Creating A Serene Sanctuary for Your Holidays
The holidays are usually exciting and fun-filled. But the holidays can also be hectic, accompanied by worries and a feeling of being overwhelmed. When that happens, it’s time to retreat to your own private sanctuary, to recoup, recharge, and re-prepare both mind and body for the continuing demands of the season. It isn’t about just enduring — it’s about enjoying. To accomplish both comfortably, mind and body need to be in balance.
To help create a sanctuary, we've prepared a short list of a few time-tested Ayurvedic tips to help you create an inner and outer “mind-body sanctuary.”
Soothing oil massage – Consider starting each day with the healing ritual of abhyanga — the full-body, warm-oil Ayurvedic self-massage. It's a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. The daily massage can rev up your mind and body, help you breeze through a hectic day and help the quality of your sleep at night. Whether you use the traditional Organic Sesame Oil or an Herbal Massage Oil, abhyanga balances the mind and emotions and helps enhance your ability to withstand stress. It strengthens the physiology overall, lubricates the joints and helps the process of elimination of toxins. It's wonderful for dry winter skin, too. You can enhance the benefits of an Ayurvedic daily massage with specially-blended Youthful Skin Massage Oils. They are more easily absorbed by the skin than most regular massage oils, and because they are precise blends of Ayurvedic herbs and aromas, they rejuvenate the body quickly. The herbs in these oils support circulation and healthy nerves; help balance mind and emotions; support natural resistance to stress; support greater stamina through the day; and promote deeper sleep.
Serenity Baths: Oils Candles and Potpourris – Bath time can become a serene, fragrant, stress-melting interlude when you make aromatic healing herbs, and the exquisite aromas of pure essential oils of plants and flowers, a part of the experience. Ayurveda uses the senses to create balance in mind and body, and the sense of smell works to create balance through aromas. Washing with gentle, fragrant aromatherapy cleansing bars, specifically formulated to pacify different doshas, can help create ease. Herbal or aroma oil infusions in bath water are a time-honored way to create relaxation and calm. Try our dosha-specific blends instead of a single oil, as they have a very powerful balancing effect. Use rosemary and peppermint for an invigorating pick-me-up in the morning. Or lavender and ylang ylang for a soothing experience. Or the exotic combination of frankincense and sweet orange to feel renewed.
The Maharishi Ayurveda Aroma Oil blends are a perfect bath scent for the season — they are specifically designed to help with seasonal imbalances. How to choose? Let your nose decide. What smells good is likely the scent your body needs at any given time to bring balance. This is why our preferences, likes and dislikes change with the varying states of our bodies during different seasons. Make sure the essential oils are stirred into the bath water before you step in. If you're using herbs, wrap your favorite potpourri of fragrant dried herbs and spices in muslin and toss into the bath as it fills. You can try dried rose petals and buds, lemon and orange rind, lavender, rosemary, peppermint — experiment with all of these and more.
Aroma candles can also make bath-time or bedtime a pleasant, relaxing occasion. Use candles made from petroleum-free waxes and lead-free wicks. Candles made of vegetable wax or beeswax and pure essential oils are considered the least toxic. This is an easy way to enjoy soothing scents. Try the Slumber Time Aroma if you are bathing before bed. Light the candles a half-hour before you step into the bath to give the healing aroma time to diffuse in the room. Aroma lamps that diffuse essential oils are good alternatives. Remember to observe the usual precautions with lit candles or lamps.
Take a break — Carve out a few fifteen-minute breaks in each busy day to consciously do things to relax. The Transcendental Meditation® technique, for example, is an excellent way to combat the negative effects of stress. Or listen to uplifting music. Gandharva Veda music is considered soothing and balancing to mind and body — music such as the Rain Raga melody can help wash away the cares of the day.
Look after your digestion — Digestion is a foundation for feeling good in Ayurveda. Keeping digestion (also known as “agni,” the intelligent digestive fire) in balance is a practical, potent and wise strategy for the holidays. According to Ayurvedic experts, digestion plays a powerful role in moods, energy and your sense of ease and overall happiness. When in balance, digestion — viewed in its entirety from the eating of our food to the elimination of waste — is an overnight detox that removes accumulating toxins. It's also the key to the assimilation of nutrients from both foods and any supplements you may be enjoying. Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus) is the traditional digestive supplement, recommended daily, for balancing and strengthening digestion and elimination.
Herbal serenity support — To keep serenity a central theme of your holiday season, have these traditional Ayurvedic herbal formulations on hand:
Create a healing environment with our Calming Vata Aroma Oil. This soothing Vata-pacifying aroma blend contains a 100% pure essential oil blend of Rose Geranium, Sweet Orange, Holy Basil, Fennel and Marjoram — traditional ayurvedic plant aromas. It helps clear thinking and creates inner calm quickly.
Pure essential oils are endowed by nature with exquisite fragrances. They create a healing environment. This is because the correct essential oils in the right amounts produce an aroma therapeutic blend that becomes more than the sum of its parts, by balancing the doshas and reconnecting mind and body. Sniffle Free Aroma Oil contains 11 essential oils to support natural immunity. Worry Free Aroma Oil helps create an oasis of personal calm. Blissful Heart Aroma Oil is formulated to smooth out the rough edges and raise your sense of harmony and well-being.
Worry Free — Researchers at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) conducted a randomized, controlled pilot study to measure the effects of Worry Free on ten patients who suffered from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, a condition that affects 25% of the population. After three months, 80% of the Worry Free group no longer exhibited Generalized Anxiety Disorder, showing a two-fold decrease in anxiety compared to placebo subjects. This formulation enhances the mind's overall ability to fight stress and support overall mental functioning.
Stress Free Emotions — promotes self-confidence, positive thinking and feelings of fulfillment by balancing the subdosha of Pitta that governs emotional health.
Aci-Balance — This Pitta-balancing herbal formula can be used for occasional acid indigestion. If the holidays mean too many hot, spicy foods that in turn can aggravate agni (digestive fire), this can create too much stomach acid, pushing your digestion out of balance.
Stress Free Mind — supports natural resistance to daily mental stress and fatigue.
Blissful Joy — nourishes the mind-body connection by helping to remove toxins that make you feel dull or sad, by supporting the memory of bliss in your cells, and by helping to balance hormones that govern emotions.
Organic Vata Tea — Create a zone of inner calm. That “too-much-to-do, too-little-time” feeling can cause you to be on edge, restless, anxious. A few sips of this delicious traditional infusion of Ayurvedic leaves, roots, and barks will help your whirling mind settle down and your body relax.
Main photo credit: Badruddeen / Foter / CC BY-ND
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.