We previously mentioned that we'd be beginning a wellness ritual routine challenge earlier when we first launched. It's the first of July and we're excited to challenge ourselves to be a better version than who we are today.
With the wellness ritual challenge, the thought behind it is to help you cultivate a better routine when it comes to taking care of yourself. Coming from a place of a person who has anxiety, I understand what can happen when we're thrown off balance and highly stressed out. In an effort to re-center ourselves, and myself of course, we've created this "challenge" to help regulate the mind, create healthier habits that lead to longevity, and a better quality of life.
I want us to also take a look at practicing Ayurveda and ayurvedic habits. First we must look at what Ayurveda means.
Ayurveda is the practice and belief of Indian traditional and holistic medicine to heal the mind and body that was developed more than 3,000 to 5,000 years ago. A lot of people incorporate ayurvedic habits in their day to day lives. Perhaps you've heard of mindful or intuitive eating? That's an ayurvedic practice. According to YogaJournal.com, "Ayurveda is a healing practice that will bring health and vibrancy to all aspects of your life."
For the first day of the challenge, take time out of your day once you get home from work, going out, or about to settle in to watch TV, to stop and meditate for about 5 to 10 minutes. Meditation seems so boring, I know. But, it allows us to connect with ourselves on a spiritual level and clear our minds in a sense.
"Meditation: Process and Effects", an article written by Hari Sharma, states, "The practice of meditation originated in the ancient Vedic times of India and is described in the ancient Vedic texts. Meditation is one of the modalities used in Ayurveda (Science of Life), the comprehensive, natural health care system that originated in the ancient Vedic times of India." Sharma also states that "According to Vedic science, the true purpose of meditation is to connect oneself to one's deep inner Self."
Techniques to meditation varies, however, it's important to note that it is not about controlling your mind, or forcing yourself to be calm and counting out all distractions. Meditation is also not a unaffordable luxury, nor do you need any special equipment. While it is important that you do make your space comfortable, you're not driving, or in the middle of Times Square, all you simple need is a yoga mat, rug, floor, or pillow (for comfort mainly), and a timer. Sit in cross legged position, eyes closed, back upright, and practice breathing for about 10 rounds of slowly inhaling and exhaling. Feel yourself breathing in and out, and then proceed to let your mind run amok, while practicing how to pause and bring your thoughts back to center.
Based on the New York Times Well Guide, "You don’t need to pull your attention right back to the breath. Instead, let go of whatever it was you were thinking about, reopen your attention, then gently return your awareness to the breath, being present for each inhalation and exhalation." (Gelles, Brach)
In the How to Mediate article by Gelles, Tara Brach stated that “Where we build our skill is in the practice of coming back. Coming back again and again. Notice it — thinking — and then pause, and then come back to the present moment.” (Gelles).
Meditation has been proven to be effective in a vast majority of studies, especially within patients of cancer, multiple sclerosis, and more. (Sharma 2015) In the conclusion, Sharma states the following:
"Meditation, as described in the ancient Vedic texts, is an exercise of consciousness that results in the expansion of consciousness beyond the day-to-day experience of duality. It is an experience of unity, which reduces stress and brings increased creativity and efficiency to the functioning of the inner faculty. This is an exercise that occurs without the mind directing the process. In physical exercise, the mind does not tell the muscles to get stronger; rather, the muscles are strengthened automatically by the exercise process. Likewise, in this exercise of consciousness, that is, meditation, the results are achieved automatically, not by controlling the mind or any other mental manipulation. The process of meditation goes beyond the mind to the deepest level of the inner Self." (Sharma 2015)
For the next 29 days, we'll tack on more tasks and daily goals as we build a routine for ourselves that will help us reach a place of satisfaction with our mental state and help us to gain clarity. Remember, that for day ONE we will be practicing meditation and calming ourselves for FIVE (5) minutes. If you'd like to go longer, you're welcome to. However, as a part of this challenge, it's better to stay the course of the tasks given at the time they are to help you succeed.
Stay tuned and sign up for our newsletter and our social media to keep up with the daily challenges on our Instagram at www.instagram.com/odetoselfskincare (@odetoselfskincare).
Gelles, David. “How to Meditate.” The New York Times, The New York Times, www.nytimes.com/guides/well/how-to-meditate.
Sharma, Hari. “Meditation: Process and Effects.” Ayu, Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd, 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4895748/.