Have You Tried Ecstatic Dance?

 

“In many shamanic societies, if you came to a shaman or medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited or depressed, they would ask you on of four questions: When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the seet territory of silence?”

So begins the forward to Gabrielle Roth‘s book, Maps To Ecstasy written by Angeles Arrien, Ph.D., a cultural anthropologist who has written The Four Fold Way and Signs of Life. Maps to Ecstasyis an introduction to the wonders of ecstatic dance.

Why Dance Is Making A Comeback

It’s noteworthy that dance is making a comeback at this point in time. Dance has never died. However its role is changing aided by several popular dance shows, Dancing With The Stars and So You Think You Can Dance. Although dance has always had a social role, increasingly its healing role is being recognized.  So You Think You Can Dance in particular has presented this therapeutic role of dance using dance for emotional, psychological and cultural healing.

These changes are not accidental. As institutional structures fracture and a new way of life comes into being, dance has the ability to help us not only heal the past but also to be more fully engaged in the present. You have to be present to dance, otherwise you trip over your feet or worse.

Dance gets us out of our heads. It heals the mind-body connection.  Dancing helps us be fully in our power and lets us see that we are OK and can trust ourselves.

Tribal Dance

It’s in the air. We can feel it.  As our monolithic economic system breaks up, the world is becoming more tribal. Tribes have had a negative reputation in maintream culture for a long time. Tribes have been depicted as ignorant, dangerous, worshiping many gods and having strange practices.

We are now learning a different story about tribes. Tribes have skills that we are very removed from: understanding nature, healing skills, and ecstatic dance skills to name a few.

Tribal dance is very old and has many functions. Many of us have heard of rain dances, but tribal dances actually had another function. Tribal dances have been used for emotional healing and psychological growth for thousands of years. Tribal dances let the dancer enter into the energy of their lives, relate to, accept it and let go. It is a way of processing deep emotional issues that is both non-harming and healing. It is a way of staying in right relation to life and the world around you.

Tribal dances are used at important life transitions to help an individual process the emotions they are experiencing so that they can release and be clear for the next events in their lives. Blocked and unprocessed emotions are inevitably harmful and prevent us from wholeheartedly engaging with life. Tribal dance prevents people from becoming frozen in an emotional state by using the free form dance to help the individual to move through their feelings.

Ecstatic Dance

Ecstatic dance is a freeform dance. Modern Ecstatic dance is the brainchild of Gabrielle Roth, who has used dance as a therapeutic method for many decades.

Gabrielle has written extensively about dance as a way to reclaim our ecstatic experience of life. Ecstatic dance gets us out of our heads into our bodies and helps us see ourselves as the actors in our on lives. It creates unity between ourselves and the life force of the planet. It helps us be one with the stages of life and accept and move through them gracefully.

Gabrielle has identified five universal life energies that she has incorporated into her dance. Interestingly they are also the stages of the creative process. She describes the five rhythms as:

  • the flowing rhythm: a teacher of fluidity and grace. Flowing is like a warm up, when we start to engage. It is gentle and curious.
  • the staccato rhythm: the teacher of definition and refinement. Staccato is structure and order, like working with building blocks. Staccato works with what is.
  • the rhythm of chaos: the rhythm of creativity seeking form. chaos occurs when we go beyond what is. We have worked staccato and now move into a creative phase with what we have been working on. All the curiosity of flowing and working of staccato prepares for chaos.
  • the lyrical rhythm: the rhythm of synthesis and integration. In the chaos phase of our creativity we open to the new and consider many possibilities until we find what will work. Lyrical is the integration and synthesis of that new information or solution.
  • the stillness rhythm: the rhythm of contentment and peace. After synthesis and integration, we can stand back, consider what we have done and gracefully let go, releasing ourselves and our work until we engage again.

The Value Of Ecstatic Dance For HSP’s And Everyone Else

As we enter a more tribal age, we each need to be in our own power and connection at the same time. For so long we have been glued to computers, assembly lines, and other structures of the industrial age, that many of us are stiff in our bodies, hearts and minds.

