Welcome back, everyone!
As you probably know, I’m a nutritional scientist as well as a plant-based enthusiast. So, maybe you’re asking yourself why I haven’t shared more information about nutrition, diets and all these health-related topics yet. Well, I’m planning to come up with a series of articles based on whole foods, a plant-based nutrition as well as a series on Ayurveda and a lot more juicy fruits of wisdom. However, before diving deeper into the field of nutrition and health, I feel the need to share with you the base of my personal lifestyle anchors. Very simple, but profoundly effective tools, which always help me to instantly jump right into my state of alignment. Nutrition is one of these parts and for sure an essential tool which has an intense effect on supporting you to become the best version of yourself. But there is definitely more than the food you eat.
On my own journey, I intuitively started to implement some routines and rituals which really helped me becomein tune with my body on a day to day basis. And I realized at some point – becoming attentive by some great masters and texts – that these personal habits and rituals go hand in hand with nature. Other parts of my life which do not make me feel my best are actually not in tune with these natural cycles. So, before getting deeper into my overall healthy lifestyle recommendations, let’s have a look atour inseparable connection to nature.
~ Nature around and within us ~
What Ayurveda already shows us as its basic wisdom is that we’re all part of nature. This might be no news for you; however, we’re mostly not living in harmony with these natural cycles. Following the rhythms the best way we can makes us thrive, not only physically, but also emotionally and spiritually.
We’re all made up of “natural material” and thus, we can relate our bodies to the elements that occur in nature. As food is one of the energies we’re putting into our body, there are even more elementary based forms of natural energy we’re thriving on. And these parts of nature are ALL some kinds of “nutrients” as we can call it. There we have the sun as our highest form of energy (light), which also keeps the greatest amount of life force within (prana). Scientifically proven, the sun is our first and foremost provider of vitamin D, which our body synthesizes when our skin is exposed to the sun. Moreover, we can say that oxygen (air), earth (foods from the ground) and water are some kind of nutrients. These are all elemental forms of “nutrition” which we have become so disconnected from.
When it comes to our body, for example, our elimination systems reflect so eloquently these elements of nature as well:
- Lungs (respiration) = air
- Colon (defecation) = earth
- Skin (perspiration) = fire
- Kidneys (urination) = water
So, if we’re facing problems in one of these areas it is often times a reflection of our own disconnection with these natural elements and our own body as a part of it. In a more spiritual sense, we’re out of balance with these elemental energies; like missing the grounding part in life if we’re facing digestion issues. So we are part of nature and have never been separated from it.
Nowadays, we’re living in a very digital-based world which definitely has it’s tremendous benefits – no question. However, our natural state of being is connected to this planet earth. Thus, I first and foremost want to recommend everyone to become re-connected with our base again. Spending every single day in nature, for example, an hour a day will help us in getting back to the “roots” again. Paying attention to this earth with opened eyes of so much more awareness will also shift you automatically into a state of gratitude.
~ Daily rhythms in balance with nature ~
Implementing a natural schedule into your life will not only make you feel physically superior and healthy. It makes you so much more effective because you are working with and not against your own nature. As soon as your daily habits go against our overall primate-ancestral rhythms, you will sooner or later face some form of imbalance, manifested in disease and some other kinds of issues.
Each of us is some kind of a miniature reflection of nature. When we have a look at the sun – I already outlined it as our overall life force energy – it naturally guides us throughout the day; it shows us when to get up, to be active, to calm down and to go to bed again. This will not be the case for every part of the planet when we think of very northern or very southern regions. But for most of us, it is. If not, Ayurveda has an overall, general-based approach to this which helps us all for orientation. When we have a look at the chronological time, Ayurveda categorizes our 24 hours into the following stages:
- 2 a.m. – 6 a.m. as the early morning is referred to the Vata time
- 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. as the morning is referred to the Kapha time
- 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. as the mid-day is referred to the Pitta time
- 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. as the afternoon is referred to the Vata time (again)
- 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. as the evening is referred to the Kapha time (again)
- 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. as the mid-night is referred to the Pitta time (again)
But what does that mean now?
