FIVE Simple Steps you can take to Decrease Vata-Anxiety and Increase Immmunity and Sattva-Contentment during this unique time
The ancient science of Ayurveda has much to teach us about keeping our selves healthy. The emphasis in Ayurveda on a rhythmical approach to life has been corroborated by science—researchers working on human circadian/daily rhythms were awarded the Nobel Prize!
So, The FIRST thing Ayurveda recommends is sticking, especially now, like GLUE, to a daily schedule. Get out of bed at the same time (or within half an hour of the same time), eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same times. Exercise at the same time and meditate at the same time. This will vastly increase your sattva and reduce Vata-related anxiety. Vata is the dosha of inconstancy, restless movement, and change. It is necessary, of course, and some would say change defines our human life. YET, we need to BALANCE it.
The SECOND practice Ayurveda would recommend is daily abhyanga/self-massage, preceded by dry brushing.
For this ritual, you only need a soft brush and a small bottle (spray bottle would be good) of sesame, almond or coconut oil. Before showering lightly dry brush your skin all over. After dabbing dry when your shower is over, massage very SMALL amounts of the oil into your still damp skin—long stokes over long bones, round circles around joints. Do your best to reach everywhere. Give your skin five minutes or so to “eat” the oil. The skin really WILL absorb it. Then get dressed. We may not be able to receive massage or give massage right now, but we can still give ourselves massage. The Sanskrit word for this is abhyanga. It is so essential right now.
The THIRD simple step you can take to increase contentment and decrease anxiety is to get 7-8 hours of good quality, stage four sleep. We have good evidence now that the lymphatic system in the brain needs deep sleep to cleanse itself. The nervous system, especially now, needs this stage of sleep to recover from the day’s activities, thoughts and emotions, too. Use an eyemask and earplugs if necessary. UNPLUG from all screens at least an hour before bed, don’t sleep with your phone by your head, use melatonin or magnesium supplements with discernment. Try warm golden turmeric (nut) milk before bed to help guide you to sweet, deep dreamy sleep.
FOURTH, nourish your mind and ears NOT with the daily (bad) news. Instead, look for uplifting fiction or non-fiction to read or listen to. I’m thinking of intelligent podcasts, books that are not all doom and gloom, spiritual diaries and/or spiritual texts. The Yoga Sutras or the Bhagavad Gita are good choices. Also seek out any music that moves you deeply and that you enjoy and perhaps can even get you up and dancing.
FINALLY, nourish your body with whole foods, plant based meals. The science is so very strong showing us that a plant-based diet gives the best health, long-term of all the crazy fads that have come and gone over the years. Of course, if you are lactose or gluten intolerant (and you can be tested or follow an elimination diet to see), cut out dairy and wheat (and other grains containing gluten). Of course, if you are ethically opposed to eating animals or for other reasons want to be totally vegetarian or vegan, do so. Whatever you do, enjoy your food, eat slowly, chew well, and be sure to finish eating by 7 pm or so. That way, you can insure a “fast” of at least 12 hours (no breakfast before 7 am the next day and no snacking between meals). This fasting gives the body an essential time of rest for sorting out and assimilating what you have taken in.
Be well and stay safe! Namaste, from the highest and best in me to the highest and best in you.