Join us as we meet with one of our favourite surfer girls, Lorien Waldron, to discuss Ayurveda, surfing and connections between the two.
Hey Lorien, how are you today?
Great, thank you! I just had a surf with heaps of dolphins jumping out of the water, playing and surfing through the waves… it was magical. Now I’m sipping on a cup of homemade Ayurvedic Turmeric Chai!
Like surfing, Ayurveda seems to be a lifestyle, can you tell us more?
Yes, Ayurveda really is a way of life. The word Ayur-veda literally means, the ‘knowledge and science of life’, so the wisdom and knowledge within this ancient 5,000 year old science is very focused on ways to create balance in the body, mind and spirit on a daily basis. This makes it a lifestyle practice that feels good, just like surfing daily, feels good. Ayurvedic medicine views health in a very holistic way. It is about preventing imbalance or dis-ease in the body through daily living rather than waiting for something major to manifest as a sickness later in life. The little things we do each day, the way we live, think, breathe, eat, move, drink etc, these all make a big difference that adds up over time to creating a state of health, wellbeing and balance or the opposite. So yes, it becomes a lifestyle (…a beautiful lifestyle!) that one can practice daily.
Surfers love to perform at their best. What are some Ayurvedic principles that can benefit surfers?
Great question, the core Ayurvedic principles that will benefit surfers the most are to incorporate balance, regularity, movement of the body through practices like Yoga, stillness of the mind through Meditation – and warm, nourishing, sustaining and balancing foods and drinks.
Since surfers spend a lot of time in the water and duck-diving under water, learning to breathe through daily life with awareness will have a very balancing effect. A simple way to do this is to take five conscious deep belly breaths during the day whether out in the water or at work. This will help to calm the nervous system and have an instantaneous balancing effect on the mind, body and emotions. It will allow for greater centredness and concentration on whatever is in front of you. Meditation – being mindful and giving yourself some time each day to sit, reflect and focus on the flow of the breath – will be useful for balancing the breath and centering the energy of the body. This means that the choices we make, the interactions we have with others and the way we perform is transformed by this sense of inner peace and awareness – leading to more meaningful experiences and interactions with the world – including the waves! Yoga is useful because it opens up the shoulders and parts of the body that can get tight through the repetitive motion of paddling. It will also be great for keeping the knee joints healthy and stable, very important for surfers.
It is also important to have regular meal times, making lunch the biggest meal of the day as the sun is the highest. This allows the body to relax and trust when its next form of nourishment will come, so it can stay calm and present. Eating the biggest meal in the middle of the day is good for digestion as the sun is highest (the fire element in the environment), so the body will be able to digest best during this time. Due to this, avoiding surfing or physical exertion around the mid-day lunch-time zone will have a balancing effect and help avoid sun damage and heart issues later in life. Digestion will benefit from this way of eating, meaning more energy for surfing!
Having a light snack before a surf will be good for energy, however avoid eating a big meal before going out, as your energy will not be in your muscles where it needs to be for catching waves, it will be in the tummy for digesting your meal. What happens if we surf straight after a big meal is that the body will take all its energy away from the process of digestion and straight to your muscles, and your lovely meal will be forgotten about for a few hours and will sit and start to ferment in your gut, causing tiredness, sluggishness and toxic build up over time. Eat after surfing, rather than before, unless it’s light, this will make a difference.
Eat warm foods and drinks to boost your digestive fire, known in Ayurveda as Agni. This is important for keeping the body healthy and vital. By eating warm and staying warm, the body can stay relaxed and will be able to give you the energy you need to surf. When we get cold or eat cold foods, it creates contraction’ meaning there is less blood flow to the muscles for you to use surfing. The blood has gone to the internal organs instead just to stay warm. So eating warm and drinking warm is great for supporting your body to do what it knows how to do, and stay balanced and grounded.
Can you give us some ideas for Ayurvedic recipies that provide the balance and nutrition surfers need?
Ayurvedic Porridge with almonds, raisins, ghee and spices for breakfast. This breakfast option is warming, has good oils which are essential for healthy joints such as the knees, hips and shoulders.
Turmeric Chai. This is delicious, immune boosting and will help to remove any inflammation in the body from overusing joints or when the body gets run down. Very simple. A great before or after surf warm drink.
Simple Wholesome Rice and Dhal or ‘Kitchari’ when they are cooked together. Since surfers love to be in the water, spending a lot of time cooking may not always be an option. Kitchari is a great surfers meal as it can be cooked in just one pot, in under 20 minutes, and is a complete protein for the body. It is also very warming and satisfying.
After Surf Energy Shake, this is good for pre or post surfing, when you need a boost. It is so simple to make, super yummy and high in iron so will give lasting energy and nutrients to the body to nourish the muscles.
Sesame Spice Balls! These are made out of besan flour, which is high in protein, spices that are good for warming the digestive system and dates which give a clean energy and have nutrients, good for nourishing the tissues. It is a slightly more complex recipe to make, but so worth it. They are delicious. Good pre surf snack or after dinner ‘treat’.
