5 Ayurveda-Inspired Ways to Truly Love Ourselves

(As published in “Featured Today Highlight” and “Popular Lately” on Elephant Journal)

Too many people these days tell us the importance of “self-love.”

But, what does this really mean, anyway? And how does one really do this, in a practical, day-to-day way?

Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of health promotion and disease prevention, has many wonderful insights for the meaning and practice of self-love.

Ayurveda explores three primary relationships in life. One is our relationships with objects, including our car, clothes, computers, phones, televisions and teddy bears. Another primary relationship we all have are those with other people. This is where family members, friends, partners, colleagues and acquaintances come into the picture. Then, there is a third relationship Ayurveda teaches us about the importance of cultivating. This is the relationship we have with our own higher self.

Developing a strong foundation of a relationship with our higher self is critical not only to our spiritual journey, but to the prevention of many diseases, as Ayurveda recognizes the role that adverse relationships play in the creation of health problems of all kinds.

Many of us, sadly, never even become aware of the possibilities associated with nurturing this third relationship. Or, we may hear about how important it is to “love ourselves,” but no one really tells us how to do this.

Like so many of us, from a young age, I, too, was conditioned to believe that everything I sought, everything worth having, exists outside of myself. So I spent exorbitant amounts of time, energy and resources trying to manifest love, safety, health, and happiness from some socially acceptable external source, whether that was my work, achievements, relationships or even through giving and service.

Developing a “designer relationship” with our own Self is really exciting, because, in doing so, we not only prevent all sorts of imbalances; we actually get to learn to fill ourselves up with what really matters.

I have found that, in mindfully cultivating a relationship with my own higher self, I am no longer so hungry for the approval, love and attention of others. My ongoing studies of Ayurveda, Yoga and Vedanta have revealed to me that my own higher Self is the eternal source of all the love, safety, happiness, health and hope I seek in my life.

Here is my personal list of the top five practices that help me connect to those higher aspects of my own being:  Continue reading

New Year’s Resolutions: 9 Sankalpas for 2013

The Sanskrit word for “resolution” or “intention” is Sankalpa. The number nine is considered very auspicious in Indian spirituality. This is because of the number nine’s connection with the number three…three is considered the number of completion, as in the cycle of life (birth, life, death), the construction of any quality story or other writing (beginning, middle, end), and the stages of one’s life (youth, middle age, old age). There are three divisions to the day: morning, afternoon, and night. Time is also a triple division, of past, present, and future.  Continue reading

Ayurveda: the Ancient Indian Art and Science of Creating Pattern-Breaking, Sustainable Change

Six years ago, as a 20-year-old college student in New York City, I asked myself a question that would end up dramatically changing the course of my life forever. I had just been admitted into the Catherine B. Reynolds Scholarship Program in Social Entrepreneurship, which defined social entrepreneurship as “pattern-breaking, sustainable and scalable change related to issues of social importance.” How can I create pattern-breaking change, in a sustainable way, within my own life, and scale those changes into the work I wish to do in the world? I asked myself. Ayurveda, the art and science of life from ancient India, has undoubtedly been the answer to this powerful question. Continue reading