We all know the feeling of anxiety: ceaseless worry and fear of the known and unknown, along with its other troublesome symptoms like insomnia. It is estimated that 40 million adults in the United States suffer from anxiety, making it the most common mental health disorder in the country.
Ayurveda considers excess anxiety an imbalance in vata dosa in manovaha srotas, the channels of the mind. When there is excess vata in the mind, anxiety usually abides. Makes sense, considering vata is comprised of the elements of air and space.
During this seasonal shift to colder, windier weather, combined with excessive thinking over the holidays or current world events, the stage is set for vata dosa aggravation. But the great sages and doctors of Ayurveda have developed holistic practices and remedies to ease even extreme anxiety through balancing the dosas.
Certain Ayurvedic herbs have been used for thousands of years to calm vata and the nervous system. One of the best known of these herbs is Brahmi. Brahmi has long been used to balance the mind and strengthen memory while reducing stress on the nervous system.
Brahmi Capsules and Brahmi Ghritam are excellent for reducing anxiety and its symptoms. Ashwagandha is another of those adaptogenic wonder herbs that works directly on calming vata in the nervous system, among dozens of other healing benefits.
Ashwagandha Arishtam and Ashwagandha Churnam are potent nervine tonics used to relieve anxiety and its unhappy companions, such as chronic fatigue, memory loss, difficulty focusing and other vata disorders.
Abhyanga is one of the best practices for balancing vata. For soothing anxiety, a sesame-based oil like Dhanwantaram Oil is ideal for its warm and nourishing qualities. Think of abhyanga with Dhanwantaram Oil like a hug from your best friend: comforting and nourishing.
Regular self-massage reduces anxiety and stress, balances the nervous system, increases immunity, strengthens muscle, joints and bones and also relieves insomnia and pain. The benefits are practically innumerable.
It’s simple to do as well: before bathing, spend about 10-15 minutes massaging the warm oil all over your body, paying special attention to your joints. Use a straight motion for the long bones and a circular motion for the joints. Read Abhyanga Body Massage – Love Yourself with Oil for more detailed instructions on how to do abhyanga.
The perfect gift for the whole family is Ayurveda’s wonder remedy: Chyavanaprasam. It’s an ancient herbal formula known to increase immunity, build strength and rejuvenate the body. The main ingredient is the Amla fruit, which is high in vitamin C and other beneficial minerals. Chyavanaprasam is a tasty herbal jam that is taken with a spoon and a cup of warm milk.
Even though meditation is an ancient practice, the benefits of reducing anxiety with consistent meditation are well documented by modern science as a benefit to the nervous system, as well as reducing chronic stress, anxiety and insomnia.
One of the best things about meditation: it’s free and requires no equipment or special teacher, and there’s no specific style or way to be “successful.”
Start by just sitting quietly in a peaceful place for five minutes with no other distractions. Increase your time by 5-minute intervals weekly or as you are comfortable. A consistent meditation practice can have positive ripple effects on your household, office and community. We can be the change we want to see in the world. Starting with meditation for inner and outer transformation is a great way to make a conscious choice to focus on what we can control-- our own actions and ability to tap into our body’s natural healing capacities.
If you or someone you know is suffering from anxiety, find solace in knowing that many other people all across the world experience anxiety and depression. You are not alone. Consulting an Ayurvedic doctor or practitioner who can help guide you in your healing process, as well as starting a meditation practice, is a powerful place to start.
Incorporate these Ayurvedic classical products and practices one at a time.
As Rumi wisely remarked, “the garden of the world has no limits, except in your mind.”
Related Article: Understanding and Healing Your Anxiety With Ayurveda
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Kottakkal Ayurveda products and this information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have serious, acute or chronic health problems, please consult a trained health professional. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained Ayurvedic practitioner or doctor, call (800) 215-9934 or email us at mailto:email@example.com and we will provide you with one of our affiliated Ayurvedic professionals. Check with your doctor before taking herbs when pregnant or nursing.
The end of the year marks the time when many families celebrate their most important holiday. And it’s also the time when stress is at its highest level and we tend to neglect our healthy daily routine. The combined stress along with heavier holiday meals and the cold wet kapha season sets the stage for kapha to increase and reduce our energy and immunity.