I'm in India this summer, deepening my training in the Ayurvedic panchakarma therapies. Abhyanga (oil massage), Snehapana (internal oleation), Shirodhara (steady stream of oil to the forehead), Nasya (nasal oleation), and more, are therapies designed by Ayurveda to bring the body back to its state of inherent balance. As we've practiced giving and receiving each of these therapies over these last weeks, what has again become so clear is that our wellness depends upon our ability to cultivate a state of calm.
This might sound a little cliche or abstract, but literally our access to the Parasympathetic Nervous System (the part of the nervous system known to be responsible for 'Rest & Digest' as well as immune system functions) is made possible by our ability to deepen and slow our breath, steady our mind, and find calm.
When we cultivate and access calm, all of our bodily systems operate at their ideal capacity; digestion, elimination, sleep, immunity, detoxification, reproduction, cellular repair all benefit from a non-stressed state. This begs the question, what are we doing in our daily lives to cultivate this state of calm? And are we doing them proactively, understanding that we should not wait until we 'feel better' to do them, because they will be what makes healing possible?
The practices and therapies that cultivate calm are the subject of much of Yoga & Ayurveda. With simple teachings and routines you can be cultivating calm and optimizing your health and your happiness. You don't need to wait until you feel better, or ready, or balanced to begin these practices, you can start or re-start them wherever you find yourself today.