As crucial as diet is to the Ayurvedic lifestyle, there are plenty of other things to keep in mind to get the absolute best out of your Cleanse + Reset. Read on to find out how to feel balanced in your everyday!
YOUR AGNI or digestive fire
In Ayurveda, having good digestion or a lively Agni (meaning "fire" in Sanskrit, the language of Ayurveda) is one of the most important pillars of maintaining good health. You want your body to be able to properly digest and extract the most nutritious aspects from your food, which is why you’ll hear the Vaidyas (Ayurvedic doctors) insist that it’s more important to have good digestion and a bad diet than bad digestion and a good diet. Here are some helpful eating habits to start incorporating into your lifestyle:
Eat seasonally: this doesn’t just mean consuming the foods in season where you live, but respecting that the season affects your mind and body too. Winter time, in Ayurveda, is said to be a Kapha time of year, corresponding to the Dosha or energy that is heavy, cool, moist and slow. To offset this energy and prepare your body to enter spring, the season of renewal, eat hot, cooked meals with plenty of warming spices such as cumin, cinnamon, turmeric and black pepper to pep it up.
Cooked food is much easier to digest, and freshly cooked rather than reheated food has much more Prana (life force energy), so stay away from the microwave and use thermoses to keep your food hot instead!
We all know that proper nutrition is important, but how you eat and when you eat is equally important to keep your Agni strong. Find out more about the secrets to a lively digestive fire in East by West.
REST AND UNWIND
Take this time out to pamper yourself. Remember that this is about supporting your mind-body so it can do its thing — and plenty of rest and quality sleep is one of the most powerful players in keeping us not only in good health, but tip-top and shiny. Try the following lifestyle tips during your 3-day reset. If this is the first time you are doing this kind of thing, it’s always best to start on a weekend with no social or work commitments so that you can approach it all in a relaxed and fun way. Stress will hamper the effects of the Cleanse + Reset, so yawn, stretch, smile and give yourself permission to relax if you feel the need to busy yourself or any feelings of guilt surface about taking time out for you.
Sip hot water throughout the day to aid the cleanse (fill a flask rather than boiling the kettle every 20 minutes) and enjoy the Herbal Detox Tea mid-morning, mid-afternoon and before bed, or whenever you feel digestive discomfort.
Opt for a digital detox, or minimise screen time as much as possible especially before bed. Avoid blue light after sunset: download Flux onto your laptop or computer and schedule the Night Shift mode on your mobile to sync with your local sunset (currently 6pm UK time).
Stick to low-level, warm-toned lighting to naturally trigger relaxation at the end of the day and help you sleep better.
Take a walk in nature — to your local park or a day trip somewhere (remembering to pack your thermoses of food and hot tea, or picking up hot water at a café). Don’t do anything too strenuous — you’re looking to stroll rather than hike.
If you have a meditation practice, then be sure to do this twice daily. If you’d like to learn, check out Headspace or do a 30-minute Ayurvedic yoga nidra (guided meditation from the Bihar school of yoga).
Nothing calms frazzled nerves more than a massage. Turn your home into a spa: light a candle, play relaxing music, make a herbal tea, run a bath and give yourself a face or body massage using a nourishing oil blend. Warm it first by placing the bottle in a mug of hot water.
Listen to music, read a book, catch up with friends in a relaxed environment. Try not to overstimulate your senses or burden yourself with outside problems at this time.
Experiment with aromatherapy and fill your home with scents of nature. Lavender is a classic for relaxing or try a specific bedtime blend.
Do a restorative yoga class — find a local one or look online. This gives you enforced time out from social media, to reset your breathing and get you back into your body. Even if I’m not "feeling it" to begin with, I always float out in a better mood.
Sleep! Go to bed at 9.30pm. A good night’s sleep, during the optimal time to capture the body’s natural full regeneration mode, is the natural way to Cleanse + Reset. Wind down and give yourself a night off. You deserve it! Even if you can’t sleep, or don’t think you can, just being in bed sends the signals to your brain and body that all is done for the day and now is the best time for rest.
Winter naturally feels like a time to hibernate and enjoy the warmth and comfort of your home environment. Cleanse + Reset is the perfect opportunity to embrace a slower attitude to your daily routine, opting for relaxing starts to the day, minimal social commitments and enjoying stillness. Here are few ways you can encourage this even more:
Treat your skin to a warming and grounding Abhyanga massage. It increases circulation, stimulates organ function, helps your body detox and improves sleep too.
Feeling tired? Most likely, because when you relax and lose the distractions, the fatigue your body has been hiding will start coming out. Listen to your body and enjoy some rest but don’t be tempted to nap for more than 30 minutes if you know it is likely to upset your evening sleep pattern. As an alternative or in addition to a nap try a Yoga Nidra session — a guided meditation which will also gently guide you back round.
Enjoy a slow walk in nature. That doesn't mean hike, or get a sweat on or multitask by walking the dog AND listening to a podcast. Try being where you are, watch nature unfolding and doing its thing this winter. When you’re outside, wrap up in lots of layers — a wooly jumper, thick coat, scarf and hat will ensure you stay cosy.
Instead of snuggling down in front of Netflix, opt for a good old-fashioned book. I’m spoilt for choice in the book department thanks to a heap I got for Christmas. Avoid thrillers or anything that will upset your nervous system! For some of my favourites, take a look at my blog post round-up here.
Anybody who's been following me for a while will have already have seen me working on my posture with my friend Tony Riddle, a natural movement specialist (check out my desk health video with Tony herehere). Tony has just launched his Rewild Your Squat 6-week programme for January with Week One beginning with a “Rewilding Feet” 15-minute video programme perfect to tie in with the start of Cleanse + Reset. The first 100 of my followers to sign-up using the code JAZZ20 can get 20% off the cost of the programme too.
Hello to everyone coming to the end of their 3-day cleanse! Hope you managed to implement some of the Rest and Unwind tips including the relaxation yoga and the types of lighting you use throughout the day for overall better sleep and energy (I hope you are viewing this with a more orange rather than blue light screen if it's bedtime where you are!). Here, I want to share a balancing breathing technique called Anulom Vilom or "Alternate Nostril Breathing." It's simple (though you may be all fingers and thumbs at first) and incredibly relaxing. Great at any time of day, I love to use this to wind down quickly and easily. I've shared 4 videos on the technique — each progressively explaining a bit more. Don't linger too much over them, just see which immediately takes your fancy and go for it — no judgement or opinions, just gratitude for these wonderful tools. I've ended it with a video featuring Deepak Chopra and Tara Stiles discussing the power of yoga breathing techniques. Enjoy and good night, Jas xxx
I am not a nutritionist, dietician or medical professional. The information provided in this plan has been developed following personal research and is based on my own experience with nutrition, wellbeing and Ayurveda. As with any diet, exercise, supplementation or medication programme, before you start, you should consult a healthcare professional and in particular, if you have a health concern of any kind, it is recommended that you consult with your doctor or other medical professional.