Ayurvedic Ways to Honor How You Feel and Release Repressed Emotions
How we react to things is a deeply personal matter. Whether it's a global affair or an intimate event, the impacts of every situation vary person to person. As Ayurveda explicitly believes, we are all unique beings with our own exclusive constitutions. The energies of our environments manifest in each of us differently, causing us all to act, respond, and simply be in different ways.
But despite our differences, there are endless tools, techniques, and practices that bring us ease and respite—individually and collectively. It's important to explore these ways as they help to alleviate any repressed emotions, be it anxiety, fear, or anything else. Ayurveda believes that inhibited emotions can lead to illness, discomfort, and even disease. "Repressed emotions create an imbalance of vata," writes Ayurvedic practitioner Dr. Vasant Lad, "which in turn affects agni, the body's auto-immune response." Furthermore, Lad writes that emotions should always be "observed with detachment and then allowed to dissipate."
We've rounded up several of our favorite ways to fully express, release, honor, and ease our emotions. Some of these may seem obvious, others a bit more esoteric, but one thing is absolute: Doing these practices consistently has resulted in cumulative positive results for us. We hope they do the same for you.
(Editor's note: For the latest news and information on the current health crisis and ways to stay healthy, please visit the World Health Organization.)
Make Sense with Scents
Aromatherapy—the therapeutic use of essential oils inhaled or absorbed through the skin—is extensively practiced throughout the world. Practitioners in India and China use it to heal both body and spirit. Western science has deemed it an effective treatment for pain, as well as a positive therapy for depression, anxiety, and other ailments. It's a staple in wellness routines and a holistic beauty treatment.
Ease Tension with a Kansa Wand
Ayurveda recognizes 107 specific energy points throughout the body. These mystic points, referred to as Marma Points, connect to nerve endings and organs, correlating with physical and mental aspects, from energy balance to lymphatic drainage. A Kansa Wand can help to enhance stimulation of the facial Marma Points, which significantly eases tensions, reduces inflammation, and improves lymphatic drainage. The wand’s copper—a revered metal in Ayurveda for its detox properties—helps to naturally neutralize free-radical damage to the skin. We also love it for how it feels and offers us a soothing, calming moment to take a minute.
Make Nourishing Foods—the Ayurvedic Way
The operative word here is make. When we cook our own foods, we connect with the healing powers of the ingredients. We also are empowered to cook with better, more nutritious foods when we see and feel them at the source. Ayurveda looks to food as having wisdom and power; a way to ease any ailments, prevent disease, ignite our energy. So what constitutes Ayurvedic foods, you might ask? To quote Divya Alter, Ayurvedic chef and cookbook author, Ayurvedic foods are "fresh, local, predominantly plant based, nutrient rich, easy to digest, satisfying, energizing, healing, balancing, selected, and prepared accordingly to your individual needs." Finding time in the kitchen to chop, mix, toss, and blend beautiful ingredients is also a way to slow down, pay attention to how we feel, and connect. (This above Tridoshic Sweet Potato Pesto Pizza, courtesy of Sahara Rose, is one of our favorite go-to recipes for a cozy time spent staying in. )
Strike a (Yoga) Pose
It's an ancient practice that modern research touts as an essential way to improve cognitive function, reduce anxiety, stress, and depression, and boost emotional and spiritual health. Yoga improves mindfulness while it simultaneously "helps to boost compassion, gratitude, and flow states, all of which contribute to greater happiness," writes Harvard medical researchers. The reasons to practice are endless, but what consistently attracts us to do yoga is its ease and accessibility: It can be done anytime and anywhere. Alone or together. With loads of time or only a few minutes. And given your personal physical abilities and preferences, the variations and types make it an option for most anyone. Yoga also provides a grounded moment to meditate.