From Fear to Love
November is a tricky time of year. When Vata winds blow and the weather starts to cool, it’s natural for feelings of fear and anxiety to be stirred. When we are on the fertility journey this time may be especially difficult and we may feel all of our fears and worries more intensely. One of my oldest mentors and teachers Marianne Williamson in her book Return to Love, shares a simple path to rid us of fear. Her advice is to simply combat it with love. She uses an image of being alone in the dark with our worries and insecurities that can often stir up anger and sadness. Her solution is to turn on the light, and allow the radiance of love to pervade and eliminate the darkness.
I recently had an incident where someone expressed disappointment towards me. Normally, I would be able to roll with it and allow myself to stay steady in the midst of the discomfort. At this time of year when Vata is high, I often find myself being extra sensitive to criticism and judgment.
My initial reaction was to be defensive to lash out. I know from many years of practice, that it is always best to sit with these feelings, to breath into them and take some time to let them settle before reacting.
In Ayurveda when we are searching for balance we apply the opposite quality. So to calm my Vata I practiced calming restorative asana, oiled my body, ate some warm food and sat in stillness. After some contemplation I remembered those brilliant words of Marianne Williamson.
I realized that the person who expressed judgment towards me was also probably feeling fear and anxiety of their own. So I reached out and instead of acting from a place of fear and self-protection, I offered them love. It was amazing how quickly and immediately the tension was eased. It was as Marianne Williamson said, like turning on the light and it dissolved all of the tension between us. They shared love back apologized and we put the incident behind us.
I felt so full after, really aware of how powerful the expression of love can be. We can use it in so many ways to heal ours selves and our relationships. When you are on the fertility journey you may be experiencing tension with your partner or family members or friends. Often it’s hard for them to understand the intensity of your emotions. If you find yourselves feeling alone or afraid, remember the power of love is there to serve you. Michelle Obama also has a great expression “When they go low, we go high”.
In order to balance our hormones and increase fertility we need to offer self-love by taking good care of ourselves and engaging in practices like abhyanga that calm our nervous systems and allow us to feel relaxed and at peace. When we are at peace, we can fully embrace the darkness of the unknown without the fear or worry. We can settle into the darkness that is coming as a place to rest and restore as we patiently await for conception.
Please read on for more information from Maria Garre on Abhyanga and oiling the body to pacify Vata. These practices are wonderful to add nourishment to the reproductive system.
With Love and more love,
OILING THE BODY
Oiling the body is on of the most nourishing practices that Ayurveda touts as one that offers strength, longevity and pacification to the body and mind.
Su. Ch V“one who moistens his head with unctuous substances daily does not suffer from headache, alopecia, greying of hair, nor do his hairs fall. By applying oil on head regularly, strength of skull-parts increase, sense organs become cheerful and face with pleasant glow along with sound sleep and happiness.” v. 81-83
“by saturating the ears with oil daily, ear disease due to Vata, stiffness of back of neck and jaws, hard hearing and deafness do not occur.” v. 84
“so by oil massage the body becomes firm, smooth-skinned,free from disturbances of Vata and tolerant of exertions andexercise.” v. 85-86“Vayu is predominant in the tactile sense organ which again islocated in the skin, oil massage is the most beneficial for skin, hence one should use it regularly.” v. 87 “endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age.” v. 88-89
“massaging of oil in feet, coarseness, stiffness, roughness, fatigue and numbness of feet are alleviated in no time. Delicacy, strength and firmness of feet, clarity of vision are attained and Vata is pacified. By massage of oil in feet, there is not occurrence of sciatica, cracking of sole and constriction of veins and ligaments.” v. 90-92
Benefits of applying oil to the whole body (Abhyanga)
- Gives strength, luster and nourishment to skin
- Decreases the effects of aging and provides longevity
- Nourishes the body
- Gives good and sound sleep
- Makes muscles, tendons and ligaments firm
- Stimulates the internal organs of the body, including circulation
- Pacifies Vata and Pitta and balances Kapha
Benefits of applying oil to the feet (Padabhyanga)
- Coarseness, stiffness, roughness, fatigue and numbness of the feet are alleviated
- Clarity of vision
- Sciatica is alleviated
- Veins and ligaments are nourished
Benefits of applying oil to head (Shiroabhyanga)
- Alleviates headaches
- Strengthens hair follicles and helps with hair fall and grey hair
- Nourishes sensory organs
- Gives face a pleasant flow
- Reduces signs of aging
Abhyanga Routine Be sure to do abhyanga in a warm place and avoid any cold drafts or being chilled afterward.
- Use ½ to 1 cup of Ayurvedic oil and transfer to a glass bottle or oil warmer to warm the oil.
- Use a large towel or sheet over the area you will be doing Abhyanga.
- Without being in a hurry, lovingly and patiently massage the oil into your entire body for about 10- 15 minutes, beginning at the extremities and working toward the middle of the body.
- The general flow of massage goes from the head to the feet. Then move up the legs to the hips. Rub the abdomen and breast/chest area. Process down the arms and finish from sacrum to the whole back.
- Start by applying oil on the scalp. Finger tips rubbing vigorously (can do a friction rub without oil as well). Oil applied to the head should be warm but not hot.
- Next begin at the soles of your feet massaging and oiling feet and working up the legs to the whole body.
- Sometimes it is best to apply base of oil to the entire body and add more as you re-visit each body part and massage with long strokes.
- Use long strokes on the limbs and circular strokes on the joints. Massage the abdomen and chest in broad, clockwise, circular motions. Long strokes are done up toward the heart.
- Karana Purna : Put a couple drops of warm oil on the tip of your little finger or on a cotton ball and apply to the opening of the ear canal. (If there is any current or chronic discomfort in the ears don’t do this until it clears.
- Nasya: Put a couple drops of warm oil on the tip of your little finger and apply to the opening and inside of the nasal passage. (If there is any current or chronic nasal congestion don’t do this until it clears.) Or, use special Nasya Oil and put 5 drops in each nostril – sniff and massage oil up the nose canal. Be sure to drop the head back.
- Massage face and neck.
- After you’ve massaged your entire body, enjoy a warm bath or shower. Be sure to wash your feet off before entering the shower. You may allow the oil to stay on the body for up to 2 hours. However, not much longer than that.
- When you get out of the shower, towel dry by patting yourself dry instead of rubbing. For an amazing finish you can apply sandalwood powder to bring luster to the skin.