What is Ayurveda and Why Does it Say to Work Out Less?

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If you haven’t heard of it before, Ayurveda is the traditional medicine of India that emphasizes balance in the body through diet, lifestyle, exercise, breathing, and cleansing. Rather than focusing on physical “detoxing” and fitness, Ayurveda maintains the mind and body are inextricably connected, and the mind has more power to heal and transform the body than physical dieting and fitness ever could.

Here are three points that can change the way you work out (and change your life!):

When it comes to fitness, going hard every day isn’t the best idea.  Exercise is an important part of the ayurvedic routine, not only because it increases flexibility and it endurance, but it burns the digestive impurities that accumulate in our bodies and creates balance in our minds and bodies. However, working out too much, or pushing yourself to the point of pain can be detrimental to your immune system, mental health, and even metabolism! That sounds counter-intuitive, but it makes sense. Without giving your body time to reset, it will begin to think that your constant strain for caloric burn is the norm, and will regulate accordingly, storing more calories and trying to save energy for the “normal” day. 

The breath is everything. Those quick, shallow breathes usually associated with a cardiovascular workout stimulate the same fight or flight response as terror and stress, releasing the same degenerative hormones through the body. Focus on your endurance by keeping the breath smooth and steady. This helps spread oxygen through your muscles and tissues, giving your body what it needs to build muscle and burn fat.

Work out in the morning. Morning exercise energizes the mind and body, getting you ready for the day ahead. Though some people find exercising in the evening therapeutic, this can raise your body’s core temperature and disrupt your sleep rhythm.

Give yourself a massage. Ayurvedic oil massages before working out is great for rejuvenating your cells, enhancing circulation, and improving endurance. It also feels amazing!

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