Ecstatic dance loosens it all up, gets our energy flowing, helps us see what we can control and what we have to let go of. Ecstatic dance is a dance for helping is to heal into a more mature and joyful time.

Ecstatic dance can help you learn to lead, to follow and to get out of the way, each in its own way at the right time. It can make us whole at a time when we desperately need whole human beings. Becoming more whole will also help us to respect and like ourselves more and in doing so we can like each other more as well, making a better world possible.

If you are a highly sensitive person, ecstatic dance can help you remain connected and remove stress so that you can stay more in your natural creativity. If you are a non-HSP, ecstatic dance can help you safely step out of your mind into you body and help you feel your connection to all things. If you have suffered harm or trauma, ecstatic dance can help you move through your feeling so that you feel like living again.

Ecstatic dance is a wonderful safe practice that can help each of us feel better and connect better. I can’t think of anything better for each of us than ecstatic dance.

What My Yoga Therapist Taught Me About My Food Cravings

Have you ever gotten to the point where you feel helpless and hopeless about something in your life?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say “Yes” you have. If you are an HSP reading this you most likely have felt this way in your at some point. Life can feel a little jumpy and bumpy from where we stand, right?

Yoga And The Burden Of Chronic Pain

For myself, my hopeless feeling stemmed from living with chronic pain from an old back injury. I can keep the pain at bay, for the most part, through yoga and exercise. But as an HSP, I am also very sensitive to pain and I know that I feel things very intensely.

Even though I’ve lived with pain for years, the pain seems to shift and change. It’s as if I’m chasing it. Being the overachiever that I am, I wanted to stay ahead of the pain. I wanted to know how to “tackle” it when it got bad.

I decided to seek help from a yoga therapist. I am a yoga teacher myself and appreciate all the practice has done for my body and mind. But I was still feeling defeated, like I needed a new perspective outside of myself.

Yoga, Food Cravings And Routine

My new yoga therapist gave me exercises to do at home. Having a plan in place felt good to me. Natural. As an HSP, I thrive off of routine and love to know what to expect. However, living this way is also what kept me in a rut for so long, stuck in unnecessary pain because I was nervous to change up my routine.

Doing that meant that I wasn’t truly listening to my body and what it was craving. I kept trying to get better by doing the same old same old. I wanted relief but was afraid to change in order to get there.

While I loved routine, I also had to be flexible enough to branch out and try something new in order to really honor the needs of my body.
What I hadn’t connected up until this point was that just as I loved and did so well with a plan of sorts in place for my yoga practice, I also did my best with a plan in place for my food cravings.

A plan that wasn’t too rigid. A plan that was centered around what my body truly craved.

The thing is, I steered clear of this for a long time after being too rigid with food. If I didn’t have complete control over every part of my eating, I felt overwhelmed. This unhealthy relationship with food is something I’ve worked hard to change—into something kinder, softer, more flexible.

So while lying in my very gentle side twist one night (feels amazing on my lower back), I realized something. I put two and two together, finally. The way I practice yoga is the way I eat.

I had been tackling my yoga practice like I was tackling my food cravings, and doing this wasn’t serving me or my body.

Lovingly listening to my body during yoga began to serve as a beautiful example of how I can also listen to my body’s food cravings. I could prepare my meals ahead of time—with care and attention—all with the intention of giving my body what it craves.

I began to ask myself questions like, “How do I want to feel after eating food?” and “Can I slow down, chew, and be more present during this meal?” and “Will this food hurt my belly me or make me feel nourished?”

And perhaps most importantly… “What food is my body actually craving?”

Learning From Food Cravings

I have a sensitive digestion and know that if I eat X (potentially harmful trigger food) I will most likely feel X (tired, bloated, cranky, etc).

I tend to breeze through eating, even through food choices themselves, without really pausing to get present and real what my body is actually calling for.

My adventures in yoga therapy taught me to feel what my body most wanted in the present moment. My body wants to feel free and at ease. It wants to feel peaceful. It doesn’t want to feel weighed down with pain and discomfort and tension.

My body wants to be listened to. Deeply. On my yoga mat and in my kitchen.

