Balance is the goal of yoga and Ayurveda as well as the key to maintaining lasting changes in life.
1. Balance your body, mind and spirit through your breath. Set a timer for 10 minutes and practice the Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril) breathing exercise. Using your right hand, bend your pointer and middle fingers in and down toward your palm, keeping your ring finger and thumb extended. Your pinky finger can bend or stay straight whichever is easier for you. Nadi Shodhana, alternate nostril breathing is a great way to balance your prana (life force energy) with your breath. Close your right nostril gently with your right ring finger and inhale through your left nostril. Close your left nostril with your right thumb, open your right nostril, and exhale out the right. Keeping your left nostril closed, inhale through your right nostril, close your right nostril with your ring finger, and open your left nostril exhaling out the left side. This cycle is one round. Do 11 rounds as slowly as possible, allowing your inhale to be half as long as your exhale. Count your inhale (one-om, two-om, or or one-one-thousand…) and count your exhale, which will be twice as long as your in-breath. This rhythm is very relaxing for the nervous system, and counting keeps the mind present. Relax any tension out of your arm and shoulder, keep your face centered, your eyes closed, and your spine lengthening the entire time. When you are finished with your 11 rounds, keep your eyes closed and observe how you feel as you breathe normally until your timer alerts you that 10 minutes have passed.
2. Choose a yoga practice today that focuses on balance poses and use your breath and visual focus on a single point (drishti) to help you maintain stability, equanimity in grounding and expanding and equal effort left to right, front to back, down and up. Here’s a 30-Minute Samana Wellness Balanced Yoga Practice for you to try.
3. In Ayurveda, balanced meals consist of all 6 tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent, and astringent. Aim to incorporate a balance of all of these tastes into one of your meals today, and notice how you feel after eating a balanced meal. Examples of foods exemplifying the six tastes are listed here.
Sweet foods: rice, nuts, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, wheat, licorice root
Sour foods: fresh yogurt, lemons, tart apples, tomatoes
Salty foods: celery, sea vegetables, mineral salt
Pungent foods: fennel, radishes, ginger, hot peppers, spinach, arugula, mustard, garlic
Bitter foods: dark leafy greens (kale, collards, chard, broccoli rabe) and eggplant
Astringent foods: legumes, green bananas, okra, turmeric, pomegranates, cranberries, blackberries, persimmons, cilantro
Try this recipe for delicious Wild Rice Salad incorporating each of the six tastes.
4. Take 3-5 minutes to write your vision of a balanced day in your present life. Notice what would be added that is currently missing, and what parts of your norm that would be eliminated in your ideal balanced day.
5. Stay adequately balanced with hydration and regular bowel movements. If you are not eliminating at least once per day, please let me know in your check in. Drink plenty of water today. Somewhere between one and two liters, depending on your climate and activity level. One way to stay hydrated that you can try today is to drink some water every time you use the restroom, balancing fluids out with taking fluids in.
6. Download, print and complete the Samana Wellness Dosha Quiz. Sometimes you may find it difficult to choose one answer as certain aspects may or may not apply to you. When in doubt, select the choice that has the most characteristics like your own, or the one that best represents your tendencies for the majority of your life thus far.
7. Check in and share any aspects of today’s exploration that come to mind and the results of your dosha quiz.