Calming The Nervous System With Ayurveda

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Creative Commons License photo credit: marc kjerland

The nervous system is governed by the vata dosha according to Ayurveda. Doshas are the bioenergetic systems of the body and vata is one of three doshas which make up the human system: vata controls movement, pitta provides metabolism, and kapha governs tissue, bones and lubrication.

Of course, it is actually not that compartmentalized because all the doshas are interdependent and interact with each other. When you eat, vata moves the food to the digestive system, lubricated by kapha, where pitta will do the digestion.

Vata is considered the most important dosha because it is identified with prana energy. According to Wikipedia, prana is the sanskrit word for “vital life” the life giving vital force that supports us all.  Vata governs the mind, nervous system, psychological processes, blood circulation, the somatic nervous system, and the movement of food and wastes.

Because vata not only regulates the nervous system but also our creativity, a vata imbalance negatively affects our ability to create. There are many signs of vata imbalance; one of the most important ones for highly sensitive people is anxiety. When we become anxious, the focus of our attention shifts to the cause of our anxiety. We are then unable to move forward into our creativity until the source of our anxiety is resolved. If it remains unresolved, chronic debilitating stress is the result and we can feel blocked.

Although the vata dosha is all about movement, one important cause of anxiety is too much movement or chaos in our environment. Vata needs a balance between stability and movement to be effective. Providing vata with stability helps an individual reduce and let go of anxiety, opening the door to more creative intention.  The first law of nature is survival, so safety is always the first priority. Without a feeling of safety, vata becomes bogged down; with a feeling of safety vata feels good and can flourish.

Because highly sensitive people suffer from so much chronic stress and other disorders, HSP’s need to be vigilant about keeping their vata dosha in balance. It is a challenge to find the right balance between stability and flux. The place to start is with the daily schedule.

Aurveda recommends rising before dawn, eating three meals a day with the main meal at midday when digestion is strongest, and going to bed by 10PM.

This is a simple morning routine created by Dr. Robert Svoboda of Ayurvedic Institute one of the most respected Ayurvedic schools in the United States:

  1. Wake before dawn
  2. Clear the body through elimination of wastes.
  3. Briefly wash all the sense organs to wake them up: hands, feet, face, mouth, eyes and nose.
  4. Meditate.
  5. Self massage called abhyanga with oil.
  6. Exercise: yoga would be good,
  7. Breakfast.

You can add other cleansing actions to this schedule if you would like.  Some people drink warm water first thing in the morning to get the digestion going and help elimination.  You can also do a tongue scraping, to clear toxins.  Breathing exercises can be beneficial in the morning as well, since they help to clear the head.

All of the activities are meant to clear toxins and fire up the digestive furnace. This process is a wonderful investment in self grounding, mental well being and healthy physical function. If you can do it, it will help you feel that you are starting the day on solid ground,  something that all highly sensitive people need.

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