So I did that.

I started to turn off the TV when I was eating so that I could feel when I was full. I put my fork down once in a while during meals to help me pause and inhale oxygen, a crucial component to any dish. I relaxed into the act of eating. I chose foods that I knew would make me feel relaxed and free and ready for whatever is next, instead of sluggish and irritated.

I didn’t need to “tackle” anything—with the pain that sent me off to a yoga therapist in the first place or with my relationship with food. When I created a space for something new, I was amazed at what was possible for me. When I got quiet enough to listen to my body and what it was truly craving—that’s when I discovered what real freedom felt like.

I didn’t have much to do after that. Having a plan in place to rehab my body or eat healthy meals that my body wants are both important. But what allows for that plan to be there is my willingness to listen, love, and support myself.

HSPs And The Struggle With Body Image

Growing up highly sensitive can have its disadvantages, for sure. You already know that, and it’s different for each and every HSP. There’s a lot of crossover between us, but we each get to have our very own unique experience. It’s such a journey, right?

What I want to talk to you about today is what I would consider one of the more common “crossover” themes that we experience as HSPs: poor body image.

More specifically—working on perfecting your body.

Self Acceptance And Body Image

As an HSP, I have a strong tendency to want to be in control. This way I am not so overwhelmed. A certain degree of control is healthy and good. The control I’m talking about today is when the control goes to a place where we are sacrificing health to be perfect.

I’m talking about those of us who feel we need to be a different weight to fit in. I’m talking about the ones who feel like they are struggling on a daily basis with loving their bodies, just as they are.

Years ago, before I knew anything about my HSP trait, I was always trying to “get better.” Somehow I landed on using my body image as a way to improve myself. I could not see what was right with me. When I looked in the mirror I focused on every ounce that needed improvement: the scars on my face, the cellulite on my thighs, the bloat in my belly. I set out on a journey to get better quick—because once I got to that magical place surely I would feel less overwhelmed.

I truly felt like people were fixated on my every flaw, just as I was. I believed my thoughts (a dangerous habit for HSPs) and even got into the habit of creating other people’s thoughts for them. My thoughts were so loud, I felt that other people could hear them and were saying things like, “Yes,” in agreement, “you need to lose a few pounds.”

I often joked around that when I grew up I wanted to be somebody. I lived life from that place of not having enough and not being enough. Happiness was surely on the other side of having attained firmer thighs and a flatter tummy – the elusive perfect body image.

So in the midst of working out and trying to control my every bite with food, tirelessly creating my “perfect body” so that I could finally feel free in my own skin and love myself, my therapist at the time had other ideas. She burst right through my perfect bubble when she said something to me that stung hard.

“Maybe you’re supposed to be a different size.”

Um, excuse me?

“Maybe you’re supposed to be a different size.”

Speechless.

How dare she! Couldn’t she see that my body wasn’t perfect yet? Did she not see how hard I was working?

“Maybe you’re supposed to be a different size.”

It stayed with me like an echo. I couldn’t shake it.

And she wasn’t talking about a smaller size.

Reframing My Body Image

At the time, I was nowhere close to being overweight. But the thing was—I had never (ever!) considered gaining weight. Why would I do that? It went against everything I had ever learned. I needed to control my weight, right? Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do so that I can feel good about myself?

I felt so found out. Did I need to gain weight? It didn’t matter. I was put face to face with a new possibility, which was exactly where I needed to be. Somebody saw me, really saw me, and let me know about something new. The rest was up to me to figure out.

We are saturated with images—daily. We see how we are “supposed” to look, what we are “supposed” to eat, how we are “supposed” to be. The message is seemingly simple: if we succeed—if we become more and more “perfect”—we are granted access to happiness, feeling amazing in our bodies, and feeling loved by everyone around us.

Let me tell you—that is one hard path for anyone to follow, especially if you are an HSP. So why would you want to? It leads to more suffering and more overwhelm. The very things we already often have plenty of in our lives.