How has Ayurveda shaped your life?
Hmm, interesting question… Having Ayurveda in my life has been the greatest gift. The beauty, wisdom, knowledge, insight, inner growth and awareness that Ayurvedic medicine has given and continues to give is something I am forever grateful for. It is hard to imagine life any other way. I often feel like my relationship with Ayurveda is like a marriage that keeps getting better and better each day. It sounds a bit corny, but each year I love Ayurveda more and more – and I started off loving it so much to begin with. It is a neverending journey of inspiration, growth, health, wisdom, balance, contribution to society and beauty that keeps becoming sweeter and sweeter… I get all romantic talking about Ayurveda and how it has contributed to my life. I feel honored and grateful every day to have come across this knowledge and be able to share the Ayurvedic love with others.
I grew up in a health-conscious family, and eating dhal, rice, spices etcetera, as well as doing Yoga and meditations with my mum and her friends. I always loved it and thought there was a real beauty and magic to eastern wisdom, philosophy and spirituality. When I was in my final years of high school I started to delve into the practice of Yoga, meditation and natural health and felt attracted to going to uni and studying natural medicine. I learned about Ayurveda at this time and distinctly remember having a big ‘uhuh’ moment while talking to my dad about Ayurveda. I was so inspired by every book, talk and conversation that had anything related to Ayurveda as part of it. I was so into it, so I found a teacher who I wanted to study with and began my journey of Ayurvedic medicine. It is like nature – once you discover the beauty of a wave, a sunset, a sunrise or a mountain, it stays with you and becomes something you love connecting to in life. It is a connection that grows each day. Ayurvedic Medicine and Yoga are the same for me. It has become part of my life, an ocean of knowledge and natural wisdom that is useful for my own health, the health of my family and friends and it’s a bonus to now be able to share this with others. It has enriched my life.
Do you think Ayurveda and surfing complement each other?
Absolutely! Ayurveda, Yoga and Surfing are a match made in heaven! Both share a deep respect for Mother nature, the elements and are concerned with inner balance, harmony, wellbeing and celebrating the joy and beauty of life in each moment.
Every surfer knows that the water is powerful, the wind is powerful, the sun is powerful, that the elements exist and have a big effect on us daily. Since Ayurveda is about the Knowledge and Science of Life and this is made up of the five elements in nature, surfers are already very in tune with Ayurvedic principles and living in a big way through this intimate communion and connection to nature. So they are a great pair. Surfing will compliment an Ayurvedic lifestyle and Ayurveda compliments and offers wisdom to enhance the experience of Surfing.
How can people find out more about Ayurveda and yourself?
Well, there are heaps of great books written by masterful Ayurvedic Doctors from both India and the west. There are often talks held at Yoga Centres and some experienced yoga teachers will have a basic understanding of Ayurveda as they are sister sciences and go together, so your local Yoga studio can be a good resource if you’re super keen!
My website & facebook page:
I offer personalized sessions for people who are interested in Lifestyle and Ayurvedic Nutrition. I run cooking classes and offer Holistic Coaching for people who wish to explore Ayurvedic medicine for themselves, apply some Ayurvedic lifestyle practices, create more awareness of their nutrition and state of inner and outer health.
Your top tips for a wholesome, loving and healthy beach life.
Ok, top tips for wholesome loving and healthy beach life! (Based on my own beach living).
1. Massage your body with a good quality oil as often as possible. Use cold pressed organic black sesame oil or coconut oil if it’s summer season. This will keep your joints healthy, your skin in good condition and can even strengthen your skin to prevent sun damage and sunburn.
2. Eat fresh alive foods when at the beach, rather than snacking on processed foods. Processed foods and alcohol are predominately made up of the fire element (pitta) in Ayurveda – and so combining ‘fiery’ foods while being in the sun, which is also the ‘fire’ element, can cause an excess of fire in the body. This leads to digestive upset, inflammation, skin disorders and fiery moods.
3. Choose to be in the sun for longer periods of time in the morning or afternoon when the sun is gentler.
4. Eat fresh Papaya and enjoy ‘smushing’ it onto your skin after being in the sun to hydrate and repair any sun damage from over exposure. Great for sun burn. It gives the impression of a great natural tan also! 😉
5. Make sure you have enough good quality fats and oils in your diet on a daily basis. Ghee (clarified butter) or Coconut oil fare best for cooking. This will make sure that the tissues of your body stay hydrated, well lubricated and supple. It will keep your skin youthful and your nerves healthy, so you can enjoy being active at the beach and counterbalance the drying qualities of the elements that are often at the beach, such as wind, sun and salt.
4. Drink good quality water when you’re thirsty, listen to your bodies signals for hydration.
5. Finally, enjoy your time in the elements, outdoors and at the beach! Nourish your skin, your body, stay hydrated and well oiled inside and out and make the most of the healthy vitamin D that sunshine offers, being aware to spend extended times in the sun during morning or afternoon rather than mid day. Look after your skin, your heart and longevity.