Anxiety and worry are a natural part of life. We live in the world and life goes up and down. Some people bounce back while for others it is a lot harder. If your doash is vata or if you have a vata imbalance then you could well be one of the ones that find it harder to bounce back.
According to Ayurveda the body is divided into three parts and each part is dominated by one of the three doshas, vata, pitta and kapha. Vata is in the upper part of the body and is related to the brain, lungs, stomach, circulation and the nervous system. Worry and anxiety are therefore vata conditions. When you think about it, it all makes sense. We hold our thoughts in our mind, but we also hold our worry in our stomach. We churn our emotions round and round, tense and hold our stomach until we are "worried sick". We also breath faster and higher in our chest or we may even hold our breath. Any one of these can lead to other vata disorders such as sleeplessness, headaches, poor memory, asthma or a dry cough. These are all signs that our vata and more specifically out prana, our vital life force, needs attention.
There are many ways to bring balance to vata. Diet, meditation, stability, relaxation and moisture are all beneficial. Aromatheraphy is also highly beneficial. Vata is air so when we inhale and exhale we are directly influencing our vata. The essential oils listed below are specifically for balancing vata if you are feeling anxious, worried or have any of the side effects mentioned above.
The easiest method is by having a bath. Water is one of the best therapies for vata so lying in a warm bath of aromatic essential oils is a sure way to bring stability to your mind and nervous system. Play around with different combinations until you find a few that you like, but remember each day is different so what was right for you yesterday might not be the same for today. Go with your instincts.
- hyssop (do not use if pregnant or if you have epilepsy)
- cardamon (do not use if you have ulcers or high pitta)
Another great practice that all doshas should be doing is self massage. The skin is the biggest organ of the body so a massage is a fantastic way for the healing properties of the oils to be absorbed into the body. Chose from the oils listed below and add them to some sesame oil. Heat them until they are warm and massage them in. Use long strokes along your limbs and circular movements on your joints. It can be a bit messy and dangerous so be careful not to slip. It's best to but a towel down and socks on once you have finished. You can leave the oil on overnight or sit quietly for 20-30 minutes and wash it off. The longer you sit the more relaxed you will become. Put on some relaxing music and just lay down and enjoy the experience.
- rosemary (do not use if pregnant or if you have epilepsy)
- brahmi (be careful if you have very sensitive skin)
Another simple way to use oils is in an oil burner. Add a few drops of one or more of the oils to some water and do something that brings you peace and happiness. Do yoga, meditate, read, write, sing, draw, paint, knit. Whatever it is, it should be something that takes you away from your thoughts and quietens the mind. Do something that brings more sattva to your life.
Try these simple techniques and see how you feel. Do them regularly and you should see a reduction in your stress levels. Take time out to look after yourself and you will feel better for it.