The Rituals & Remedies of Ayurveda with Navi Gill
Navi Gill is an Ayurveda practitioner, educator and therapist. Through the ancestral practices of Ayurveda, yoga, meditiation, herbalism and pranayam, she helps clients experience holistic wellness and reclaim autonomy of their well-being. She shares with us how she incorporates these practices into her daily life and wind down routine.
Do you have a bedtime ritual?
Absolutely, like anything else we do when it is done with intention and preparation, the results are more fruitful and aligned. Ayurveda has many rituals and remedies to help one prepare for the right type of sleep for their constitution. I clear my space with smoke medicine, put away clutter, bathe or wash my face and feet, do my skincare, brush, floss, tongue scrape (a must!!!) have my supplements and do a nighttime meditation to prepare my mind and body for rest.
What do you wear to bed?
I always have such a hard time finding pajamas I love that can adjust with all my varying temperatures during sleep, but just like my sheets, I prefer to sleep in light, breathable, natural fabrics. Like most things, it depends on my mood. In my head I always see myself in some flowing robes and a nightdress, but in real life it looks more like a worn out t- shirt that is perfectly soft!
What is on your bedside table?
My bedside table serves as an apothecary, water stand, charging station, bookshelf and crystal holder depending on the day. I always have some oils, my glass water bottle, my flower essences and magnesium + iron supplement so I remember to take them (magnesium supports sleep, pain relief and digestion too) and a pen and notepad for the divine interventions and breakthroughs that often come right before sleep or as I wake up.
Do you have any recurring dreams?
Sometimes, depending on what is happening in my conscious life and throughout my day! Ayurveda looks at dreams as unprocessed impressions, so if there is a situation that happened or is happening it may play it self out in the dream-state to complete that action in our consciousness. Of course the doshas also play a big part in the types of dreams we have, a certain imbalance or constitution is likely to have certain types of dreams. My reoccurring dreams are usually always about travel adventures!
Are you reading or watching anything good at the moment?
Honestly, I have about 20 different books started which I pick up periodically when I don’t take the shortcut and find the answer on Google, but right now All About Love by Bell Hooks is a favourite. And Acts of Faith by Iyanla Vanzant. I go through periods of not watching anything at all because I always need to binge watch the whole series, but I recently got into Grace & Frankie! I didn’t think it would be resonant at all but both of their personalities are super funny and I see myself in both of them.
Which scent makes you think of bedtime?
Fresh air from an open window or rose and vetiver. Rose and vetiver take me to India and that is a soothing home frequency for me. Both scents are Pitta pacifying which eases the body and mind for sleep.
What are some nighttime items you cannot live without?
A good blanket or quilt for the season, a good firm pillow, magnesium and herbs, my nightly skincare and clean light coloured or white cotton sheets.
What is your guilty pleasure?!
If we are talking sleep specifically, I would say sometimes having a snack in bed while I watch something. It is always doshically incorrect, like popcorn and ketchup chips!
How do you engage in self-care?
Since it is my work and also a priority in the way I live my life, I am constantly engaged in it. For me, self care is a necessity because if I am unwell, I can’t support my clients, my family, my friends, my community and my own self as the highest version of me. I have recently learned to give myself grace for days where I don’t do it all. Self care looks different for all of us and it is important to know what works for you, not what’s on Instagram, because we all have different needs and accessibility. My self care is rooted in things that put me in my home frequency, that bring my mind to a state of clarity, open my heart and ground me so that I am embodied.
How do you practice mindfulness?
By slowing down, a few years ago I noticed I had a tendency to rush through things or get them done quickly even if I didn’t need to. Now I catch myself and bring my attention to my breath. As soon as I observe my breath, I can see what is happening in my mind and make the conscious effort to be more present and more clear by breathing slower and deeper. Getting proper rest also contributes to the ability to be mindful in our waking state. Our body and consciousness does its healing and repair while we sleep, so when we are not getting enough sleep, or the right type of sleep, for our constitution, it contributes to us being in a state of unease.
What do you consider the single most important thing for a good night’s sleep?
Sleeping at the right time and waking up at the right time for your constitution. Most of us under or oversleep and stay up well past the time we should. This deteriorates our immunity and adrenal function, impairs digestion, creates mental fog, anxiety, and impacts our overall health.
Did you have a bedtime routine growing up?
We did not! We are first generation babies so it was always interesting that our friends had bedtimes. That was never enforced in our household. Punjabi families tend to eat late and therefore stay up later. Everyone had different schedules there wasn’t a strict routine.
What was your favourite childhood bedtime story?
I didn’t have the typical western upbringing where parents read to their children and tuck them into bed. Both my parents worked a lot as immigrants. They were not always able to be there in those ways, but I read a lot as a kid. Anything with magic/witches, mythology, stories from other places in the world were my favourite. Oh! And Sherlock Holmes mysteries, which I suppose speaks a lot to the work I do now!
What is your skincare and beauty routine like? Do you have any holy grail products?
My nightly skincare and beauty routine is a non-negotiable. No matter how tired I may be, where in the world I may be, it has to be done! I cleanse my face with a natural Ayurvedic cleanser, right now I am using Lotus Moon mineral earth cleanser, followed by a toner and moisturizer which may be an Ayurvedic oil like Kumkumadi or Banyan Botanicals beauty balm. Right now I am using Living Libations Rose cream which is lovely. I will do a facial massage with some marma points or use a Gua Sha for a few minutes before bed. I take my skincare seriously and in Ayurveda it is all about prevention and longevity!
How would you choose to spend one hour of free time?
Sleeping, eating with loved ones or in nature!
If you could choose a song to wake up to every morning, what would it be?
It completely depends on my mood so I could never pick just one, but Sun is Shining by Bob Marley, Thori Dair Hor by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan or our Sikh morning prayers, Japji Sahib.