Love - one word that can't fully encompass such a powerful emotion and action.
It is "invisible," like the air we breathe. Just like the breath, love is what keeps most of us going and even pushes us to our spiritual and mental limits. We all have done incredible things in the name of love. Most of us probably use this word fairly often in our daily lives.
Even Ayurveda talks about love. Ayurveda offers a variety of perspectives on what love is and how it can be expressed healthily in our relationships with others and with ourselves. Ayurveda goes beyond diet and herbal remedies, and dives deeply into our inner lives. It teaches us how to have healthy spirits too.
Perhaps you're struggling with feelings of resentment toward others or yourself, or even anxiety and depression. Maybe you could even use the words rage or hate. Or maybe you just want to learn how to love even better! The following Ayurvedic practices are simply designed for inner nourishment on an emotional and mental level. Because of this, they're also healing physically to.
1. Slow down. Love is patient.
Love is a part of dharma. Dharma is our path, which hopefully we will all live following certain ideals. There are 10 qualities of a dharmic life recommended by Ayurveda for being happy - patience is the first. Practicing patience in all aspects of our lives is a key ingredient of love, health and happiness.
In our modern world we are used to instant gratification in many different parts of our lives - instant food, instant access to information, instant anything and everything. We are used to everything being done quickly - but this can be harmful to our inner peace and physical health.
Vata is the underlying Dosha responsible for the majority of diseases and sicknesses. Excess Vata from doing everything at light speed and the stress that comes from expecting everything to happen that quickly can quickly erode us. That’s why traveling wears us out and a long, stressful daily commute can cause symptoms of early aging.
Slowing down the way we move, work and talk is a great way to practice self-love and love of others. Slowing down increases Kapha Dosha and gives us a feeling of stability, nourishment and contentment.
Practicing patience with others in our lives is also one of the most powerful ways to love ourselves more and have harmonious relationships. Listen without interrupting, give thoughtful gifts just for fun, spend quality time with people without your phone and most importantly think good thoughts about the people in your life (even when they make it difficult!)
2. Practice meditation.
Sattva, the quality of balance and contentment is the natural state of our mind. The Ayurveda sages discovered three main qualities that pervade the universe around and within us, also known as the gunas. These are sattva (balance), rajas (agitation) and tamas (inertia).
When in balance, tamas helps us relax and sleep. Out of balance, however, tamas can cause us to experience depression, laziness and denial. Tamas is basically stagnant energy.
Rajas helps us get things done. It is the force of motion. But it can also lead to exhaustion and burnout, as well as tamas.
The great news is that sattva (compassion, a loving state of mind) is our true nature. Love, in this sense, is who we really are.
One of the best ways we can access our true nature as love itself is by practicing meditation. The practice of meditation allows the compassionate quality of sattva to strengthen in our minds, allowing us to experience love, and radiate it to all those we meet.
3. Spend time in nature.
Ayurveda is all about connecting us with the natural world around us. Nature is the greatest healer in Ayurveda: the herbs that come from the ground and the calming energy that radiates from trees, rivers and the ocean. Spending time in nature is one of the best ways to increase feelings of self-love.
It’s as easy as taking the time to step outside. Really observe nature. Take long walks or simply sit on your back porch. Pick up trash at the beach or at your local state park.
4. Volunteer in your community.
Giving back to the people in your community is an important practice for our own inner and outer. Something simple, from volunteering at an animal shelter to serving soup at a shelter to organizing papers for an NGO can bring a sense of peace and fulfillment.
Karma is inherent to the practice of Ayurveda. The more we give back, the more we generate positive energy in our lives. If we want more love in our lives, the best way to generate it is by giving of our time and resources.
All views and information shared here is only for the sharing of Ayurvedic knowledge. Please do not try or prescribe or take any of the remedies and suggestions here without talking to your regular, qualified doctor. Kottakkal Ayurveda and no other person associated with Kottakkal is responsible for unwanted side-effects or contraindications in your health.