Of course, I didn’t get what my therapist said right away. I just took offense to it. I internalized it as I do with most everything and eventually came out on the other side having finally heard what I needed to hear. The message that came through for me was that I get to love myself NOW. In this body. And that I get to love myself in the future—at whatever size body I become.

Somewhere in between now and the future is some “bettering” myself, sure. But the self love can start right now. There’s no need to wait for my thighs to become “bikini ready” (they’re ready NOW when I put on my bathing suit, thanks!)

What do you think? Do you struggle with body image and how do you deal? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Why Food Is Medicine: The Secret Of The Six Tastes Of Ayurveda

Have you ever questioned your relationship with food?

Do you ever wonder why we humans seem to be so unhealthy?

Most people eat to avoid hunger, because the food tastes good, for social reasons or to deal with difficult feelings.

The most important function of foods, however, is the one we have lost touch with. Foods are medicine.

Why Food Is Medicine

When I say that foods are medicine, I mean that food sustains our life force or diminishes it, depending on what we eat, when we eat and the quality of the food. Food is the single greatest source of nourishment for our life force that we have. So poor food choices are a major factor in creating illness in our bodies.

Modern medicine does not give food the attention it deserves as a factor in our health. Food is not just something to put in our stomachs so it does not growl. Food is not just for fun, something to tickle the taste buds. Do you think that hospital food is helping you become healthy or increasing illness in your body?

How To Know Which Food Is Right For Us

Ayurveda has catalogued all foods so that we have the knowledge of which foods help us be healthy and at our best. It starts with the understanding that foods are primarily medicine. One way to start understanding how food is medicine is to start with the Ayuvedic concept of six tastes.

The six tastes are a recognition of the subtle energies of foods and how they impact the subtle energies of each person’s bioenergy or dosha. This is the information we need to select the foods that are best for our bodies. Ayurveda is as customized an approach to health as exists in the world. By understanding the subtle energies of foods, Ayurveda knows how to help an individual achieve optimum health.

According to Dr, Vasant Lad, an eminent Ayurvedic physician and teacher, Ayurveda has an integrated view of foods. Many century ago, it started its knowledge gathering by investigating and cataloguing the qualities that each food has. This information was used to understand the six tastes of food which are tailored to each body type to create healthy eating.  There are 20 or 10 pairs of opposites:

  1. heavy or light
  2. oily or dry
  3. stable or mobile
  4. slimy or rough
  5. gross or subtle
  6. cold or hot
  7. slow or sharp
  8. soft or hard
  9. dense or liquid
  10. cloudy or clear

The Six Tastes And Why They Matter

Each food has certain qualities. These qualities have an affect on the doshas or bioenergies. What that means is that food affects not only the body but the mind and emotions as well since the doshas are holistic and include the mind and emotions as well as our physical constitutions.The six tastes are:

  1. sweet:  has the qualities of oily, cooling and heavy. In moderation it promotes a strong body and good health.  In excess, it increases congestion including colds, diabetes, obesity and tumors.
  2. sour: has the qualities of liquid, light, heating and oily.  In moderation, it is invigorating, and good for the digestive system.  In excess, it creates excessive acidity, heartburn, ulcers and various skin diseases like psoriasis and eczema.
  3. salty: has oily, heavy and heating qualities. In moderation it promotes growth and maintains water electrolyte balance.  It improves digestion and elimination and is so strong that it can overwhelm the other tastes.  In excess, it thickens the blood, and causes hypertension and aggravates skin conditions.
  4. pungent: has the qualities light, drying and heating.  In moderation, it helps digestion, and clears the mouth and sinuses.  It improves circulation and breaks up clots.  It removes obstructions and helps perception.  In excess it causes sexual debility, overheating, diarrhea, heartburn and nausea. In vata dosha, it causes giddiness tremors, insomnia which HSP’s need to be concerned about.
  5. bitter: has the qualities of cool, light and dry.  In moderation, it is anti-toxic, so it relieves heating conditions, skin diseases, and reduces fat.  In excess, depletes the various elements of the body including muscles, bones, and marrow and creates weariness.
  6. astringent: has the qualities of cooling, drying and heaviness. In moderation, it absorbs water, heals ulcers and causes clotting. In excess it can lead to neuromuscular disorders which HSP’s need to be concerned with, increases constipation, and circulatory issues.

