In Ayurveda, the traditional ancient health science of India, Prana Vayu is the sub-dosha of Vata that draws life force energy into the body from the outside world. This takes many different forms, beginning with the most obvious (breathing, food) and moving toward subtler energies that enliven all five senses of the body.
We’ve all heard the adage “You are what you eat.” And it’s true, you are. But you’re also what you hear, see, smell, and feel. Every single action you take and experience you encounter leaves an impression in the body and mind. You are the people and places you surround yourself with and the sum of all your actions. And I’ll just be frank with you: what you take in through the senses is either catapulting you forward toward your greatest, healthiest life, or diminishing your potential and hurting your health.
You’re either preventing dis-ease or promoting it.So ask yourself this: What kind of impressions are you drawing into your body and mind? Are they supporting the unfolding of your highest self or creating distance and keeping you small?
Here are some simple ways to draw in wholesome impressions through each of the five senses and amp up your holistic wellbeing.
Watch the sunrise. There are so many health benefits to gain from simply sitting outside and witnessing the sun come up every morning. Not only do the different spectrums of light improve your immune system and stimulate your body to produce proper hormones, it provides a sense of peace, gratitude, and deep connectedness to something greater than yourself.
Diffuse essential oils in your home. Aromatherapy has many health advantages— depending on your needs, you can use oils like lavender and chamomile to promote relaxation, rosemary and lemon to invigorate your senses, or peppermint to relieve headaches. Or, if you don’t have an oil diffuser, you can simmer some spices on the stove, or even slow-cook a yummy soup in a crockpot for the day to fill your home with delicious, comforting sensations.
Sound healing increases our sense of calm and wellbeing on a deep, profound level. Take a yoga class that incorporates singing bowls, gongs, or chanting into the practice. If that’s not an option, you can learn some chants from a teacher or well-respected online source and chant on your own time. You can also consider listening to more binaural beats throughout the day and even as you sleep at night (YouTube has many great tracks for healing, sleeping, and more). Remember, it’s equally as important to balance the sounds of your life out with total silence at some point each day as well.
Experience new foods and flavors to give your taste buds a joyful awakening. There are six main tastes we can experience: sweet, salty, bitter, pungent (or spicy), astringent, and sour. Become aware of which one(s) you are apt to reach for, and experiment with incorporating the others into your diet as well. That being said, if you have a strong imbalance in the body, some foods/flavors may not be ideal for you at a given point in time. Consult your local Ayurvedic practitioner for further dietary and constitution information.
Begin practicing abhyanga, or daily self-massage. Lightly warm up the oil of your liking (coconut, sesame, sweet almond, or jojoba all are wonderful options) and massage it into your whole body. Use the amount of pressure that feels right for you that day. Abhyanga hydrates the skin, lubricates the joints, and stimulates the lymph system. The result is strengthened immunity and an overall improved functioning of the body. On a subtle level, abhyanga promotes compassion and connection to self. Let the oil soak into your body and reap the rewards!
Our senses give us the ability to fully experience the beauty of our existence. When used properly, they gift us the joy of the present moment. Simple things like the smell of fresh flowers, the sweet richness of a pomegranate, or the soft feel of your clean bedsheets become a pleasure that no longer go unnoticed. The more you play with all the senses, the more you wake up to the great sacredness of daily living. Consciously draw in impressions that make you feel good, that give you a sense of peace and gratitude, and you’ll live every day a little more elevated.