No doubt these are stressful times we live in. Every day our bodies, minds and spirits are all subjected to the ravages of stress. Worries about job security, emotional traumas and economic difficulties weigh on many of us.
The healing art of Ayurveda, which originated in India, literally means “life science” and is considered to be an alternative form of medicine in the western world. However, many of its practices are believed to alleviate and reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
According to Ayurveda, there are three different manifestations of day-to-day stress, mental, emotional, and physical, each requiring different approaches and therapies.
In the West, we don't usually dwell on the distinctions between our reactions to stress—we tend to focus on general coping solutions applicable to all, such as a hot bath, a long walk, or a day at the beach. But with Ayurveda, stress reduction hinges on a complex understanding of each individual person. Since no two people handle setbacks the same way, everyone requires a different stress-relief strategy: What might work for one would not for another. Ayurveda provides specific lifestyle, dietary, herbal, and yogic solutions for each individual that can not only diffuse tension but also help build a foundation for lasting peace of mind.
Yoga's sister science of Ayurveda is a system of healing that integrates basic physiology, emotional disposition, and spiritual outlook, then presents all three in the context of the universe itself. Dating back 5,000 years to the ancient Sanskrit texts the Vedas, Ayurvedic theory takes nearly every conceivable stress influence into consideration—from seasonal and planetary changes that affect our well-being to subtle bodily impurities that can precipitate disease. It also sheds light on the thought patterns and physical tendencies that make stress either a constant stumbling block or a non-issue, depending on how well we understand ourselves.