Keep calm and do rituals

Keep calm and do rituals

Why We Sleep is the bedtime companion of Vasudha Rai, the popular book by neuroscientist Matthew Walker. It also became a defining reference text when she was writing and researching her new book, Ritual (Penguin Random House). Roy elaborates on Walker’s thesis—human beings are the only species to force themselves to stay awake—and strongly advocates bedtime hygiene. As she mentions “for no good reason, we always delay sleep”, one is reminded of the crime dramas, court intrigues and family feuds on the OTT platform, which have left people in a post-pandemic world. kept awake. We know how difficult it is to implement a lights-off policy in the home when a “reel” or WhatsApp forward or online reunion doesn’t fail to push people into a vortex of excitement before they go to bed.

Rae’s book makes a passionate case for nourishing sleep, a supreme immunity booster, an anti-aging pill and a memory enhancer. Jokingly, she says that we need to get ready for sleep, as we do when planning a vacation. Sleep, not diet and exercise, is the main pillar of the good health we all aspire to but refuse to submit to the daily rituals that harmonize with the natural energy of the night. Rae’s book urges readers to find intrinsic motivation to perform daily actions, which help in closing according to circadian rhythms. She shares her routines—off-smartphones, off-caffeine, off-social media, light reading, gentle musical notes, journaling, and a world of guided meditations—in order to develop the importance of a routine, any chosen one. Routine, purposefully (not reluctantly) ending waking hours. For people with a sleep disorder — there are 80 known types — a somnologist appointment should be priority number one, Rai says, as sleep duration, posture, quality are the make-or-break aspects.

But Ritual, which is Rai’s second book—the first was Glow: Indian Foods, Recipes and Ritual for Beauty, Inside Out—isn’t all about statutory warnings and “reader beware” listings. Rai, a yoga instructor, wellness author, and podcaster on holistic healing, creates a wealth of mindful daily practices that can enhance our focus and productivity. She cites a number of popular and alternative medicine protocols, restorative practices (yoga to traditional Chinese medicine), Modern Life Fundamentals, as well worth the methods in less time at home, resulting in lifelong benefits.

The book is divided into two parts: the Sun and the Moon. The latter opens with an ode to the night, offering unlimited possibilities of rest, healing, rejuvenation and nourishment. Rai fills this section with a variety of self-care rituals—massages, navel oiling, sound treatments, mealtime protocols, breathing exercises, exercise regimens, herbal concoctions—that serve as a goal in their own right. Gives a place to rest. Similarly, the second part of the book is a celebration of a day filled with solar energy. Opinions guide the reader, literally, from the moment of first waking up. There’s no rushing alarm, but gentler induction in a relaxed and worry-free morning, she advises. With the help of tabular factoids and line diagrams, she recommends purification routines, inward and outward purification. He has an extensive list of nectar during the day, which aids in digestion. Similarly, she suggests afternoon booster exercises and brain-boosting infusions—brahmi, mulethi, mint and aparajita—to keep a conscious mind.

What is commendable is that the ritual presents the prism of opinion, but leaves room for all thought. A beauty expert, 41-year-old Rai, being born into the family of an army officer, has lived across India. Since the extended family was also in the armed forces, discipline in life and a regular lifestyle was developed long ago. Even today his brother runs marathons and does Ashtanga yoga. “My father used to be a boxer and used to play golf every day, my mother walks eight kilometers a day. So everyone sticks to their own routine – sometimes too much,” says Rai, who graduated in fine arts from Delhi, after which she went on to become a beauty writer for a magazine. applied. She was inducted into a job that paved the way for a fulfilling career, which was well-lived with her interest in wellness. Her book is a testament to her updated knowledge of restorative practices. She is Charaka Samhita Nutrition researcher Paul Pitchford for the well-known principles of diet and hygiene in the U.S. quotes various sources and weighs her view in a holistic global context. She also shares her weaknesses. For example, a poor night’s sleep. Her formula for doing haraam is to choose a heavy academic subject. Her effort to digest the book’s compositions in a highly awake state ensures sleep. In her morning cleanse/detox regimen, she recommends a pre-bath massage, which calms the mind.However, she is quick to add that half Modern time pressures only allow for faster, less elaborate fuss-free cleaning. Therefore, rituals can be modified according to individual preferences.

In these volatile times, when people are typically looking for emotional support, fitness/wellness specialists often double as counselors or therapists or therapists. The dividing line between physical fitness instructor and spiritual guide is fading with each passing day. In that context, Rai’s ritual moves away from the moral science class. In fact, the rai mentions its own fascination with many spiritual practices, and does not pit the adherence of one against the other. She expresses her dislike for “spiritual shopping” and recommends that people sample several meditation practices/techniques that help the mind feel focused, calm, and energized. While curiosity will lead people to new practices, it should not result in random short-term choices. Each of us will have to decide for ourselves what is best for creating fresh neural pathways in the brain.

Rai lives in New Delhi, Gurgaon to be specific. The city has the highest exposure to toxic air in the country. While India had the fifth-highest annual recording of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), the year-long average for PM2.5 pollution in New Delhi is the worst recorded by any capital city in the world. Does it demoralize Rai, whose recommendations for daily rituals, especially breathing and morning postures, are directly related to the air quality of the city. Rai says: “I try not to be mentally stressed about it and I take care of myself as much as possible, wearing a mask, using an air purifier, eating antioxidant-rich foods, working out and being on time. Sleep. But most importantly, these days I’m trying to work on being less reactive, more calm.”

Rai feels that habit forming is the name of the game. If there is only one healthy habit that must be practiced, it is to live according to circadian rhythms (physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle). Science has proven that doing just that helps keep the body functioning at its most optimal level. For this habit to become a practice, daily motivation is the savior.

Sumedha Raikar-Mhatre is a culture columnist in search of subtext. You can contact him at

did you know?

, Physical exhalation (two breaths through the nose and one long breath through the mouth) helps relieve stress
, Yogurt acts as a cleanser and face mask. Rich in probiotics, lactic acid and emollients, it soothes the skin
, Befriending your breath is part of knowing yourself, before going out into the world in search of wisdom. Set a timer for two to five minutes, lie down in bed and focus on your breath. Deep, shallow, warm, cold – sense your breath, trace its movements
, You are as young as your spine, so you must know that your posture is straight



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