AYURVEDA ON REDUCING STRESS
STRESS or SAHASA?
Stress is a psychosomatic disorder with many causes in our lives. We experience stress when we get stuck in a traffic jam, when we wait in a long line in a store and rush to see a doctor, or when we are dealing with a demanding problem at work. The most common cause of stress is the feeling of having too much work and too little time and vice versa. The next cause is unemployment, pollution, and crime. Even regular watching of inappropriate content on TV accumulates stress. An unhappy partnership, a dominant marriage partner, school exams, burn-out syndrome or CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome), exhaustion as a result of taking on more work than you can handle, the list is almost endless. It can be said that stress is caused by environmental factors and many emotional deviations that cause anxiety, sadness, pain, rage, or anger. Sahasa, i.e. stress, reduces immune resistance (ojahksa/s) and thus susceptibility to a wide variety of diseases.
BIOLOGICAL CONSEQUENCES OF STRESS
The HHA-hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal gland is under the constant pressure of stress hormones, adrenaline, and cortisol, which causes systemic inflammation, allergies, asthma, herpes, high cholesterol, increased or too low blood pressure. All this leads to problems in the balance of the three doshas vata, pitta, and kapha, depending on the individual's prakriti - constitution at birth.
IMPACT OF STRESS ON INDIVIDUAL DOSHAS
It is generally accepted that individuals of the vata type most often develop stress reactions due to exacerbated vata such as anxiety, nervousness, fear, or even phobias. Fire increases during stressful situations in individuals of the pitta type. They are characterized by reacting to stress with bile, with anger, talking aggressively, or aggressive actions, and with irritability. They can suffer from high blood pressure, gastrointestinal ulcer, migraine, constant headaches, purulent colitis, or elevated acidity. In individuals of the kapha type, when under stress, the functioning of the thyroid gland decreases, metabolism slows down and blood sugar increases, which eventually leads to diabetes. They are prone to overeating, so they grow the bacteria Firmicutes, which increases body weight because it converts the calories consumed into adipose tissue instead of energy.
Stress is known in Ayurveda as sahasa. To prevent the accumulation of stress, the first defensive measure is to remain calm and cool in potentially stressful circumstances, which is easier said than done. In the following lines, you will find some tips that you can practice daily, since most often we are not even aware of stress, and its effects are deposited in our bodies in the long term, and if we do not remove them we can develop a disease.
BREATHING AND YOGA
Breathing should be long and deep. When inhaling, hold your breath for 5 seconds and exhale the stress with the abdominal prefix. Repeat at least twenty times. Relax. Ayurveda also recommends a variety of breathing techniques such as pranayama, nadi shodhana, ujjayi, shiitali kumbhaka, brahmari and others.
Yoga combines mind and body. The ancient sage Patanjali says about yoga as follows: "Yoga has always been a practice of mental development with the aim of experiencing expanded consciousness and enlightenment." The results are encouraging as they prove that the practice of yoga is associated with neuroplastic changes in brain structure and function. Yoga has been proven to alleviate mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic disorder.
Yoga helps to reduce everyday stress and achieve a state of deep relaxation. When stressed, the central nervous system triggers the release of adrenaline and cortisol, which prepare the body for a state of struggle and flight, causing psychophysical overload. With the relaxation of the body, controlled breathing, and a focused mind, yoga helps to calm the central nervous system. It also controls the release of happiness hormones such as serotonin and dopamine.
Every day we do twelve repetitions of Surya Namaskar or twelve greetings to the sun. Surya Namaskar affects the strength of the heart, increases circulation in the body, stretches and strengthens all muscles, and affects the joints.
SOOTHING AND REVITALIZING BATH
A bath of ginger and bicarbonate soda soothes. Put 1/3 cup ginger powder and 1/3 cup baking soda in a hot bath.
In the West, herbalists recommend a horsetail bath. Horsetail bath has always been considered the best kidney detoxifier. It contains a lot of silicon, which is called the mineral of youth. It perfectly stimulates sweating, as toxins leave the body through the skin, which is our largest innervated organ.
