Use Ayurveda to Enhance Healing
Posted on January 17th, 2017
Once you finally regain range of motion and extension (if you’re still going through it, stay strong!), then comes strength training. Strength training is a lot more fun and physical therapy starts to feel more like a personal training session. To be honest, I didn’t do much strength training prior to the accident. I was afraid that I wouldn’t have the correct form so I stuck to various other workouts. Now that I have my routine, I don’t think I’ll ever stop!
The goal of strength training isn’t to do the exercises every day. It’s about giving your all to your workout and then allowing yourself to rest and recuperate. Strength training is the perfect compliment to your normal routine and makes you feel strong and capable of conquering the world! Full warrior mode. I also apply the principles of Ayurveda to compliment and balance strength training and thus help to maximize the greatest end result.
While yoga is about self–realization, yoga’s ‘sister science’, Ayurveda, focuses on healing the body according to our doshas or individual constitution. Lifestyle, diet, herbal medicines and yoga are critical aspects of healing in Ayurveda. Ayurveda’s goal is to help eliminate toxins from our body to help us transcend spiritually and reach yoga’s goal of self-realization. When we take care of our bodies and our minds, we are able to achieve incredible accomplishments.
Here are some ways to use Ayurveda to enhance your healing:
Surgery can create muscle atrophy which means you need to build muscle, muscle and more muscle. It doesn’t make sense to spend all your time in the gym and then eat unhealthy processed foods that add toxins and don’t help build muscle.
Ayurveda is big about understanding what foods work for your constitution as well as adjusting the types of foods you eat depending on the season and your location. Ayurveda isn’t a one formula fits all as each dosha requires a different diet. Click here to read more about which dosha fits your constitution.
Vata: In general, cooked foods are better than raw for vata types. Raw foods, however, should be avoided during the vata seasons of fall and early winter. This is easy to do as it’s natural to crave soups and stews in the cold months! Incorporate lots of root vegetables like acorn, butternut squash, sweet potatoes and yams. These veggies also have lots of vitamin A which gives your skin a glow during the winter months! Vata types also do well by adding warming spices such as ginger, cloves and cinnamon to teas and recipes.
Kapha: Similar to vata types, kapha individuals also do better with warm cooked foods. Kapha types can have more raw foods, however, as it helps prevent the buildup of undigested food waste called ama. Some of the spices that are particularly good for kapha types are cayenne, black pepper, garlic and fresh ginger. Some veggies to include in your diet are chilies, broccoli, cabbage, celery, alfalfa sprouts, artichokes, green beans, beets, bell peppers, brussel sprouts and cilantro. The kapha seasons are late winter and early spring.
Pitta: When pitta types are out of balance, they tend to be argumentative and stubborn. Pitta types should incorporate cooling foods into their diet, especially during the summer months. The diet should include plenty of sweet and water fruits and bitter vegetables. Sweet fruits such as pineapples, melons, mangos, apples, pears, pomegranates, dates, figs and grapes are best. Aloe Vera juice is also very cooling and acts as an anti-inflammatory. Pitta types should focus on slowing down when they are eating as they tend to overeat.
While I do observe Ayurvedic wisdom, I also believe that we have to be in tune with our bodies. If we’re eating healthy, we are rewarding our bodies. A recovery is greatly enhanced if we fuel our bodies with the right nutrients, substitute sugar with herbs and spices, drink plenty of water to flush our system and make sure our body gets enough protein to help build muscle.
Our skin is incredibly important and shouldn’t be forgotten! In Ayurveda, Abhyanga (oil massage) is applied to the body to help loosen toxins from the various tissues. It’s also a fantastic way to moisturize your body, especially if you live in a dry or cold climate. In Ayurveda, the oil is customized to your dosha. Vata types do best with warm sesame, almond, castor and mustard oil. Kapha types do best with mustard, sesame, sunflower, corn and canola. Pitta types should use olive, coconut, sunflower and ghee.
I love to massage my body with oil – particularly my knee! Especially when my muscles are tired and sore, it feels good to gently rub it as a form of self-love. Your body has been through a lot. It deserves this! Abhyanga combined with an epsom bath salt is a wonderful way to recharge after an intense strength training.
Injuries can put a big halt on your life and can be very mentally challenging. Meditation keeps your mind in the right headspace. Life is all about mindset after all. You are the only one who can get you to where you need to be. You need to remain your biggest advocate and keep pushing yourself until you achieve those goals.
It’s also natural to face setbacks that can leave us feeling low and unmotivated. Meditation can help us use these low moments as a way to help us gain a deeper understanding of the situation. While I haven’t tried it yet, “Colour Yourself Calm”: A Mindfulness Colouring Book might be a lovely way to get your zen and creativity on. Let me know how it is! Other forms of meditation include using an object, like a candle, as a point of focus.
Mindfulness, which has gained popularity in recent years, focuses on observing everything in your present moment without riding off in your thoughts. For example, noticing your space, the sounds and smells around you and whether you’re experiencing negative or positive emotions. Even if you aren’t able to take a yoga class just yet, I highly recommend joining a meditation group. Many studios offer a meditation class which is a great way to learn styles that work for you as well as have the energy of those surrounding you to keep you present and focused.
Injuries are not easy. They really test us which is why it’s important to take proper care of ourselves. We should never neglect our self-care, especially in our low moments where we need that fuel to keep moving us forward. Find coping mechanisms that make you feel good and do them as often as possible. The greatest aspect of an injury is that they remind us to stay in tune with our bodies and listen when we need rest. Stay strong, beautiful warriors. You got this!