This is a short overview of the qualities in food and how they affect the body. HSP’s can benefit from the Ayurvedic approach to food since it enables them to be more precise in their food choices and minimize inadvertent health problems caused from eating the wrong food.

The attributes and qualities of food affect the taste and the tastes can have a balancing or disturbing effect on an individual. If we are not eating the right foods for our bodies, we may be helping create depression, anxiety and other mood disorders in ourselves. We may make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. We may have trouble digesting the food and therefore become malnourished.

It is so important that we eat the right foods for ourselves in order to be healthy. By understanding our constitution, (see Ayurvedic Healing), and what foods support us, we have a chance to experience great health with little effort.

Note:  Although some of the information comes from my own knowledge, many of the details were taken from the work of Usha Lad and Dr. Vasant Lad: Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing, The Ayurvedic Press, Albuquerque, 1994, 2002, p. 31-37.  His work provides even more detail about the Ayurvedic understanding of food and the elements and is an important book for individuals interested in Ayurveda.

How Highly Sensitive People Can Be Successful With Weight Loss

Weight loss can be especially challenging for HSPs. Trying to lose weight can create even more emotional suffering for sensitive souls when we come up against the pervasive cultural judgement about weight. Many of us believe that action leads to results. Being conscientious we keep trying the many different and latest diets that promise weight loss.

Sensitive People Need A Different Approach

Pushing and restriction lead to failure. We push ourselves to follow these often restrictive and self-depriving diets by suppressing the messages from our sensitive bodies. We end up failing and feeling even more out of touch and overwhelmed by our bodies.

The problem with so many weight loss approaches is they are not geared for someone with a sensitive nervous system. Mainstream weight loss focuses on diet, food and exercise. Yet in our heart of hearts we already know deep down that there is an emotional connection with excess weight. A different approach is needed!  The truth is HSP need to do health and wellness differently. Not only are we wired differently, we also have sensitive bodies. This means we need to approach weight loss differently.

Your Sensitive Nature Knows What It Needs

A weight loss solution that works needs to truly support your sensitive nature. Your body also needs to be involved in the decision-making. We already have a key skill for successful weight loss.  As a sensitive, you need to tune into your body and use your body to really inform you. In a sense you are at an advantage because you already have access to your body. Your body is already constantly communicating with you. All you need to do is allow yourself to listen to your body. It will let you know what foods work for you and what environments agree or don’t agree with you.

The Most Important Weight Loss Principle for Sensitives

One of the most important principles for weight loss is developing more self-kindness. We tend to run ourselves ragged by holding ourselves to almost impossible standards. When you add in mindfulness and self-compassion you begin to see the whole world differently. Bringing in these kinds of practices into weight loss is a foundation to tuning in and receiving messages about what you as an individual need to be successful.

Being a sensitive myself, it was only natural that when I turned my attention to losing weight naturally and holistically I would bring in the many factors that I sensed played an important role in weight gain and weight loss resistance.

The Approach That Works For Sensitive People

As I began my research along with my own intuition, I began to put together a whole-person approach to weight loss. By focusing on the whole-person, weight is released more naturally rather than a forced release which often results in regaining the weight when we resume our normal eating habits.

From my experience as a nurse and from a life-long interest in the holistic field I knew that creating a sense of well-being is what we are all looking for. This well-being is the basis of health and vitality. I know from my own journey, that self-compassion and self-acceptance is the starting point for creating a physiology that is conducive to weight release.

As I zeroed in on weight, I began to see my relationship with food and my body was anything but natural, joyful and full of ease. I learned how to reframe my relationship with food. I began to explore my emotional blocks, triggers and limiting beliefs that had kept me locked in a cycle of deprivation alternating with emotional over-eating. The result of my research and personal journey is a program that addresses many of the underlying and hidden factors that not only affects weight but also our sense of well-being and feeling satisfied with our life.