Soak 100 g of horsetail in 3 l of water overnight. The next day, boil for 20 minutes. If you forget to soak it, cook it for 1 hour. Horsetail contains 10% mineral substances and 50-60% silicic acid or silicates. It is traditionally used to accelerate the excretion of urine in diseases of the kidneys and urinary tract. Silicic acid is leached by cooking during boiling. Once cooked, strain it and carefully pour it into very hot water in a bath. Before the bath and in the bath, drink water as if you were in the sauna. You can be up to the neck or to the armpits in the bath. The water must be above the kidneys and liver. Bathe for at least 20 minutes.
MASSAGE AND SELF-MASSAGE FOR RELAXATION
Treat yourself to a revitalizing Ayurvedic massage with warm oils. You can also do it yourself. Before bedtime, rub a little Brahmi oil into the soles of the feet and scalp. Put a drop of castor oil (without preservatives) in each eye and rub it into the soles of the feet for a soothing, calming effect. Self-massage or abhyanga is also extremely beneficial and healing. Rub warm oil into the body from the feet to the head. Vata type individuals should use sesame oil, pitta type individuals should use sunflower or coconut oil, and kapha type should use corn oil. After the massage, take a hot shower or bath. It helps detoxify the body and draws toxins (ames) from the surface of the skin.
FOOD - HERBS, METALS, AND MINERALS
When we are under stress, we do not consume heavy, hot, too salty, and fermented foods. Light, warm, and liquid food will caress the metabolic and digestive organs. Of course, the food must be fixed on your prakriti. Ayurveda recommends some indispensable herbs and other micronutrients called rasayana. It can be said that rasayana is a therapy that helps maintain and promote health. It means the nutrition of cells at the micro and macro level to avoid disease processes.
Meditation is often referred to as a solution to stressful situations. Because it has many positive effects on the body, mind, and spirit, it is an indispensable and versatile practice that is recommended as a daily routine for everyone. Meditating on a daily basis will not only alleviate the effects of previous stress, but it will also put us in the center and strengthen our minds, making it easier for us to deal with everyday situations that may have been stressful before. During meditation, the brain stops processing information. The Beta wave of our brain slows down. For most people, the most difficult thing is to tame a fleeing mind. We can use a simple technique to focus attention on inhalation and exhalation. Breathing is one of the functions of our body that works without the control of our thoughts and mind. For proper meditation, we do not need music or guidance because we can guide ourselves through concentration on inhalation and exhalation, which begins in the center of our body, therefore, in the abdomen. We breathe with the diaphragm and exhale by pulling the abdomen inward from the exhalation to exhale as much air as possible. We breathe in whenever we need oxygen, it happens spontaneously, and we exhale slowly, in our own unique rhythm.
UNDERSTANDING AND ACCEPTANCE
We divide what causes us stress into two categories: what we can do and what we can't do. In the latter, it is important to accept things with understanding. It is not necessary to change things, it is necessary to understand them, and as such, they will no longer cause us a "constant flight of thought" and pain. The next step from understanding is acceptance. When we understand, we also accept lightly, without accusations or bad temper. Only then will we be calm. Stress is often the result of fear, which is largely based on imagination. Let's look at our negative thinking and replace it with positive. Only a change in the way of thinking or in the attitude can alleviate a large part of the stress.
Bilka Baloh is an independent researcher and a counselor for a healthy and balanced diet, a scholar of Ayurveda, a lecturer and mentor for therapeutic fasting. She is committed to mountains, climbing, yoga, and meditation. She is a visionary who sets her goals high. Her life motto is " Never give up!” She believes that there are no coincidences and that everything in the universe is “on the key.” That life is a predetermined plan we receive at birth and cannot be avoided.
“But we can partially amend it, improve it – by a healthy lifestyle and by ethically sound action towards fellow human beings, animals, nature, and the whole creation. Working on personal development is a healing of past wounds as well as a remedy because all diseases derive from unresolved conflicts that are deeply rooted in our subconsciousness. When we make them aware, when we express our fears, repressed feelings, anger, and distress, we do not only redeem ourselves but also redeem our loved ones. And the key we are all looking for is love for ourselves.''
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