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In an effort to formulate the structure of my experiment, I applied some fundamental principles of

ayurveda to my current life. Doing this gave me a new perspective on my everyday life and opened my eyes to different methods for staying healthy. I learned about vata imbalances and how they can be provoked by consistent movement, dry climates, and high altitudes, all of which I had been subjecting myself to on a regular basis. Therefore, I chose to base my personal experiment around developing a consistent morning routine accompanied by a dosha­specific diet. The dosha­specific diet included eating foods that would serve my constitution positively and spacing three meals by 2­3 hours.

 

My lifestyle prior to conducting this experiment was not necessarily unhealthy, but rather unaware of the detriment some small actions had on my health. I was able to recognize everyday ailments, such as fatigue or allergies, but unable to identify their source. For instance, I have always been prone to snacking in between meals on the go. I did not realize the significance of eating slowly and consciously at specific points during the day. In addition, my food choices were not entirely beneficial to my body based on my doshic constitution. I was aware going into the experiment that eating only three set meals a day would be very difficult for me, however I had confidence in my decision. I believed that conforming to the guidelines of my experiment would result in less fatigue and increased general happiness.

I began by first establishing my full morning routine and purchasing any necessary items for my experiment. I utilized the intellectual resources provided by my instructors as well as those found in the

Ayurvedic Home Remedies textbook. I began to understand the importance of dedicating my morning to promoting a healthy, happy day ahead. Using this knowledge, as well as additional intellect gathered through research, I began each morning by rising before 7:00 am with a prayer of gratitude prior to leaving bed. I had initially arranged to wake by 6:00 am each day but found that it was not beneficial for me at this time, or at least that’s how it felt. The next step was bodily evacuation, which I found easy to fall into a steady routine with. Following this process I proceeded to splash my face with lukewarm water and massage the lids of my eyes. I then blinked them seven times and looked steadily in all four directions to promote alertness. I then scraped my tongue of any excess ama using a small spoon and found it to be lightly­coated and white throughout the entirety of my experiment. After my tongue felt sufficiently cleared of ama I practiced oil pulling by swishing for 15­20 seconds. I chose to implement coconut oil for the purpose of my research based on its pitta­reducing qualities. I also considered sunflower oil due to its benefits towards both kapha and pitta types, which is my primary doshic constitution. To ensure that my mouth was clear of any excess oil containing, which can contain harmful toxins, I gargled water just after completing the pulling. I would typically boil water while waiting for the pulling process to be complete so that a warm cup of lemon water was readily available afterwards. After I became fully hydrated marks the time for my sadhana practice, which took place on my balcony seated upright with use of a block under my sit bones. I employed a variety of techniques to help with my home practice, including online guided meditations and breathing exercises. The typical duration for my morning meditation was roughly 20 minutes, which I hope to extend as my practice continues. The mental clarity provided to me through meditation carried over into the asana practice which followed. I explored surrounding studios offering a variety of classes and also worked on developing my personal home practice. Following the physical practice I honored my body with self­abhyanga prior to showering. I initially employed coconut oil for the massage due to its cooling qualities but found that it irritated my skin. I changed over to sunflower oil and found this to be much more beneficial for me. Breakfast concluded my morning routine and marked the start to a healthy day set with good intentions.

In terms of the foods consumed during my experiment, I researched what I believed would be the most beneficial for me based on my personal constitution. I found that dark green vegetables, sweet fruits, lean meats, and few grains were among the foods I should be including in my diet every day. I had intended on eliminating snacking but found that this did not serve me in a positive way at this time. My current lifestyle is very fast­paced and I am often eating while hiking or driving. Although I did make a tremendous effort to sit down and focus on the meal I was eating, I found that I got very hungry in between designated meal times. I conformed to three set meals for the first 2 days of the experiment before deciding that it was not working for me at this time. Despite the lack of three set meals each day, I still maintained a conscious awareness of my digestive processes and gave food time to digest before introducing more food. Eating for my doshic balance has proved to be very beneficial for me and is greatly enhanced by following a structured morning routine.

