Managing Stress, Anxiety and Fear with Ayurveda and Yoga
At some point in our lives most of us will experience some form of stress or feeling of fear that can lead to anxiety or depression. It doesn't matter who you are or how old you are, anyone at any point in time can have feelings of loneliness, incapability to achieve goals, overwhelmed, resentment, anger and sadness. All these negative thoughts and emotions can have a draining effect on the mind and body leaving us feeling sluggish and unable to sometimes get up and face the world. In the presence of others our negative words and actions can then be passed on to the next person who then passes it on to other causing a chain of negativity.
Firstly it is important to remember it is OK not to be OK. We are only human after all. And at times when we do feel like this you must remember it isn't forever. Some are lucky to just snap out of such thoughts and feelings where as other will need a little help.
As mentioned before we focus on the importance of routine to help bring back balance to the body and mind. We use Ayurveda to the heal the body and maintain good health and we use yoga for the mind.
According to Ayurveda, anxiety is cause when Vata has accumulated in the nervous system. Because Vata is associated with the space and air elements its qualities are light, dry, mobile, rough, clear and cold. These qualities are similar to that of Autumn and Winter hence why some people can feel worse during these months, but does not mean they don't experience such feelings in summer. When Vata has accumulated in the Mano vaha srota, the channel of the mind, those who suffering with anxiety may notice that thoughts become unclear, chaotic and merge into other thoughts. They may struggle with insomnia or struggle to fall asleep easily. They also may start to pull their hair out or bit their nails as a nervous habit.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic unfortunately there has been an increase in anxiety in all age groups including children, with an increase in thoughts of suicide and actual suicides. This is no ones fault but there are ways to manage anxiety.
Routine is important for all especially those that have a vata imbalance. In this case the ideal time to wake up is around 7am if not earlier and be in bed by 11pm. Do not skip meals or fast. Favour warm, nourishing and grounding foods. Favour sweet, sour and salty tastes. Avoid spicy, bitter and astringent tastes. Spices such as cinnamon, fennel, ginger, cumin and cardamom are great to balance vata. Brahmi is also a beneficial herb to relax the active mind. Avoid reading or watching the news especially in this day and age where information is so easy to access and we have a tendency to keep looking. Avoid watching TV or looking at your mobile devices at least an hour before going to bed. If practicing yoga hold poses for at least 3-5 breathes and relax at the beginning, in between poses and a long relaxation at the end. Favour alternate nostril breathing to balance the mind.
Great mantras to over come fear and anxiety include Ganesha Mantra, "Om gahta-traah-saaya namaha", the literal meaning is "O Lord Ganesha, Please re-move the anxiety caused by us". Shanti Mantra, "Om Shanti Om", this mantra helps us appreciate by wishing peace to all. And my favourite is the Chattra Chakkra Vartee which removes fear, anxiety, depression, insecurity and phobias by installing courage, fearlessness and brings victory:
Chattra Chakkra Vartee
Chattra Chakkra Bhugatay
Sarab Daa Saraab Jugatay.
Sadaa Ang Sangay
For those that are struggling through such a unusual time for us all, please do be kind to yourself and others. Working from home and home schooling was probably not part of the plan, but remember when you are feeling angry or upset those in your household will be experiencing it too. Take time away from the laptop, away from the text books and maybe take a walk outside even if you were meant to be doing maths at that time. Call that friend who you would normally visit. Don't let anxiety and stress take over you and your family. Learn to listen without judgement and respect yourself and others. We are all unique and beautiful in our own special ways. If you do not believe in others choices just walk away. There is no need for mean words. If you do not believe what the media is telling you, turn off the tv. I wish you all the best and if you would like most tips and advice to help with anxiety, grief or depression please do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.