punching. Fasting. Cleansing. Starving their way to achieve the elusive “hot body” we’re seeing shared all over Instagram.
In 2012, weight-loss was a $20 billion industry with 85 million dieters being women, according to an article on ABC News. Sadly, I’m not surprised by that statistic because I was one of these women.
In 2009, when I was most fit and active, I worked out six days a week
— three of those days in spin class. I had a personal trainer,
carb-cycled, and followed a very strict nutritional regimen from
my trainer. I was a beast in the gym.
Many friends took notice of my shrinking waistline.
“You look so young, Shivani. Wow, you look hot.”
I weighed 105 pounds on a five-foot frame. I admit I enjoyed the
compliments because it meant my hard work had paid off.
Months later, as I was running around the house, I slipped and fell down right into the marble floor—hitting the side of my face on the ground. It all happened so fast. My husband helped me examine the injuries and established I had severe bruising and contusion to the orbital area of my face. Worried that I had suffered an orbital fracture—or even worse an ocular globe rupture—he rushed me to the ER. The CT scan of my head showed no fractures and only severe hematoma to the tissues around my eye.
My injury left me in a state of confusion. If I was supposedly healthy, why did I fall?
I overdid myself.
Obsessed with looking like a magazine cover
In my aspiration to look like the airbrushed ideal we see on magazine covers, I deprived my body of the nutrients it needed just so I could shed weight fast. I looked amazing on the outside, but lacked vitality on the inside.
Why are we obsessed about our weight?
Why don’t we do the work inside first?
What’s driving us to take shortcuts to our diets and lifestyles?
We live in a hyperconnected world where everything is rapidly moving. The way we
consume, the way we live, the way we work… it’s all about instant gratification for us in this day and age. What we own, how we look, who we know…these measurements define our worth and rank in society.
Perfection and unrealistic ideals is the very thing that causes unnecessary stress in our modern world. Living a high-paced lifestyle and keeping up with the Joneses is stress-inducing. Studies have shown that stress causes inflammation in the body. Inflammation causes disease.
Science Magazine, in 2013, published an article showing that age-related chronic diseases such as metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and neurodegenerative disease have an inflammatory component. The saying “stress kills” is a very real thing.
Slow down and start from the inside out
Injuring myself is a lesson I’ve learned and one I don’t want to repeat. That’s why I’ve immersed myself in the Ayurvedic system of healing. Ayurveda, a sister science to yoga, is an ancient and all-encompassing system of medicine that utilizes a number of techniques to help you achieve optimal health.
Ayurveda teaches that health starts from the inside, and radiates outward. If you want to look like a transcendent, youthful and glowing beauty—you’ve got to start from within. The skin is the most external part of the body, but there are so many ways it can tell you if you’re healthy: sun damage, wrinkles, dry or shiny hair, healthy nails, glowing or dull skin, brightness of the eyes, gait, and total energy.
There are so many factors attacking our bodies daily, we need to fortify our bodies to stay strong, supple, healthy, and balanced to stave off any negative factors impacting our organs and systems. Once we get a handle on disease, we can resolve how we feel on the inside to match the outside. The choice to slow down your pace, your thoughts, your life, is a very deliberate one; and, the most important decision you can make.
Modern Ayurveda for our improving our mind, body, and energy
Modern Ayurveda is a simple and easy way to implement healthy conscious living to your daily routine. Taking care of your body, starting from the inside, in a ritualistic holistic way can help you stay young, healthy, and vibrant.
Since eating a whole food diet is not always 100 percent possible, following morning lifestyle rituals, annual natural detoxes, and taking daily herbs and supplements can help keep our body, mind, and spirit aligned and in balance. For example, high quality turmeric is used as an anti-cancer and inflammation reducer. Reducing your environmental toxins is also important.
Be warned, there are no “quick fixes” as Ayurveda is a way of life rather than a short term intervention. There are also not many “once size fits all” solutions. It takes time to discover the art of living in harmony with nature.
If you feel out of balance with your health, first find out what your dosha is—your natural constitution. Then, follow the Modern Ayurveda Morning Rituals to create a healthy routine in your diet and lifestyle based on the dosha.
Finally, add Ayurvedic herbal supplements, home remedies, or mindfulness habits to your day. An Ayurvedic Practitioner can help you assess your dosha and consult you with a personalized Ayurvedic regimen that suits your health and lifestyle goals.
Ten daily modern Ayurveda rituals to prevent disease
Here are 10 daily Modern Ayurveda steps you can take every morning to prevent disease with Ayurveda:
- Use a tongue cleaner twice daily to reduce aam (toxins) in the body
- Do pranayama, meditation, or yoga every day to balance the body, mind, and spirit
- Add a mindfulness ritual daily to cue yourself to calm and re-center yourself: tea time, grateful journal, grateful jar, journal about your feelings
- Take excellent supplements or herbs that support your lifestyle
- Avoid frozen food, leftovers, using the microwave – eat fresh as much as possible
- Eat according to your dosha, bring your dosha back into balance
- Use ghee, butter, and healthy fats in your diet
- Dry brush, abhyanga massage (self-body massage), and oil massage to the head can be very beneficial
- Use natural skincare, beauty care, and cleaning products as much as possible
- Self Care is key. Add in moments for yourself every day and every week to take care of yourself, indulge yourself, increasing your energy, and vitality, so you can share the most joyous, vibrant, light, happy version of yourself with the world.
Shivani Gupta, PhD ABD, in Ayurvedic Studies is an author, speaker, Ayurvedic Healer and Practitioner, and serial entrepreneur. Shivani has pioneered a clothing line using organic cotton before it was trendy, and launched an eco-lifestyle blog supported by Olympic Athletes, celebrities, and activists. Shivani has been featured in Vanity Fair, Psychology Today, American Baby, USA Today, and Entrepreneur Magazine. In 2015, Shivani launched an Ayurvedic Nutraceutical company called Fusionary Formulas that is helping people reduce their inflammation, lose weight naturally, and making them healthy. Her upcoming book The Conscious Pregnancy: A Spiritual and Practical Approach to Creating a Zen Baby focuses On helping new and existing moms to live a zen life, while raising zen children. To learn more, visit shivanigupta.com. Share your forays with Ayurveda using: #ModernAyurveda