Stress is a fact of daily life.
Many of us also experience the effects of trauma, which can exacerbate stress and anxiety. While in some cases, you might not be able to change the current situation you’re in, Ayurveda has dietary and lifestyle practices to build physical and mental resiliency!
Stress and resiliency is a complicated subject, but we break it all down for you here:
Genetics also play a part in how your body responds to stress. Some people typically experience steady emotional levels, while others are quickly in a state of fight or flight. Life experiences, such as traumatic events, childhood neglect or abuse, violent attacks and certain occupations like soldiers, police officers, aid workers and firefighters, are particularly vulnerable to high stress, even once they are out of a dangerous situation.
Ayurveda and Stress: Concept #1 — Daily Self Care Regimen
Ayurveda’s number one recommendation to build resiliency and, consequently, immunity (which is incredibly important right now!) is to adopt a daily self care regimen. In the Ayurvedic text Caraka Sutra Sthana Chapter 5, there are recommendations for daily practice that strengthen immunity and resiliency.
Caraka Sutra’s Daily Practices for a Healthy Life
- Anjana (Collyrium) – Wash your eyes daily with purified, diluted Triphala water. This practice balances Kapha.
- Dhumapana (Inhalation of smoke) Inhaling smoke from herbal smudge bundles has a therapeutic drying effect.
- Nasya (Nasal oil) – Put several drops of Anu Oil in your nose to help strengthen the nasal passages, ears and eyes.
- Head and Ear Oil Usage – Massage Triphaladi Oil onto your scalp, neck, and ears to help strengthen the head region.
- Mouth and Tongue Cleaning – Use herbal powders such as Dasanakanti Churnam for a clean and healthy mouth.
- Gandusha (Oil pulling) – Use Valiya Arimedas Tailam daily as an oral gargle to strengthen the jaw and voice and improve your taste buds.
- Abhyanga (Therapeutic massage) – Massage yourself with Dhanwantaram Oil to strengthen the physical body, relieve stress and improve immunity.
- Snana (Bath) – Take a warm bath or shower after Abhyanga to relieve fatigue and remove excess oil.
Ayurveda and Stress: Concept #2 — Daily Diet
The main purpose of Ayurveda is explained by the concept of Svastha (sva = my own self, stha = to be situated), which translates to be balanced in one’s true self. Your ‘true self’ is when your dosas are in a normal state of equilibrium and you feel your absolute best.
Ayurveda tells us the number one cause of disease is poor digestion and the one of the main causes of poor digestion is eating too little or eating too much, depending on one’s digestive strength.
Caraka Sutra Sthana Chapter 5 has dietary recommendations to improve digestive strength, which ultimately builds resiliency to stress.
Related Article: Indukantam – A Ray of Hope for Increasing ImmunityCaraka Sutra’s Diet Recommendations:
- Eat a moderate quantity of food. The unique amount that is healthy for you depends on the strength of your agni (digestive fire). Consult an Ayurvedic practitioner for assistance in planning the size of your meals.
- An easy concept to follow when wondering how much to eat is to fill your stomach 1/3 - 1 / 2 with heavy foods and 1/2 - 3/4 with lighter foods. Foods that are cooked have the predominant qualities of vayu (air) and agni (fire). Heavy foods, such as raw salad, root vegetables, dairy cheese and yogurt have heavy qualities of prithvi (earth) and jala (water).
- Eat fresh, cooked, wholesome meals. Cooking lightens food and increases the qualities of vayu (air) and agni (fire).
- Regularly eat shali rice (basmati or japonica), lentils or mung beans, rock salt, amla, barley, water, cow milk, ghee, and honey.
- Foods that are heavy to digest include wheat, rice, flatbreads, dried vegetables, root vegetables, cheese, yogurt, buttermilk, black beans, kidney beans and wild barley.
To gain the most benefit from Caraka’s recommendations, we suggest consulting an Ayurvedic doctor or practitioner for a personalized assessment. We all have different strengths and weaknesses and the science of Ayurveda has ways of measuring each person’s current state of health.
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