Arriving in Pune, several friends have told me I have a “new glow” that they hadn’t seen before. I know what they are talking about, as I feel it inside. The glow is a newly developed energy radiating from within. Probably, at its source are this studio and my two new kittens. But another big change in my life is a new dedication to Ayurvedic stress-reduction techniques.
Ayurveda is India’s ancient healing wisdom. Ayurveda’s approach is to prevent health problems before they begin: to balance a person’s constitution so that each of us can be healthy and not have illness appear.
I have worked with Ayurvedic principles for well over a decade, but it was not until the last year that I became very serious about the daily self-care rituals that are at the heart of Ayurveda’s approach philosophy.
For me these rituals have included these three rituals:
Rising early, before sunrise. I get up about 5 am (ideally). When I do, I feel fresh most all of the day. When I don’t, I get up sluggish and that feeling doesn’t leave me. Yes, this has been rather difficult to do. It means I have to go to be early every night! But, I have become so appreciative of how I feel in the early morning hours, that it is worth turning in early.
Self-oil (abyanga): This is one of the most important things you can do – and it likely is the single biggest stress management technique I can suggest. Abyanga is a technique of self-massage using special herb-infused, warmed oil. I do it several times a week, prior to bathing. It literally soothes my frayed nervous system, helps me sleep better at night and makes me feel impervious to the stresses around me. There is something about the thin layer of oil that serves as a barrier between me and stress.
Morning Cleansing: I get rid of the toxins developed over night by scraping my tongue. It may sound weird but it feels great! You can purchase a metal tongue scraper at any of the Indian groceries on University Avenue and gently scrape your tongue 5 – 8 times before you brush your teeth. On days when I am congested or have been in polluted areas, I use a neti pot to pour warm salt water through my nose. Hear in Pune I also have been gargling with salt to keep the pollution from lodging in my throat.
These three rituals are extremely low cost and have a huge pay-off. Specifcally, they have completly altered my relationship with stress. (There are several other rituals that I do every day, which are included in this great blog piece by Katie Silcox. ) The bottom line is: I still have stress in my life, but these rituals are both empowering and energizing. I feel much better equipped to deal with the problems in life as they arise.
This Saturday afternoon, our own yoga teacher and Ayurvedic practitioner Jessie Holland will offer an comprehensive workshop on how Ayurveda can help you manage the stress in your life. She will explain the rituals I have described, and cover much more material. Book your place in this workshop today because Ladies and Gents these techniques really work!