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The 4 pillars of Health

Let’s go on a journey together, to explore the simplicity and wisdom of traditional Ayurvedic teachings ❤️.

But let’s start with this: what is Health ?

According to Ayurveda, someone is considered healthy when they experience grounding, flow and ease, both within their bodies and in their relationship with themselves and others.

The 4 pillars are 4 main areas to address when looking to improve health (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual). They form the foundation, the basis of our health, and help us consider the big picture, with all its parts forming a whole.

The 1st pillar is Nutrition, or what constitutes our diet: food, beverages, herbs, how and when we eat.

To support good digestion:

  • eat warm meals

  • don’t drink water with food

  • have a filling, nourishing lunch around 12, and a light dinner around 6 or 7 pm

  • don’t eat while emotionally upset

  • sit to eat

  • don’t multitask while eating

  • avoid constant snacking

In addition to these simple, effective recommendations, it’s important to assess what your current imbalances are (with your own study or by working with a practitioner) and to eat foods that are balancing for your personal, current constitution, and to avoid foods that trigger imbalances.

The 2nd pillar is Sleep.

Sleep is our # 1 ally when it comes to health, because a lot of detoxification, rejuvenating and healing processes (physical, mental, emotional) happen at night. When we don’t access restful sleep, our body doesn’t have the tools and ressources it needs to function well.

To support restful, rejuvenating sleep:

  • eat dinner early (around 6pm), so your meal is mostly digested by the time you go to bed

  • go to bed around 10pm, so you don’t get into the 2nd wind of the evening

  • got to bed and wake up at consistent times throughout the week

  • avoid stimulating physical and mental activities late in the day

  • avoid stimulating substances at night (caffeine, sugar, spicy food)

  • plan for a calming, soothing activity in the evening

  • leave screens out of the bedroom

  • address stress and anxiety

  • address causes of insomnia with an alternative or allopathic practitioner

  • use appropriate herbal remedies (notice this is last, and not a quick fix, rather a supplement after the other steps have been implemented)

The 3nd pillar is paying attention to our lifestyle and practices.

Our habits, our choices, our environment, they all have a major impact on our physical and mental health. Ayurveda gives us practical tools to navigate how to organize our days, what and who to prioritize for our personal, individual needs. Small little bits at a time, it all adds up to create a life.

Lifestyle tips and tricks:

  • follow the Ayurvedic clock

  • include Ayurvedic self care practices (I have a full youtube video on this one !)

  • embrace routine and rituals

  • get involved in spiritual practices that inspire for you

  • limit or avoid overextending yourself physically and mentally

  • surround yourself with folks who encourage your growth

  • build discernment and use it to make choices

  • address your doshic imbalances

The 4th pillar is stress and energy management.

Our nervous system deserves and needs deep care, as it impacts a lot of other physical systems in the body (think digestion for example) and our mental health. I know most of us are looking for the magic pill or practice to address stress, but the truth is that there isn’t. Unless we remove the causes of chronic stress, all we’re doing is putting a bandaid on a fresh wound that keeps being re-activated.

That being said, pranayama, specific yoga sequences and self care practices using oil are very soothing for the nervous system and can hold us as we make different decisions.

Tips to address stress and energy management:

  • End or drastically limit situations that create excessive chronic stress

  • Consider what you actually have physical and mental energy for

  • Use specific pranayama and yoga asana to regulate the nervous system (Bhramari, Nadi Sodhana/ Yoga Nidra, Restorative Yoga, Forward Folds)

  • Plan a lunch break, literally as a break of the schedule of your day

  • Use abhyanga and nasya as nervous system support practices

  • Develop self awareness on your body’s cues to communicate emotions to you

  • Balance quiet, alone time with social time and vice versa

  • Limit frequent excessive sensory stimulation

  • Build discernment and use it to make choices

  • Use appropriate herbal remedies (notice this is last, and not a quick fix, rather a supplement after the other steps have been implemented)

What are your thoughts on this ?

Does it feel easy or hard ?


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