Ayurveda: The Path To Female Empowerment
This past year has been an incredible evolution in my practice as an Ayurvedic Clinician. More and more women are stepping forward and asking for help – from a place of strength and inner knowing that has been a long time coming and a long time ignored. They no longer want to “just keep moving,” “have it all” or “stick it out for the betterment of _________ (fill in the blank).” They have nothing to prove and quite frankly they don’t care – they’re done with that paradigm. These women, of all ages and backgrounds, want their health back, their minds back and their souls to lead the way. They have concluded that all the information they have been fed about what it means to be a woman through social media, magazines and YouTube videos is a material world illusion and the result of marketing that does nothing but hold them back because when a woman roars it is loud, deep and profound.
Ayurveda and its core principles are helping women tackle the physical, mental-emotional and spiritual layers that have been covered with debris for most of their adult lives. As the sacred Vedic text the Charaka Samhita says (Sutrasthana Chapter 1, Sloka 43):
“As it is beneficial to mankind in respect of both the worlds (i.e. this life and the life beyond), Ayurveda, the most sacred and honoured by those proficient in the Vedas will now be expounded.”
This quote alone provides the understanding that Ayurveda is not just a healing modality while we dwell in this body, in this lifetime, but as the most sacred of the traditional Vedas because it does good, creates balance, for all personkind in respect to their present life as well as the life beyond. This is precisely what women are craving – balance in this life and in the life beyond.
“All we are doing is drinking tea and eating berries,” I tell my current group of ladies that are part of my yearlong sangha program called The Ayurvedic Woman. They chuckle and with wide eyes are still amazed at how simple and easy it can be. It’s a joke amongst us but seriously, not a joke at all – it CAN be simple.
Many women I see in my practice weekly are dealing with digestive issues, brain fog, anxiety, depression and overall lack of energy. They feel drained, disempowered and have had physical and emotional pain that they have come to accept as part of everyday life- just plain normal. Ayurveda creates a “new normal” I share with them and this is how….
- Ayurvedic practices cleanse the gut.
- Ayurvedic practices restore a symbiotic and profound relationship between the gut and the brain – thus clearing out the fog.
- Ayurvedic practices create calm space for the mind and spirit so we can tap into our true self and understand the gifts we have to bring forth in the world.
There are daily practices, known as the Dinacharya, that are simple to implore that help with resetting the body, a variety of herbal regimens that support a positive gut-brain connection and lifestyle routines such as yoga, meditation, pranayama and Ayurvedic diet that create a deep connection between a balanced constitution and the burgeoning empowered woman that is ready to live her Dharma. Until we get the physical body on the right path we cannot connect to our spiritual calling and practice. It is just plain logic.
Cleaning out our nasal passages, oil pulling and scraping the tongue may seem like a simple yet oddly different way of starting your morning bathroom routine but, guess what? It works. Drinking tea made up of cumin, coriander and fennel seeds may not be the popular item on the menu at the local coffee shop but, guess what? It works. Eating berries – Amalaki, Haritaki and Bibhitaki may be a total and complete foreign language but, guess what? That works too.
Whenever I do a consultation for a woman and provide recommendations I try to keep it simple and say: “just focus on one thing.” Why one thing? Because we want to make the one thing a habit and then when it is we do another ONE thing and so on. Soon, those “one things” add up to many things and before we know it there is a new routine in place and a shift in lifestyle. Just from doing one thing.
So what can that ONE thing be? Here are a few to get you started:
- Drink CCF Tea: Cumin, Coriander, and Fennel. These three herbs aid digestion and are beneficial to all three doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
- Take Triphala Each Evening: Three berries –Amalaki, Haritaki and Bibhitaki has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. It’s thought to support bowel health and aid digestion. As an antioxidant, it’s also thought to detoxify the bodyand support the immune system.
- Rub Oil On You Body Daily: Known in Ayurveda as Abhyanga or self oil massage, this practice is great for calming and soothing the entire nervous system, increasing energy and stamina by stimulating the metabolism, nourishing the muscles and skin, flushing toxins and promoting deep sleep. All from rubbing oil on the body? Yes! Choose an oil that is specific to your dosha.
- Put Oil In Your Mouth A Swish It Around: In Ayurveda we call this oil pulling. Typically used with coconut or sesame oil, the benefits are numerous: kills bacteria in the mouth, reduces bad breath, reduces inflammation and sensitivity in the mouth and improves gum health. All you need is a tablespoon of oil and 15 minutes of your time. Just swish.
- Scrape Your Tongue: Using a tongue scraperyou can more effectively remove built up bacteria from the surface of your tongue and increase the quality of your oral hygiene. Tongue scrapers should be gold, silver or copper for best results.
- Use Nasya Oil: The use of nasya oil (an herbal infused oilwhich is both nurturing and nourishing) that is administered through the nostrils, supports the sinus passages, nose, throat, and head.
- Get Up With The Sun & Meditate: Considered the auspicious time of the day, waking up at sunrise and meditating for 15-20 minutes (or even 5 minutes) sets the intention for the day and clears the brain of fog. Let yourself take a breath before the day gets rolling and you have forgotten your name by 4pm J
- Go To Sleep By 9:30/10PM: Sufficient sleep in Ayurveda is a baseline for all health. Staying up late disturbs your digestive system and the detoxification process that happens between 10pm and 2am. If you stay up too late chances are you will wake up feel sluggish, bloated and fuzzy in the mind. Get to bed, stop scrolling on your phone and enjoy the magic of a good night’s rest.
This list is hardly extensive but it is a great place to start. The women I work with have done some, if not all, of these practices and slowly see the veil of illusion lifted. They are feeling better and as a result are rising up to their calling, speaking their truth and breaking down doors they thought were permanently shut. The wisdom of Ayurveda gave them a new way of being in the world – one that comes from an inner knowing – the one that the Universe intended for them to hear since the day they were born. It is a process – always a marathon and never a sprint – but one that has transformed lives, “one thing” at a time.