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Whether you’re a light sleeper or clock a solid eight hours every night, the vata in all of us is looking for ways to sustain a relaxed state of mind, body, and soul throughout the day. Naturopathic doctor Karuna Sabnani is here to help, with practices easy to incorporate into any schedule.
1. Start and end your day with silence.
Morning and night are your bookends, says Karuna Sabnani, naturopathic doctor and founder of Karuna Naturopathic Healthcare in New York City. She recommends starting and ending your day with at least five minutes of silence.
“For beginners and those who have trouble unplugging, even staying in bed for a few more moments to envision your day—away from your phone—is a huge start,” Dr. Sabnani says. “Ending your day the same way is also key.” The next step is a seated meditation practice, which can be as simple as taking five minutes to focus on your breath in the morning and at night.
2. Practice yoga nidra.
Yoga Nidra, a systematic practice of guided relaxation, brings rest by allowing your body to sleep while your mind is awake to listen to instructions. “It takes you to an in-between state of consciousness, which is more rejuvenating than sleep and ignites your parasympathetic nervous system,” she says. “It’s a great way to start your morning or to split up your day.”
Dr. Sabnani suggests practicing Yoga Nidra, beginning with the same sankalpa (intention), daily for 40 days. Watch the changes and peace that unfold.
3. Listen to ragas.
The word raga is derived from the Sanskrit word meaning “act of coloring” (the mind and emotions), which figuratively translates to “any feeling or passion,” especially love. Aptly, ragas is also the word for classical Sanskrit music often used as Ayurvedic therapy. “Ragas balance your space element to the natural rhythms of daily flow,” Sabnani says. “When you’re in flow with the day, you hear more peace rather than noise.”
She recommends listening to ragas when you feel mentally cluttered, as a way to clear your head and reduce stress. There are specific ragas for each cycle of the day. Make sure you listen to one suitable for the current time so you’re not visualizing a sunset in the afternoon. Search for “ragas” on Spotify or Pandora based on the following categories: morning, afternoon, evening, night, or anytime. There are albums dedicated to each category.
4. Dry brush before bathing.
In today’s fast-paced world, our energy is spread in a million different directions. Dry brushing brings our energy back to the heart, our center, according to Dr. Sabnani. She recommends brushing your skin from the periphery towards the heart twice a day.
In the morning, dry brushing can be done more rigorously in the winter months to stimulate circulation. At night, your strokes should be very gentle and circular. “This is a practice of self-love to balance your energy levels and create a restful state of mind,” she says.
5. Take a bucket bath.
“Bucket bathing is a therapeutic activity and, when done properly, brings peace and a sense of well-being,” Dr. Sabnani says. It’s particularly soothing at night, after gentle dry brushing, and will lead to a restful night’s sleep.
Sit on a stool in your bathtub and use a bucket to pour water over your body. Start with your left leg, then left shoulder, then the middle of your body, then right leg, and finally your right shoulder. Repeat this washing pattern as many times as you need to feel clean.
About Dr. Karuna Sabnani
Dr. Karuna Sabnani is a naturopathic doctor, beauty expert and founder of Karuna Naturopathic Healthcare in New York City. She applies ayurvedic philosophy and the healing power of nature with patients nationally and internationally. She has been the health and beauty advisor to Iman Cosmetics, is a specialist at Illumé, and writes for The Huffington Post. She has appeared on various TV shows such as The Dr. OZ Show, Naturally Beautiful and Reluctantly Healthy. Dr. Sabnani is also the author of Get Relief From Time Deficit Disorder (TDD).