A Visual Guide to Ayurveda

Ayurveda is perhaps the oldest science of life, a system of diet, healing, and health maintenance that is deeply spiritual in origin.

Story by yoga teacher Lis Cancio and photographer Sidney Bensimon.

Ayurveda is perhaps the oldest science of life, a system of diet, healing, and health maintenance that is deeply spiritual in origin.

Ayurveda, translating from Sanskrit to “life knowledge”, was originally developed in the Vedic period in India. As the weather changes and gets warmer, we can help our bodies find balance and deepen our practice with some ayurvedic tips that cool down the body and relax the mind.

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Drinking hot water with herbal tea helps with digestion and getting rid of Vata in the body. Adding aloe vera gel, lemon and raw honey makes for a delicious and satisfying cooling drink.

Staying away from caffeine, especially in a warmer climate, is suggested.

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Be in nature as much as possible as it relaxes the nervous system and helps you connect with your environment.

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Walking Pranayam for 20-30 minutes after a meal helps with digestion and also helps cut the acid that is produced in the muscles. On your walk, put your attention on your breath, taking deep breaths in and deep breaths out.

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Keeping exercises to early mornings and late afternoons is best as the weather gets warmer to not aggravate the pitta characteristic of our bodies, for 30-40 minutes maximum 3 times a week.

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If you love juicing, dilute your juice with room temperature water, adding soaked chia seeds or a spoonful of coconut oil. These tricks help for optimum digestion, adding natural fat to help absorb the vitamins as well.

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The best time to eat fruit is in the morning and by itself. The body digests fruit very rapidly, taking about 30 minutes.

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Asanas in Yoga have special benefits for the mind and body. Here are a few poses that help with digestion and cooling down.

Yoga postures or (asanas) have holistic and healing benefits for the body and mind. The postures below boost digestion by relieving tightness in the abdomen.

Asanas are also beneficial for expanding into your respiratory system, lungs, diaphragm and intercostal muscles. This facilitates clear breathing to enhance detoxification, naturally restoring vitality and lightness to your organs and settling a busy mind. Excellent for when you feel low on energy and stressed. Always be sure to encourage your breath to flow smoothly and freely into sensations for maximum effect!

Supta Virasana – Consider using props like a bolster, pillow or blankets under the spine to relieve pressure in the lower back and knees.

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Side Bending – Keep your spine neutral and feet grounded as you lean and open into your waist.

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Camatkarasana – This asana is playful, feel your whole spine curve and open as you elevate your heart high.

Practicing meditation has a myriad of benefits for overall health. Meditation has been shown to decrease the stress hormone adrenalin in the body. This has significant effects on dissolving tension, anxiety and normalizing blood pressure. This correlates to better sleep and energy levels to meet the demands of daily life with clarity and creativity.

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Waking up before or with the sun is very important. Ayurveda recommends waking up one and a half hours before the sunrise to help the body synchronize with the rhythm of the sun. This time has a beautiful and strong energy, being up can help you carry this energy within you throughout the day.

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda? Check out our FP Escapes ‘Ayurvedic Awakening’ retreat this October with guide Claire Ragozzino and partner brand YOGASCAPES.
Photos & Words by Sidney Bensimon
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Website: www.sidneybensimon.com

Model & Words by Lis Cancio
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Website: http://www.liscancio.com/

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