How To Start A Successful Weight Loss Program

If there is one thing that can make a difference to your physiology with regards to weight it is developing a solid practice of creating a sense of loving kindness toward yourself. This is especially important when you notice you are judging yourself. We need to be vigilant about falling into the trap of believing the mainstream approach will work for us. It doesn’t! To help set you up for success I created a FREE e-course designed to support you in creating The Ultimate Weight Loss Success Plan. Click HERE to register: https://www.facebook.com/resetmyweight/

 

Keys To Sticking With A Weight Loss Diet

A new year often means a new diet.

Diets are always challenging but they can be particularly problematic for highly sensitive people.

Why?

Because overstimulation, stress and difficulties with other people can overwhelm our best intentions.

Can We Make Dieting Easier For Highly Sensitive People?

There are many approaches to dieting but two stand out:

  1. reduced calorie diets. These diets generally take your existing diet down a notch. Depending on your current eating plan, it may be less of what you are currently eating. It may involve a change of foods.  There are many dieting services like Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem among others that find ways to reduce calories without changing your food lifestyle.
  2. meal replacement diets. Meal replacement diets came into vogue as technology entered the food business. Once company that pioneered their use is Medifast. Meal replacements   can have a high amount of nutrition for a modest amount of calories. They are dense nutrition meant to replace 1-2 meals a day.

Either of these approaches can help you lose weight but there is more to it.

What Is Weight Loss Discomfort?

One of the reasons that people have difficulty with diets, is that their bodies feel the withdrawal of food. It can be frightening.

Because of calorie restriction, no matter what your method, you body will most likely digest what you do eat fairly quickly – certainly faster than when you were eating more. So you will feel ups and down from sugar imbalances.

Whatever our current diet, we have found a way to create sugar stability in our bodies, even if it means we weigh more than we would like. When we start a diet, we disturb that equilibrium and that causes discomfort. Your  equilibrium changes can also change your moods, make you feel weaker and make it harder to handle stress. All of these factors can make a successful weight loss diet seem like an impossible achievement.

How To Manage Blood Sugar Levels On A Weight Loss Diet

There are herbs for managing blood sugar levels. One of the best is gymnema silvestre which is THE Ayurvedic herb used for managing sugar levels. It will stabilize your blood sugar levels while you are reducing your weight.

It will make the dieting experience much more pleasurable.

Other Ways To Make Dieting Easier

There are a number of other herbs that can help make dieting easier:

  • ashwaghandha and brahmi are two great herbs for helping with stress. It has antioxident and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help you manage your stress levels easier when you are dieting.
  • vidanga and trikatu are two herbs that improves digestion
  • triphala is a great herb for balancing the entire body gently over time.

Making Dieting Work When You Are Highly Sensitive

Being highly sensitive can make health challenges greater but that does not mean that getting in shape is impossible. A solid diet plan, a sensible pace of work and rest, and herbal support can put achieving a healthy weight within reach.

Go for it!

Subtle Energies – The Path To Health

Subtle energies are what you notice when you are in stillness.

Subtle energies are precious information.

Subtle energies have truth in them, but they don’t scream and yell their message. They are there to be discerned. They are where highly sensitive people live.

A Lost Skill

A subtle energy requires good listening skills. Somewhere in the progress of the human race, we seem to have stopped listening.

Our early ancestors may not have had our material sophistication but they knew how to listen to the energies around them. A tracker for a tribe, any hunter, and shaman or medicine man knew about subtle energy and what the various energies meant. Their knowledge was a matter of life and death.

Subtle energies are fluid and moving. They are not tied to anything. They just are.

These energies are present everywhere and in everything. They include everything. They include time, space, materiality, qualities – hard, soft etc., attitude, and direction.

Subtle energies are our path to the flow state. They are also our window to the connection of mind and body that many of us have lost.

Subtle Energies At Work

One of the best examples of a great use of subtle energies is Ayurveda, the ancient holistic healing system.

Ayurveda categorizes everything by its subtle energy.  Each of the three human body types of doshas is a group of individual unique energies.  All three exist in each of us in different combinations.

