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Nature: Our Greatest Teacher

Even today with all our modern technology and vast progress in medicine, everyone encounters illness. Whether it is in the form of a common cold to a chronic illness, it seems as if imbalances in our health are everywhere these days. But with all our current medical knowledge, why are health issues still so prevalent in everyday life? If we approach this question from an Ayurvedic viewpoint, it is the disconnection to the natural world that is causing illnesses. All the medicine and herbs and practices in the world wouldn’t heal us if we are not living in harmony with Nature. The more out of touch we are with our body’s natural rhythms, the more our health suffers in all physical, emotional, and mental states. And in the world today, we are more disconnected from nature than ever before. With all the distractions of social media, cell phones, school, work, and the everyday hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s no wonder that disease persists.

Ayurveda strives to provide balance and harmony within the body by balancing out Doshas and managing our constitution. By connecting with the nature that surrounds us, we can learn to respect the needs of our own body and mind. The three doshas (Vata, Kapha, and Pitta) help us determine our own constitution and are composed of the elements themselves. By paying attention and giving our full awareness to which elements are out of balance within the body, we are able to take the steps necessary for health. So how can we start learning from nature and finding harmony within ourselves? The first step to take is to start having a daily routine. Nature is constantly going through cycles; the sun rises and sets, the seasons come and go, and everything that dies is born again. Recognizing that we are one with nature and mimicking this daily routine will help you balance and gives you a sense of stability. When we neglect this knowledge and eat improper foods at different times of day, have poor sleeping habits, and are on a constant roller coaster of inconsistency, it is difficult for our bodies to be able to function optimally.

Having a regular routine helps stabilize the body, boost mental activity, lower stress, and improve overall well-being. Start doing this by committing to doing one thing at a specific time every single day. Whether that’s going to bed, waking up, exercising, meditating, or anything else that benefits you. At Santa Cruz Ayurveda, we suggest waking up early (with the sun) and drinking a warm glass of water to get your digestive tract going. Then wash the face, mouth and eyes, and bathe. Make sure to get a little bit of exercise in the morning, yoga is especially beneficial. Regular exercise can add years to your life by managing weight, improving mood, boosting energy levels, and promoting better sleep. Following exercise with pranayama (breathing practices) and meditation is a wonderful way to clear the mind and start the day. Finish this morning routine with a nourishing breakfast that will give you the necessary energy for your day ahead.

In addition to having a daily routine, getting out in nature has amazing health benefits. Natural sunlight stimulates the pineal gland and increases the production of melatonin in the brain, which helps regulate sleep. Getting outside is also a wonderful way of getting Vitamin D, as we get 80-90 percent of it from the sun’s natural rays. Vitamin D is essential for bone growth, cell growth, inflammation reduction and immune function. Plus, being outside helps reduce stress and make us happy, so be sure to make time for going on a hike through the beautiful redwoods we are are blessed with here in Santa Cruz and soak up the amazing benefits of being with nature! Always remember that we came from nature and go back to nature. We are nature! We are the Universe!

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