6 Ayurvedic Practices For Emotional Cleansing
We care for our bodies in many ways, but nourishing meals, regular exercise, and routine check-ups aren’t our only sources of health and happiness. Our minds carry emotional imprints that can affect our well-being, too.
These days, feeling lousy is the status quo. But it doesn’t have to be. Emotional cleansing rituals help release old feelings and traumas that hold us back, so we can live fully and with joy — in other words, emotional cleansing helps balance Vata, Pitta, and Kapha in the body and mind.
“Emotional cleansing practices help clients live happier, more fulfilling, healthier lives,” says Veena of Saumya Ayurveda. “And that – is positively contagious.”
What is Emotional Cleansing?
Emotional cleansing is the process of releasing accumulated mental “yuck.” Pranayama, yog-asana, and other Ayurvedic lifestyle tools help instill a sense of balance, well-being, and vitality in their place.
Emotional imbalances manifest differently in every person. Pitta-type emotions may manifest as impatience, irritability, explosiveness, and burning digestion. Vata, on the other hand, may present as sleep troubles, depression, intense stress, exhaustion, and constipation.
Benefits of Emotional Cleansing with Ayurveda
- Relieves chronic anxiety, stress, trauma or PTSD
- Access higher states of consciousness
- Sets the foundation for physical healing and wellbeing
- Reduces and softens non-productive emotions
How do we begin the emotional cleansing process?
We start by simply observing. Through ongoing awareness and practice, we become the witness to how the doshas manifest in the present moment. (“Oh, that’s just Pitta talking.”) By being the witness and observing the dosha manifesting, we create a healthy space between the rising emotion, and that reduces reactivity and overwhelm.
We don’t do laundry once; we wash our clothes when we need it. Emotional cleansing is a lifestyle practice — not something you do once or twice a year.
6 Ayurvedic Lifestyle Practices for Emotional Cleansing
In today’s world, we consider stress a part of life. But stress creates physical and mental diseases. Our breath connects our body and our busy mind – and when we change our breath, we change our lives. In Ayurveda, Prana is the animating force. Today, pranayama is widely taught as exercises of the physical breath, often used as preparation for meditation. But far beyond the modern yoga studio understanding – pranayama is a vast exploration of depth and subtleties.
Pranayama for Emotional Cleansing
Many want to jump to fancy “advanced” pranayama – but it’s risky to attempt powerful techniques before establishing the habit of diaphragmatic breathing. First, establish a daily practice of diaphragmatic breathing over six to twelve months. Use our guided practices each day to help you develop this breath and to relax and rejuvenate your nervous system, mind, and whole being. In time, diaphragmatic breathing becomes res-established as the healthy way to breathe. Nadi Shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing, can be introduced in tandem.
Getting Started: Diaphragmatic breathing and pranayama for beginners.
Once you’ve established a steady core practice, other techniques can be considered. Two beneficial pranayama for emotional cleansing is Kapalbhati (Skull Shining breath) and Bhramari (Humming Bee breath). Performing these pranayamas correctly, in the proper sequence and duration, requires experienced guidance.
Yoga-asana for emotional cleansing
In our busy, stressful world – most people need to rejuvenate, relax, and ground. Practice Savasana and Viparita Karani once or twice daily for emotional cleansing on all levels. Yoga-asana, with its gentle postures, if done regularly, increases vitality and balance of body and mind.
- Corpse Pose/Savasana: Lie on a firm, flat surface with the spine, neck, and head in alignment. Arms flat, palm-up beside your body. Activate your relaxation response with this 11-minute systemic relaxation meditation.
- Viparita Karani/Legs-up-the-Wall: Begin seated beside an open wall. Gently lower your torso to the ground while lifting your legs up the wall, forming an “L” shape with your body. Dip into a state of grounded calm with this 2-minute relaxation meditation.
Abhyanga helps eliminate toxins (ama) physically and mentally by bringing a sense of calm, rejuvenating the mind and body, and balancing the doshas. Learn how to cleanse emotionally with this guide to Abhyanga self-massage.
In Ayurveda, the nostrils are a gateway not only to the sinuses – but to the mind and consciousness itself. Nasya oil treatment cleanses and supports this natural gateway.
Applying herbalized nasya oil balances the qualities, experiences, and symptoms of the mind and emotions. The correct oil will ground, soothe, and help focus aggravated Vata, while another blend will cool Pitta’s hot head.
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