Feel like you’re on a runaway train, going full-speed ahead, and the brakes have suddenly gone out? 


Like your battery is dead, you need a jump start to get moving, but wish you could just stay on the couch?

Don’t worry. If either scenario fits your current state - you’re not alone.

These are crazy times. And it’s normal to feel a little off kilter...or A LOT.

Ayurveda! Take me away...

Meaning “science of life” in Sanskrit, Ayurveda is an ancient healing tradition with roots in the Vedic culture of India. From an Ayurvedic perspective, the key to good health is balance.

To promote optimal health, longevity, and vitality, Ayurveda espouses balance of body, mind, and consciousness. Factors that can knock us out of balance include:

  • work

  • relationships

  • physical trauma

  • emotional states

  • diet and food choices

  • seasons and weather

  • global pandemics

That’s right. When a global pandemic has rocked the entire world, maintaining a sense of balance couldn’t be more difficult - or more vital.

The Ayurvedic approach to wellness

Ayurveda can be viewed as a complement to allopathic, or Western medicine. Rather than focusing on symptomatology and the treatment of disease with drugs and surgery, Ayurveda focuses on prevention and recovery from illness. It’s aim is to restore balance to the body’s energy systems through attention to diet, lifestyle, and thought patterns. Used in conjunction with an allopathic approach, Ayurveda can play an important role in overall health and wellness.

As a medical student, I did a month-long on rotation in New Mexico. During that time, I attended an intensive weekend seminar with Ayurvedic physician, Dr. Vasant Lad. My wife Pam spent four years with Dr. Lad at The Ayurvedic Institute and completed his full curriculum to become a licensed Ayurvedic practitioner. So needless to say, Ayurveda has a big influence on our home and family life.

Nourishing foods, movement, herbs, meditation and yoga postures are the tools used in Ayurveda to maintain or restore balance. To be effective, these tools should be used on a regular basis. One of the simplest ways to embrace an Ayurvedic approach to wellness and establish a stronger sense of balance in our lives is through attention to daily routines.

Daily routines

Simply following a daily routine can dramatically impact your health and well being. Maintenance of daily routines has a positive effect on the body’s hormones, cellular aging, and even physiology. Perhaps most importantly, a consistent daily routine brings more sattva (equanimity) to the mind and body. 

So what happens when our daily routines are thrown off? Like now?

From a scientific standpoint, most living things are affected by daily changes in the environment. The study of circadian rhythms, or chronobiology, involves examination of the physical, mental, and behavioral states within the human organism dependent upon daily cycles. Some ways that changes to daily activities affect us are:

  • body temperature

  • hormone release

  • eating habits and digestion

  • sleep/wake cycles

  • immunity

Disruptions to our body’s natural rhythms and functions can lead to problems such as:

  • mood swings

  • fatigue/low energy

  • unwanted weight gain/loss

  • Premature aging

  • Increased risk of cancer

  • increased susceptibility to chronic illness (sleep disorders, obesity, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder)

Life in the balance

When we talk about establishing and maintaining health, daily routines regarding nourishment, movement, and sleep, it is a matter of extreme importance to our health and wellbeing. Perhaps not in the imminent sense. For most of us, disruptions to daily routines are not a matter of life or death. But for those suffering from diabetes, heart and respiratory conditions, mental illness and other serious health challenges, it very well may be. For all of us, however, the damage of living a life that is wildly unbalanced is cumulative, occurs over time, and has the potential to manifest in serious illness down the road.

The tough part with this is that, in the midst of COVID-19 - when many of us are at a heightened risk for illness - our daily routines could not be more disrupted, could not be more difficult to maintain.

But, let’s shift our perspective and think in terms of what kind of daily routine could work now, in our present circumstances. This may look very different from the routine you had two months ago or will have two months from now, but keep the eye on the prize...

What can you do now, on a regular basis, to bring more serenity, peace, and equanimity to your life - even in the midst of a global pandemic?

One simple thing we can do is follow a daily routine: this promotes health and wellbeing of our minds and bodies. In a recent post I discuss a step-by-step plan one can follow to stay sane during the quarantine to create a life in balance. But as stay at home orders are slowly lifted across the country continuing to follow a healthy daily routine is critical for optimal health.

In the next article we will explore the three gunas that pervade all of nature and the three dosha body types. Based on this Vedic wisdom and your unique constitution, I will share some simple things we can do to discover more peace, equanimity and joy in our daily life.