The One Thing Most People Get Wrong When It Comes to Ayurveda

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If you're merely orbiting the wellness world and not fully immersed, chances are you've still heard of Ayurveda, a holistic medicine practice that originated in India. At more than 5,000 years old, it has out-lasted every diet fad and wellness trend. But here's the funny thing: Almost every buzzy subject within the wellness world right now is rooted in this ancient practice.

"Almond milk. Energy balls. Turmeric everything. Herbalism. Meditation. Soaking and sprouting," Jasmine Hemsley, co-founder of Hemsley+Hemsley, lists off in a recent episode of The Business of Fashion podcast. "Bone broth. Fermentation. Probitoics. Prebiotics. Tongue scraping. Circadian rhythm. Oil pulling. Massage. Yoga. Mindfulness. Intermittent fasting. It’s all Ayurveda baby."

Practicing Ayurveda successfully doesn't just mean adopting all of the aforementioned wellness habits. In fact, according to Hemsley, this is the main thing practitioners in the West tend to get wrong when trying to live their healthiest lives—they take it too far. "We hear ginger shots are good for us and then we want five," she says. "Green juice is not a solution. And sauerkraut? Eat too much and you have more than a wind problem. We need to understand that the dose makes the medicine or the poison. Creating balance is the art of living well."

"We need to understand that the dose makes the medicine or the poison. Creating balance is the art of living well." —Jasmine Hemsley, co-founder of Hemsley+Hemsley

Good news! Time to cut yourself a freaking break. Hemsley explains that true wellness through the Ayurvedic lens is not about perfectionism, or pushing yourself to go to a HIIT class when you really don't feel like it. It's about learning how to listen to your body more and give yourself what it actually needs. "The basic needs are sleep, rest—which is different than sleep—and digestion," Hemsley says. "We forgot the yin of being. It’s not just about the yan of doing."

So right now, in the midst of everyone around you setting up goals to "be better" and "do more," know that sometimes the best action you can take is, actually, doing less.

If you're looking for some help forming healthy habits that will last year-round, check out Well+Good's ReNew Year program. And if you're interested in learning more about Ayurveda, find out what your dosha is.

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