How to Use Ayurveda to Relieve Stress
Our world tends to move at a fast pace, even in the midst of social distancing. It always feels as though each of us is trying to balance all aspects of our lives without regard for our health and well-being; evolving into higher stress-levels within our bodies. So how do we break this cycle within our own lives? How do we find more peace within the chaos?
This ancient, holistic system of medicine & healing derived from India more than 3,000 years ago. The basic principles upheld by this medicinal practice include the belief that health and well-being are deeply connected to the mind, body, and soul. Whether you are seeking a better relationship with the stress in your life or wanting to find resources to help you slow down and breathe, Ayurveda can be a resilient and powerful resource to tap into.
There are many studies, resources, and facts out in the world surrounding Ayurveda, so I wanted to simplify this practice with stress relief in mind. I have found that specific principles and tips within Ayurveda dissolve stress in ways that you can only understand once you experience them. So I would encourage you to try one or two of these methods each week to alleviate some of the emotional, mental, or physical stress you may be holding onto right now.
For Physical Stress
Physical stress can affect different parts of the body, but some of the most common areas where we hold tension are the back, kneck, shoulders, and jaw. A gentle yoga flow can alleviate these areas of stress, while allowing the body to regulate. My favorite form of yoga to do when I am feeling physical stress is Yin Yoga.
For Emotional Stress
Our relationship with stress can be complicated and cause emotional triggers within us. However, finding ways to relate more positively to stress when it arises can benefit your emotional well-being in the long run. The practice of gratitude journaling is one method of finding a positive and influential way to redefine your relationship with stress.
- With your favorite pen and journal, find a new page and write down 3 things you are stressed about right now.
- Once you have that list, write down 3 things you are grateful for right now.
- Choose one thing from your list of things you are grateful for and write a few sentences about why you feel gratitude around this particular person/place/thing/idea
- Carry this reflection and gratitude list into your day and return to it when you feel stress arising in your body, mind, or soul
For Mental Stress
The Ayurvedic practice of walking meditation can be an empowering method of slowing down and releasing mental stress responses in the body. I like to do this barefoot and outside if I know I am in a space that is free of any sharp surfaces. The softer the surface the better for my personal stress responses (yes, this can be different for you!). Walking meditation requires concentration on the breath and your sensory experience as you connect your feet to the earth, one foot at a time.
- Select an object in view to walk toward
- Take a few deep breaths to connect to the moment
- Take one step and observe the connection your foot makes to the earth, as well as your breathing pattern
- Take your next step and follow the same observations listed above
- Continue to walk step-by-step, slowly toward the object you chose