As a holistic wellness philosophy, Ayurvedic medicine strives to alleviate bodily ailments by eliminating their root cause. In order to achieve positive energy and physical vibrancy, we must first eliminate the behaviors that negatively impact the mind and body. Thus, Ayurvedic tips and remedies for increasing energy primarily entail dietary and behavioral modifications that prevent fatigue in the first place. The objective is not to artificially stimulate the body. Rather, Ayurveda seeks to remove that which leeches our true inner energy, or ojas.
The Root of Fatigue: Overuse, Misuse, or No Use
Ayurvedic philosophy holds that exhaustion is the result of the overuse, misuse, or lack of use of the mind, body, or emotions. For many of us, fatigue is the result of overusing all three—mind, body, and emotions—day in and day out.
The modern lifestyle demands a lot of energy. When we devote all of our innate, divine energy to mundane and taxing actions like stressing about work, family, and other obligations, running around trying to complete a never-ending to-do list, and worrying about the stability of finances and the future, we inevitably tax our energy reserves and end up feeling depleted.
However, misuse or overuse can also result in exhaustion. For example: if you are a sensitive vata type, performing lots of intense cardiovascular exercise amounts to the misuse of the body, and can be incredibly draining. Refraining from exercise altogether, too, can result in tiredness. Spending time wallowing in your worry or anger in relation to professional relationships and finances constitutes a misuse of emotion. And failing to use your emotion by isolating and numbing yourself can be just as depleting as excessively expending your emotions.
The Role of Doshas
Why is it that overuse, misuse, or lack of use result in low energy? Any improper expenditure of energy can disturb the delicate balance of your doshas. Imbalanced doshic energy, in turn, hinders the ability of the body and mind to function optimally. Thus, Ayurvedic tips for increasing your energy are predominantly geared toward balancing the doshas.
The concept of the dosha is integral to Ayurvedic philosophy. The three doshas—pitta, vata, and kapha—are the three essential forces that lend us our unique physical and mental properties. We are each born with a unique balance of the three doshas that differentiates us from other life forms. However, excessive work or stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, trauma, and other physical and mental ailments can disturb this delicate balance, leading to low energy.
Balancing the Doshas
If you are experiencing low energy or chronic fatigue, there exists an energetic imbalance in your body. Physical fatigue is associated with imbalanced kapha; mental fatigue with imbalanced vata; and emotional fatigue with imbalanced pitta. Thus, one of the primary Ayurvedic tips for combatting fatigue is balancing the doshas. And there are several ways you can do that.
To eliminate your problems at the source, you must identify and avoid the behaviors that are causing the doshic imbalance. Carefully examine the way you use your body, mind, and emotions. Are you overusing or misusing them? Are you trying not to use them out of fear or lethargy? Being honest with yourself about how you expend your energy is the first step in balancing your doshas.
There are several lifestyle alterations you can make to balance your doshas as well. To determine which alterations will help you, you should schedule an Ayurvedic consultation to ascertain your dominant dosha and determine which of your energies are excessive or depleted. Once you know your doshic makeup, you will know which doshas require stimulation and which need pacification. For example: excessive vata may necessitate mindful relaxation and regular sleep. Kapha, on the other hand, will benefit from regular exercise. Adopting a lifestyle and diet to compliment your doshic energy will go a long way in restoring your long lost energy reserves.
The buildup or depletion of doshic energy is often the result of poor agni, or digestive fire. When agni is too strong or too weak, you may experience improper elimination and digestive distress. The failure to assimilate or excrete doshic energy can lead to doshic imbalance. Strengthening and nourishing the digestive fire is thus a surefire way to restore doshic balance. Plus, strengthening agni also ensures proper nutrient absorption, preventing deficiencies and, by extension, fatigue.
There are several simple ways to ignite the digestive fire. The first and most important is to consume clean, whole, unprocessed foods that compliment your dosha. If you are particularly prone to constipation, warm and oily foods may help restore normal digestive function. Drinking warm water with lemon and consuming stimulating spices like ginger and cumin also strengthen agni.
Eat regular meals, and try to consume your largest meal in the afternoon, when digestion is strongest. Stick with light foods for breakfast and dinner, but don’t skip meals; doing so can destabilize blood sugar and depress your metabolism. Finally, reduce your consumption of coffee, soda, caffeine, and sugar, which can disrupt the body’s delicate circadian rhythm and thereby disturb digestion and sleep.
Bodily Support and Care
There are a few strategies that are universally suitable for promoting doshic balance and combatting fatigue. The first and most critical is to reduce inflammation. Of course, reducing inflammation at the source by cleaning up your diet, changing your exercise routine, and other lifestyle adjustments, is the best way to do so. But consuming anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric, ghee, and ginger will provide additional support.
Ayurveda is not big on pills and prescriptions. But there are a few herbal supplements that Ayuredic practitioners typically recommend to their clients. Ashwaganda is an adaptogenic herb that coordinates the HPA axis to modulate the stress response. Brahmi protects the brain from the negative effects of cortisol secretion. And Triphala encourages healthy elimination, moving toxic waste out of the body. Together, these supplements tame and combat the negative effects of the stress response, reducing inflammation and preventing energy depletion.
Finally, never underestimate the power of a consistent self-care routine. Establishing rituals that nourish the body and soul, like journaling or taking a bath, help to revitalize our energy. Specifically, self-care boosts our ojas, our inner sense of vitality. Pranayama is perhaps one of the most beneficial elements of a self-care routine, as it supplies prana, or life force, to the entirety of your being.