Often the thought of beginning something new can seem much more daunting than it actually is once you get started. That was the case for this Axis Yoga Teacher Training student in an effort towards leading a life of less stress and anxiety. Through an Ayurvedic experiment with dinacharya (daily routine), this student realized just how accessible that life could be.
To begin my Ayurvedic experiment, I first did a self evaluation in relation to the doshas and quickly learned that my Vata is extremely out of balance. I am constantly in motion and realized that it causes me to have anxiety and stress throughout my daily activities. Through this realization, I acknowledged that I really did have the desire to slow down and be more present. In order to implement this sense of control, I decided to design my experiment around the use of a more devoted Dinacharya that would lead me to a place where I felt grounded and content.
My original plan was to start with waking up earlier, which is not something that I was able to do every day but did make happen quite a few times over the last couple weeks. These are the days that stand out to me as being the most fulfilling. Having a large amount of Vata in me and recognizing that I do not slow down for much, it seems like waking up just a little bit earlier finally gave me a sense of stability. These days were the most rewarding because I had the time to give myself the attention that I need, both mentally and physically. The first thing I did after waking up was acknowledge my breath and then say out loud thank you, thank you, thank you. Doing this makes me STOP and smile and fills me with happiness. Beginning the day this way made me realize how important it is to me to practice gratitude and surrender to what is. After allowing myself to wake up in enough time to recognize the beauty within me and around me, I decided to start scraping my tongue. In class, I learned that the oral cavity is one of the main gateways between your mind/body and the environment so maintaining the health of this connection is critical to my general well-being. I found that since I was up early and no longer in a rush, I was excited for the tongue scraping because it made me feel a sense of renewal and cleanliness. Tongue scraping also intrigued me because I was able to assess how well my food was digesting and try to avoid foods that were obviously not agreeing with my body. I knew that this would help me to retain the feelings of clarity throughout the day ahead. The final part of my experiment was the practice of Nasya – administration of sunflower oil by the way of my nasal cavity. I was incredibly nervous about this part because I simply could not imagine that this practice would be tolerable and most definitely not enjoyable. Feeling anxious and nervous, I went to Whole Foods to purchase Sunflower oil as it is good for a Vata-Pita person like me and headed home to fill my glass vile. The first drops were very strange feeling but I was able to find several full breaths while emptying the entire dropper, half in one nostril and half in the other per Susan’s direction. I laid down and hung my head off the edge of my bed as I let the oil soak in and contrary to my thoughts, everything was fine and it actually felt amazing! I could feel some sort of tension release in my face almost immediately. Naturally, I have an extremely dry nasal cavity and after just 3 days of practicing Nasya I could tell a major difference internally. My nose has been so dry for so long that I didn’t think anything could help but this did the trick and I couldn’t be more pleased. One thing I would like to mention is that when I first started this practice, I was doing it in the evening and in the morning my throat would hurt a little bit. The best part about it is that through tongue scraping, my throat no longer hurt and all is well!
Overall, my experience with Ayurveda practices has been eye opening and amazing. Though I was frustrated with the early morning wake ups and the sore throat, I always came back to a place of appreciation for the YTT training and the amazing support surrounding the program. I have already learned and continue to learn so much about myself and the world around me. I am grateful for every experience whether it is helpful or not because I am still learning and that is what is most important to me. My Ayurvedic experiment started out as what seemed to be an extremely extensive and unnecessary Dinacharya. It felt overwhelming at first, but ended up being something that I actually really enjoyed. It even made me realize that all of these things that I have been interested in incorporating into my life for a long time were much more accessible than I had thought. I plan to continue on with my Dinacharya and continue experimenting with more suggestions from Vasant Lad and his book, Ayurvedic Home Remedies.
Axis Yoga Trainings’ students received customized feedback and suggestions for their ayurvedic experiments. Here is what Susan Bernhardt, AYT’s lead ayurveda instructor, had to say about this students process.
“I’m so glad that you found the experiment to be helpful. Waking up early, expressing gratitude, tongue-scraping, and nasya – all wonderful! It’s great that you went ahead with nasya despite the trepidation. I’m also glad that the sore throat cleared up. Traditionally, nasya is done in the morning, at some point before breakfast. Perhaps being vertical after, instead of horizontal at night, is helpful.
It’s great to hear that you plan to continue your dinacharya and experimenting. Good luck!
Thank you for the thoughtful experiment and paper.”
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