To truly develop your entire being, body and mind, all have to be considered part of the journey.
In other words, when I drink a ton of wine, it’s going to make my mood real crappy too.
Exhibit A: All the Tuscan wine I could carry home from Sasso Di Sole.
Anything in excess, whether it’s food, fun or just dwelling on negative thoughts means you’re going have a bad time. Awareness of this and of your connections inside and out are so important to feeling good.
As I started my daily yoga practice, I really wasn’t thrilled about the idea of going vegetarian or giving up alcohol all together. I wondered if there was a gentler way to maintain health.
Then I learned about Ayurveda.
Obviously, I’m a fan of western medicine and have utilized it all my life. But something has to be said for a practice that’s been around for 6,000 years which helps promote a long and healthy life. The idea behind Ayurveda, which comes from ancient India, is while aspirin will treat the actual physical illness or pain, this practice focuses more on the body itself with natural ingredients and learned behaviors. It can be used solely as a treatment if other medicines are unavailable or will complement a western health regime.
What You Put in your Body
At the Adler Thermae Spa and Resort in Tuscany, they have a massive center for wellness. Uniquely, this includes a large area of Eastern medicinal treatments led by experts in the field. I had been researching beautiful places in Europe for yoga retreats and discovered this sanctuary not only had regular morning classes included in the stay but also hosted various custom retreats throughout the year.
During my visit, I booked in a consultation with Ayurvedic specialist Dr. Narendra Babu .G from Bangalore, India, to figure out my Ayurveda body type. It was followed by a short lesson and a Ayurveda spa treatment, then various yoga classes, biking adventures and sauna soaks throughout the stay at the resort.
Personally, I was categorized as a “Pitta”, or fire body. This means a plethora of things, but mostly that I’m of medium build and sometimes battle a slow metabolism. This was determined by my physical appearance, including my fingernails, inside of my mouth and digestion.
With this information. Dr. Babu gave specific advice on how to best balance my physical body. We went over everything from what types of fresh produce is best for me and what will keep my metabolism ‘burning’ best. I tend to lean towards sweet food over salty (totally true!) and despite being strong, get winded easily when doing cardio. So it’s OK that I had an affogato while at Adler Thermae, every day right?
An Intimate Look at the Outside
One of the big things recommended by Dr. Babu was to utilize oils in and outside the body. I knew that olive oil was best for consumption, but was surprised to hear for my ‘pitta’ body type, using sesame oil on my skin can bring about many benefits. It can soothe ailments, add moisture after working out or even aide in sleeping better.
In connection with the Ayurveda consultation, Adler Thermae offers various Ayurveda-inspired spa treatments to be administered by staff or the doctor himself.
A little warning: this is not for the shy.
There is a full body massage that used hot oil techniques described in the initial appointments. While it does feel wonderful, this is done with minimal covering – no towels or personal undergarments. You can request a female masseuse, but the session is of course conducted professionally regardless.
What You Put in your Mind
Dr. Babu offers an 8AM yoga class every day at Adler Thermae. It’s a simple practice that stimulates the physical body and calm the mind through basic movements. The studio is quiet and beautiful too, overlooking a rolling Tuscan landscape.
During my stay, I also had the pleasure of connecting with Barbara Woehler, who has been teaching yoga for decades in Italy. Originally from the U.S., she’s cultivated special concentrations of yoga that are best for females at all stages of life, including pregnancy and menopause.
In the morning, she led a small, intimate class through a hatha practice. This is a type of yoga that leads students through physical awareness of each individual body part while focusing the mind. The idea of using breath in conjunction with a visualized calm mentality can leave all parts of you feeling fresh and new. The afternoon the practice was more physical but still at a slow pace to truly get into each pose properly. Yoga and exercise is definitely part of Ayurveda and can make it work even better for you.
Ayurveda and Daily Life
How you move, what you eat and your state of mind are all connected, no matter what you practice or believe in.
There are several ways to test your own Ayurveda body type, including basic online tests. However I suggest going to a professional to be property evaluated. In fact, I had done some research online and was miscategorized, so it was well worth investment in the consultation at Adler Thermae for expert advice.
If you are also a fire body, or ‘pitta’, here are a few quick ideas to try:
- Use sesame oil on the skin once a week
- Ingest turmeric (maybe with a little honey) daily
- Wake up in the morning by drinking hot water
- Avoid too much red meat
- Take a brisk walk or practice yoga several times a week
Have you followed any special guidelines to watch what you consume? Did you notice a difference? What kind of things are in your normal wellness routine?