It’s just like taking care of your house or your car; you regularly undertake housework and cleaning activities, or take your car for its yearly MOT – right? Now, why wouldn’t we apply that same mindset to our own well-being? Why do some of us wait until we feel really bad? Why wait with exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, eating well, taking our supplements, working on our mental health – until it’s too late? If you think about it, taking care of smaller pains is much easier than putting band-aids on large wounds. The Art of Yang Sheng is an ancient Chinese philosophy that focuses on preventing ailments rather than curing them, in the idea that when people take care of their life consciously, in any number of ways, they’re effectively nurturing their well-being for the long-term.
“Life is about balance and harmony. The Art of Yang Sheng encourages people to cultivate health and harmony through daily activities. Rather than treating disease, the focus is on maintaining balance through an awareness of our connection to nature, to our own bodies, and to the spirit.” - Kevin W Chen, MPH, PH.D.
In Chinese, the word yang means to nourish or take care of and the word sheng means life, vitality and health. “Put together, yang sheng refers to nourishing life, fostering health and well-being, and pursuing longevity.” (Chen, 2011 in Chinese Medicine and Yang Sheng by Ng S.M. et al 2014). So, what can you do in the comfort of your own home to cultivate your well-being, without breaking the bank and without making several rigorous changes – changes that we all know are hard to maintain?
1. No time for stress
Stress can have a major adverse effect on our mind, body and soul, so this is probably the first negative factor on our health that we should focus on. Let our expert Deborah Quibell guide you to a state of deep relaxation with this 10-minute body scan meditation or try an easy 15-minute Yin Yoga practice. Now that most of us are spending more and more time at home, you could also take a look at your interior to see if your household could be cluttering up your mind and getting you down.
2. The word of the day is: Balance
Because of the breakneck speed of modern life, things are constantly changing around us. We are bombarded by information and forced to adapt to circumstances at an alarming rate. When you find inner peace, you find your centre: a sense of harmony, emotional well-being and fulfillment in life. Try some of these tips to help you find your inner peace and harmony.
3. Candle meditation
Candle gazing is a wonderfully peaceful and soulful way to meditate. For anyone that struggles with meditation and doesn’t want to be plugged into an app, this is a lo-fi but incredibly effective way to relax. Candle meditation, much like other forms, has some incredible benefits for your health and well-being, such as connecting you to your body, mind and soul, and helping you feel calmer and happier.
4. Treat your body
Dry brushing is a simple, soulful way to treat yourself. Known to exfoliate and condition the body by sweeping away potentially pore-clogging dead cells, boosting circulation and flushing away unwanted toxins from the body. Think of it as a mini spa treatment you can enjoy from the comfort of your own bathroom.
Gentle exercise helps improve breathing and move the qi (energy) gently, helping to strengthen organs and oxygenate the blood. It only takes a few minutes of low-intensity exercise, such as walking, to trigger the release of endorphins and increase your metabolism. However, no matter your preferred type of exercise, remember that your post-workout recovery is just as important as the sweat session itself.
5. Nurture with food
In Ayurvedic tradition, it’s important to nurture your body with soulful, seasonal, foods. Kale and cabbage are great choices. Kale, in particular, is also high in calcium and potassium. Both these nutrients are believed to help reduce high blood pressure, calcium is crucial for strong bones, while potassium can help with water retention. If kale isn’t really your thing, our chef’s created some other recipes that are also Ayurveda-inspired, right here. Or try some recipes designed to improve the quality of your night’s rest.
6. Sleep better tonight
We spend roughly 1/3 of our lives asleep, and Ayurveda recognises this as a perfect opportunity to restore your balance. Sleep is the time when your body is able to repair and heal itself. Your mind also becomes balanced through sleep. This guided evening meditation by expert Deborah Quibell will help you let go of the day’s stress and prepare you for a calm night ahead.