Without going too detailed into the different Dosha (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) times, I simply want to outline the general recommendations based on this ancient wisdom of Ayurveda:
- Wake up early, preferably before sunrise. Take time for elimination, cleansing and hydrating the body and take time for some spiritual practices, like meditation and breathing techniques (before 6 a.m.).
- Come into action and move your body. Have a light breakfast or fast (6 a.m. – 10 a.m.).
- Tackle your hardest tasks, stay present and make lunch your biggest meal (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.).
- Tune into your body, try to stay away from snacking, while making your lunch satiating. (2 p.m. – 6 p.m.)
- Have an early, light dinner. Settle down and make the evening a time to prepare for your sleep. You can meditate or read a book and be in bed preferably before 10 p.m. (6 p.m. – 10 p.m.).
~ Morning and evening routines ~
One of the fundamental principles I’ve been implementing for a very long time already is taking time for myself in the morning after waking up as well as in the evening before going to bed. I’m consciously dedicating these times of the day only for myself as part of a self-care routine.
“Early to bed and early to rise
makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
A morning routine which must not necessarily last for hours will prime you for the day. It is the holy time where you can connect to yourself before stepping into action. And for me personally, it is – again – a holistic implementation, as I think it is so important to target your body, your mind, and spirit; to bring them into alignment. Waking up gently and caring for yourself will charge your energies for the entire day. I’ll give you some tools you can implement into your morning routine:
- getting up early and gently (preferably after a sleep period of 7-9 hrs)
- practicing gratitude (mentally or written down in a journal)
- stretching your body
- cleansing (oil pulling, tongue scraping, tooth brushing, bowel movement, face washing, etc.)
- hydrating (drinking 1-2 glasses of pure (warm) water)
- some sort of exercise (preferably outside in order to connect with nature)
- breathing techniques (pranayama)
Not only does the preparation for our rather active time during the day have a big impact on our well-being, so does the practice of calming down and getting ready for sleep. A good quality sleep is in my opinion essential to feel in-tuned with your system, to be in balance. For me personally, it is a non-negotiable to get off my phone, emails, social media, and other outside distractions at least 1 hour before going to bed. Preparing your body in a gentle way while doing something good for you will increase your quality of sleep. That might be a warm shower or some gentle stretching movements. Calming the mind with relaxing sounds, maybe even scents or candles, reading a nice book, listening to or watching inspiring podcasts or videos. After being physically prepared for bed (brushing your teeth, changing clothes, etc.), I love to meditate for a few minutes, while starting to bring my awareness internally. I further mentally reflect the day and speak out my gratitude for everything I was able to experience, learn and sense on this day.
~ When it comes to nutrition … ~
…my basic principle is again “going back to the roots of nature”. And I want to use this sentence literally as a metaphor for what nature is offering us to thrive on. We’ve come so far from earth-based wisdom and the most natural foods our bodies are designed to eat. Thus, I guess the more we come back to eating plants in their whole, natural, complete as well as fresh state from the organic farmer, the more we’re rooted back to nature. Preparing your foods by yourself will give you a higher sense of connection to what you’re eventually putting into – integrating within – your body.
Plus: The more we are in touch with nature, the more we’re living (and eating) seasonally. For example, you’ve probably recognized that you don’t need as much sleep during summer than in winter times. Or that you’re craving more juicy, lighter foods on hot days, whereas you intuitively choose rather cooked, satiating warm meals when it is cooler or cold outside. I guess the more we are aware of these natural instincts, and the more we are attuned to them, the healthier we are.
~ Conclusion: Natural lifestyle routines ~
In summary, these are the simple yet so life-changing habits that I shared with you today:
- Getting up early with or even slightly before sunrise.
- Incorporating a morning routine, which may include cleansing, hydrating, stretching and moving the body, pranayama as well as meditation.
- Spending time in nature.
- Choosing, preparing and eating your food consciously. The more plant-based, the more whole foods your meals include, the more connected to nature you’ll become.
- Having a lighter dinner.
- Going to bed early (before 10 p.m.) and incorporating a self-care evening routine.
I’d love to hear about your daily routines and what you think about our connection to nature; about what Ayurveda tells us. Feel free to leave me a comment!
Sending you a big hug & sunshine from my heart!