When Ayurveda suggests food for a dosha, it is recommending the best subtle energy choices that will support health in a particular individual. Each of the seasons and stages of life represent different subtle energies as well. This is the reason that Ayurveda has become a great resource for people seeking a way to manage their health themselves.

Understanding subtle energies can help us respond intelligently and in a life affirming way to what is in front of us, in our culture and in our daily lives.  Ayurveda and the energy healing fields are pointing us increasingly towards effective methods of health and healing by helping us relearn and master subtle energy skills lost by our cultural disconnection from nature.

3 Amazing Herbs For The Immune System

Do you think your immune system is taking adequate care of you?

Do you fall prey to seasonal illnesses or illnesses that get passed around: colds, flu, etc? Are sick more often than others around you?

If you are answering yes to the last two questions, then your immune system may not be protecting you adequately.

Highly Sensitive People And The Immune System

It is a bit unfair to blame the immune system for our getting sick particularly if you are a highly sensitive person.

One of the biggest health challenges that highly sensitive people have is supporting and maintaining a healthy immune system. Our immune system often cannot cope with the demands that our nervous systems and cultural expectations place on it.

Although everyone needs to take care of their immune systems, HSPs need to step up their self-care to compensate for higher demands on their bodies. The specific burden that highly sensitive people have is stress – stress in such high volume that it overwhelms our bodies, immune system included, if we are not careful. Even if we were to lead an extremely quiet lifestyle, we need to support our immune systems because our hyperactive nervous system are naturally active all of the time. In the best of situations, we are vulnerable to becoming depleted from nervous system stress.

The Special Problem Of Stress And The HSP Immune System

If we are experiencing a lot of stress and our immune systems become weakened, then when other problems arise, we have a more difficult time coping with them. Viruses, parasites, and other invaders are more likely to take hold in our systems.

Therefore, in addition to stress reduction strategies, it is a good idea for highly sensitive people to offer their bodies some immune system support. These herbs can help:

  1. ashwaghandha is one of the most important herbs for highly sensitive people because not only does it help with stress but it also builds you up. It has the ability to reduce high cortisol levels which gets activated under stress and which can be chronically active in highly sensitive people. Since highly sensitive people are under stress a lot of the time, ashwaghandha is highly valuable as a defense against the effects on long term elevated cortisol which can cause metabolic syndrome and other conditions. Metabolic syndrome is considered an indicator of the potential to eventually get diabetes. Ashwaghandha is one of the most important Ayurvedic herbs because it not only calms the nervous system, but it also boosts energy and vitality, making it particularly important for HSPs who often feel drained.
  2. tulsi or holy basil is considered a holy plant in Ayurveda that brings in positive energy into the body and help eliminate negative energy. It is rich in antioxidants and  strengthens the immune system. It is considered a healing agent for the nervous system, so it reduces stress symptoms. Like ashwaghandha, tulsi is considered an adaptogen, which means it will strengthen the body. Tulsi will improve mental functioning in particular the memory.
  3. neem is an amazing herb that is antiviral, antifungical, antibacterial and antiseptic. It is a blood cleaner that is beneficial for skin conditions and dental health. Neem is a strong immune system booster.

All of the herbs individually and combined will help any highly sensitive person to improve the functioning of their nervous and immune systems. They are herbs that I use and personally recommend.

Add Love To Your Life With Abhyanga Daily Oil Massage

The good news is that you do not need an elephant to have a great massage.

Massage is actually something that you can do for yourself every day.

The massage I am referring to is an oil massage which feels luxurious – like a dose of love – and detoxes as well.

Abhyanga

One of the most valued daily health practices in Ayurveda is oil massage called abhyanga.

Abhyanga, the Sanskrit word for oil, is the practice of pouring herbal oil on the body and massaging the oil into the body to help restore and maintain balance. It is a daily massage practice for promoting general health or it can be part of the Ayurveda detoxification program called panchakarma. Sesame oil is the most commonly used oil for self-massage.

From a health perspective according to The Ayurveda Encyclopedia, abhyanga benefits the lymphatic system which carries nutrients to and removes toxins from the cells. Increasing nourishment and reducing toxins helps highly sensitive people by supporting their sensitive nervous systems from unnecessary toxic overload.

