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Has your life been a bit out of balance lately? If your mind and body are in need of soothing, pick up Sattva: The Ayurvedic Way to Live Well as your guide to recalibrating.
“Ayurveda understands that there’s a still, serene lake inside each of us, of unimaginable depth. What we need is innate, natural, powerful and already within us…”
I loved reading Sattva. It was purely evening reading material for me, but that was precisely what I needed: something to wind down with just before bed that helped me lower my heart rate and sleep more soundly.
Sattva is Eminé and Paul Rushton’s guide to “the Ayurverdic way to live well”, which delivers a complete lifestyle prescription for balance and peace in our hectic Western world.
The book has seven chapters: unity, harmony, purity, vitality, clarity, gentleness and serenity. From the food we eat to how we start and end our days, Eminé and Paul showcase the most valuable snippets of ancient wisdom that we can easily apply to our modern (and often hectic) lives.
Above all, Sattva is designed to be simple and accessible. You don’t have to be a hippie or privileged or well-versed in Ayurvedic traditions. It’s about the small changes we can all make to live more harmoniously with seasonal cycles, spend our days more consciously, and nourish our body and soul.
Part note to myself, part inspiration for you, here are some of the habits to adopt from Sattva: The Ayurvedic Way to Live Well.
1. Get back to nature, get back to yourself
“Stop looking for happiness in the place where you lost it is one of our favourite mottos. In Ayurveda, that place is the point where you remove yourself from nature.”
2. Slow down so you can listen to what you really need
“To go slowly and gently enough that you can begin to listen, properly, to what it is that you really need, and to be loving and generous enough with your self to be able to offer it up, as painlessly and instinctively as breathing, each and every time.”
3. And respond kindly
“the more we listen to our bodies and respond kindly, the more our bodies relax and are given permission to, once again, thrive.”
4. If you can, schedule less in your late afternoons
“We’re made to retreat, as the sun, too, prepares to set. So if you’re in a position to slow down significantly during these hours, your body will most gratefully support your choice – and reward it with better sleep, which is the natural evolutionary aim of these slower, darker evening hours, after all.”
5. Aim to mirror the sun’s rise
“Lying down to sleep at 10 p.m. and rising by 6 a.m. – mirroring the sun’s rise – has brought us a new daily perspective. A peaceful home, stillest morning, time to breathe, listen to mantras, eliminate the previous day’s waste, hydrate and, most importantly: sit and witness the sun rising within our world, and our selves, once more.”
6. Cultivate warmth, light your fires
“A fire lit in the hearth, candles dotted around the home, baths steaming and welcoming, accompanied by chai, cacao or fragrant tea – so that we may continue to warm our own cockles and light our own fires from within, even while weathering another stormy winter’s night.”
7. Seek less
“Rush less, juggle less, do less – build in daily swathes of stillness, silence, fresh air and nature. Dampen your excessive fire with cooling moonlight, time beside water, gentle classical music, soothing bedtime reading and quality sleep.”
8. Let go of what burdens you
“Assess what you no longer need – what burdens your senses, what brings a feeling of heaviness (whether in the form of financial obligation or a sense of spiritual suppression) into your home – and make a conscious choice. Could you donate it to someone who can make much better use of it? Can you take it to a recycling centre or charity shop?”
9. Allow the gift of self-awareness
“Awareness is the most precious gift that we can give to our self. It allows us to make wise and helpful decisions as we move through our lives. It allows us to step back and realize that we no longer want to smoke 20 cigarettes a day or fall into bed at 2 a.m. every night; that those remnants of our past are outdated and unhelpful and we may choose to leave them behind.”