Browsing Tag

Grief

0 In Ayurveda

Anxiety & Physical Pain: It’s Not In Your Head

You know the feeling.  That feeling when your adrenaline begins to climb.  Your heart rate speeds up.  Your breath becomes shallow.  Your jaw begins to clench.  You begin to sweat…but remain chilled to the touch.

This is our old pal anxiety and if you’re like the nearly 40 million people in the US suffering from chronic anxiety, you know what I’ve described all too well.   

But did you know that chronic anxiety is often responsible for physical pain that usually lingers FOR YEARS?  

Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Migraines, and Back Pain have all been connected to chronic anxiety and, after years of neglect, severing of the mind/body/spirit connection, and just ‘getting through it’, people are often left needing powerful pharmaceuticals, or worse, self-medication with alcohol just to simply exist.  

My intention is not to scare you…it’s to put the connection between anxiety and physical pain in very blunt terms.  There’s no way to get around it: your chronic anxiety is likely responsible for your physical aches and pains.  And it’s hurting you on more than a physical level.

So, what to do?

Ayurveda classifies anxiety as a Vata imbalance, meaning there is too much air and space in the pranic body.  My Ayurveda mentor, Dr. Vasant Lad, once said ‘Space is freedom’ and what he meant by that is…space is possibility but it is also ambiguity.  

Ambiguity can be scary so we will  fill that space with negative self-talk, mindless mental chatter, and what I would call ‘pacifiers’.  Anything to save us from the discomfort of ambiguity and space.  This leads to anxiety and physical pain because it is not a sustainable way to live.  Your adrenals will become exhausted and your body will begin to believe that chronic adrenal spikes are normal.  

Thankfully, there is much we can do to bring Vata back into balance and it starts with first loving on yourself and acknowledging where you are at this very moment.  Release the ‘could have/should have’ guilt of past choices and simply see your body and mind where it is in this very moment.

Begin to notice the pain signals your body is trying to get you to pay attention to.  Where is the pain in your body?  Breathe into that.  

Nourish your body with healthy food, give yourself a warm-oil massage, begin a meditation practice.

These are all natural pain relievers but will also begin to re-train your brain and adrenal system so that proper function may be restored.  

Shocker: we are not meant to live in Fight/Flight our entire lives! 🙂  

If you are someone with chronic anxiety and physical pain, I hear you.  I acknowledge that your pain isn’t ‘all in your head’.  Ayurveda does not subscribe to the idea of separation between body, mind, and spirit.  All are one and intimately connected (and impacted) by one another.

If you would like to learn more about the connection between anxiety and physical pain (from an allopathic perspective), I encourage you to visit the Anxiety & Depression Association of America’s website.

And if you would like to explore how Ayurveda can help you reduce your anxiety and heal your chronic pain, I encourage you to reach out to me.  You can book your FREE 60-Minute breakthrough session HERE.

Much Love & Namaste,

Katie

0 In Ayurveda/ Life/ Seattle

When It All Falls Apart

Greetings Divine Ones,

Wow, what a week, right? I don’t know about you but my heart is sad and my soul is aching for the world right now. So much violence. So much hate. So much separation and the illusion of ‘otherness’.

So, what do we do? Ayurvedic wisdom has a lot to say about grief processing and I wanted to share some of it with all of you.

Everyone experiences grief, sadness, and loss differently and when we experience trauma (emotional or physical), our dominant dosha (Vata, Pitta, or Kapha) tends to take the wheel. We may fall into old coping patterns like sleeping too much or too little, eating too much or too little, hyperactivity, etc. So the first thing to do is follow Vanilla Ice’s advice: Stop, collaborate, and listen.

Ask yourself:
What am I feeling?
-then-
What do I need?

Even asking yourself these questions is an act of self-love! I often recommend my clients set a few alarms per day and when they go off to stop and ask those two questions. Sometimes the answer is ‘I’m feeling hungry. I need a snack.’ Other times it’s ‘I’m feeling lost. I need support from loved ones.’

From there, we start to move into practical easy things to ease us to a place of balance and peace. Ayurveda calls it Sattva. When processing grief and trauma, it is important to be extra gentle and kind to our bodies and spirits. Some ideas:

  • Give yourself a daily Abhyanga (oil massage). Rub sesame or coconut oil on your hands and feet before bed (maybe with some lavender oil) and prepare for restful sleep.
  • Focus on eating warm nourishing foods. Avoid cold and raw foods.
  • Do restorative yoga like viparita karani (legs up the wall pose).

There is so much more but this is a start. You may feel overwhelmed when grief suddenly visits you but know that you are loved. Be gentle and kind (to yourself most of all!) and, eventually, you’ll be standing tall again. (Caveat: this process is not linear so don’t be discouraged…and seek professional health if you need it!)

If you would like more information about anything discussed in this post, or would like to set up your own restorative yoga session, please reach out to me. I would be honored to hold space for you!

All my love,
Katie