Throughout this experimental process I have developed a new awareness of how my body functions and how I can help maintain my health through diet and lifestyle choices. Ayurveda has given me new tools through which to examine myself and the world around me, which has lead me further down the path towards discovering my higher ‘self’. I have found the morning routine to be extremely beneficial because it promotes honoring the world within myself before offering attention to the world around me. I find myself to be much more clear and focused when practiced regularly and my day is genuinely happier. Paired together with the ayurvedic diet I have noticed a remarkable difference in my energy levels, as I was quite lethargic in the weeks prior to experimentation. This ayurvedic assessment of myself has manifested into a new lifestyle built upon awareness of healthy decisions and alignment between my body and mind.

Spoiler alert…its gratitude. That is certainly what the following Axis Yoga Teacher Training student came to conclude during the personal experiment portion of the training. Read on to learn how this student went from simply using gratitude as a focus for meditation and started using gratitude as a window into the life that could be. Developing skills like this is what makes the Axis YTT a life changing experience.

 

My personal experiment was to practice gratitude and complain less. My intention was to use gratitude as a focus for my meditation practice and to make a list of things I am grateful for in my journal. For the first week, I was journaling and meditating and everything was fine. Thankfully, my experiment took an interesting turn at the end of week one. I was listening to a podcast of a holistic health practitioner that I follow while I was walking my dog and he happened to be interviewing a writer and life coach named Jen Sincero. Jen had just written a book called You are a Badass and she was spreading it’s message of self-exploration and growth. I ended up listening to the podcast twice and immediately drove to Tattered Cover to buy her book. I sat in the book store and read the first 100 pages in a couple of hours. I bought it, took it home and proceeded to finish it in the following week.

If I were to summarize this book, I would say it’s a piece designed to help the reader be a better person, business owner, partner, employee, human being on this planet. It provides basic guidelines to follow in order to improve your life, make more money (in a non-greedy, non-gross, non-offensive kind of way) and be a better person while also providing witty, hilarious personal stories and insights.

 

Her whole message totally aligned with my personal experiment because a big message she sends is the importance, no…the absolute necessity that gratitude be a part of one’s life. In the chapter entitled: Gratitude: The Gateway Drug to Awesomeness, Jen explains that we not only have to be grateful for what we have that is great, but also the things that aren’t so great AND the things in our lives that we don’t even have yet! Crazy concept, right?!

 

Halfway into my experiment, I was not only journaling but also creating vivid visualizations of the person I aspire to be in my life (career, relationship, family, spiritual…all aspects) and meditating on this. I also created a daily (more like hourly) ritual where I would spontaneously thank this Universe for what I have today and for giving me the life that I know I will have someday.

All of a sudden, I found this external gratitude seeping into my pores and touching me on a much deeper level. As I kept repeating these words of gratitude for all of my blessings, I really started to realize how amazing my life is and how many awesome possibilities I have in front of me (should have been pretty obvious, huh?).

Conversations with myself used to go like this: “I want to have a really successful nutrition/yoga practice someday where I can really make a difference in people’s lives and make some money so that I can take care of my parents…but that probably won’t happen because most new businesses fail and it seems like it might be really hard to do something like that…and I don’t really know how to make money because I’ve never really had money before. So I guess I’ll just keep not doing what I want to do because it’s probably easier.”

Now, I’m constantly telling myself things like this: “I’m going to have a successful, thriving nutrition therapy practice. I’m going have money so that I can help more people and take care of my family and I am so freaking grateful that the Universe has infinite love, support and resources to allow me to make this happen!”

Honestly, it might sound ridiculous but repeating these types of messages over and over and over again start to create a shift. Even in these short couple of weeks, I feel more grounded, focused, content and joyful. Things that used to bother me just don’t have a place in my life anymore. I don’t give them any attention or energy and so they seem to just fade away. I’m choosing to create a reality for myself that is productive, positive and in alignment with the Universe’s plan for me (which oddly enough, is not sitting on the couch watching reality TV shows).

Needless to say, this personal experiment was kind of huge for me. I am definitely taking it with me and using it as a template to grow in this new space of self-awareness.

“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” -Anthony Robbins