Health Benefits of Abhyanga

The Ayurveda Encyclopedia lists the following additional benefits of abhyanga:

  1. reverses and prevents aging
  2. releases fatigue and stress
  3. heals and prevents nervous system disorders
  4. helps vision
  5. nourishes the body and improves sturdiness
  6. remedies insomnia
  7. promotes electrochemical balance in the body
  8. prevents dehydration in the skin
  9. strengthens nerves
  10. helps the electromagnetic field of the body
  11. strengthens the immune system by increasing antibodies.

These important benefits of a daily oil massage provide help for highly sensitive people because the oil goes into the skin, tissues and the nerves providing relief for stress, insomnia and fatigue which we are all affected by.

When the massage is done daily, it helps prevent the buildup of stress and nerve damage in the body. Unlike medication for stress and nerves, oil massage doesn’t have any side effects. A daily abhyanga practice keeps skin supple and helps reverse the aging that comes with the buildup of toxins.

How Abhyanga Makes You Feel

When doing your daily oil massage, the first step is to warm the oil.  When you put the oil on your skin and scalp you can feel the warm nourishment of it. When you massage the skin you are making sure that the medicated oil is absorbed to benefit as much of your body as possible. It takes 5-10 minutes depending on how much massaging of the oil you decide to do.

When you complete the massage, you shower or bathe and groom your hair.  Your hair will feel silky and healthy.  The massage on your skin will give you a feeling of joyful lightness as you go through your day.  I think that the self-massage feels like you have received some love and as a result, you have the feeling of being protected during the day.  It causes you to feel better, have a more positive outlook, and therefore have a better day.

For highly sensitive people who need every help they can get, oil massage is an easy way to obtain many health benefits, reduce stress and strengthen their nervous systems.  It detoxes, and because it is a great form of self-care, it can be thought of as an affirmation. The Ayurvedic practice of abhyanga is a perfect way for HSP’s to take excellent care of themselves.

Guduchi: 9 Ways To Protect Your Health

 

Guduchi is another exceptional herb used extensively in Ayurveda, the ancient Indian health care system.

Found in the Himalayas, guduchi is one of the few herbs that balances the entire body or all the doshas, the name for the three body-systems of Ayurveda.

Over thousands of years, Ayurveda has catalogued all of the physical effects of food, beverages and herbs on the body. It has accomplished this feat by identifying the qualities in each food.

Let’s consider a ripe banana. It has the qualities of being sweet, heating and sour. It affects the body’s doshas with its smoothness and heaviness. Some of these qualities are obvious and others are more subtle.  We can taste the sweetness of a banana and experience its smoothness and heaviness. The heating and sour actions of the banana are felt in the body after the fruit has been eaten.

Guduchi has the following physical effects: heating, bitter, astringent, light, unctuous, sweet and destroys toxins. It balances all of three doshas or bioenergies of the body: data – air and movement, pitta – digestion, and kappa – tissues and lubrication.

It is such a strong supporter of the immune system that it is thought to help increase the lifespan.  Guduchi offers these health benefits:

  1. improved immune system. It strengthens the immune system and helps with autoimmune diseases.  It also reduced the toxic effects of chemotherapy. By strengthening the immune system, it reduces the potential for cancer.
  2. improves conditions in the joints like gout and arthritis by acting as an anti-inflammatory.
  3. heals liver damage caused by alcohol, drugs and medicinal drugs. It repairs the liver tissue.
  4. heals skin diseases like eczema, psoriasis and systemic lupus erythmatosis.
  5. heals gastrointestinal disease by healing various bowel conditions and rebalancing intestinal flora.
  6. regulates blood sugar levels.
  7. calms the nervous system.
  8. supports the reproductive system.
  9. rejuvenates the body.
Guduchi is known “as the one that protects the body”. It’s healing and protective abilities are prized in Ayurveda.  It is worth considering as part of a health regimen.
For highly sensitive people who suffer disabling stress and can be weakened by overstimulation, guduchi can provide some protection against the harms of modern life.