Balance the Doshas and Build your Senses with Ayurveda
No matter how well we take care of ourselves, each of us experiences a continual flux of internal energies and elements that affect our health. Even at our best — when we’re eating a good diet, exercising enough, meditating regularly and keeping good company — chances are we’re still experiencing a dosha imbalance on occasion.
Overthinking, sleepless nights, constipation? Too much vata. Aggression, defensiveness, heartburn or acne? Too much pitta. Low energy, laziness, weight gain? Too much kapha.
Some of the most effective things we can do to maintain a balanced constitution, the prakruti we were born with, are simple at-home treatments centered around self-love and self-care that also act as amplifiers of the best parts about being — our senses.
Try these quick and simple methods for balancing the doshas and also improve your ability to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel.
Eyes are the home of pitta, the fire and water-based quality within us. To balance pitta through the eyes, add a tiny bit of ghee to the inner eyelids each night. With a very thin layer of ghee on your fingertip, glide your finger across the lower eyelid and/or gently on the white of your eyeball.
Through this daily practice, you’ll calm pitta (read more about the doshas here), improve both internal and external vision, and bring greater clarity of mind. It will also reduce redness, dryness and tired eyes.
Ears are the home of vata, the air and space qualities within us. Karna purna is a wonderfully soothing way to balance vata dosha by putting medicated oil (karna purna oil works well) or sesame oil into the ears once per week. Lie on your side and insert 7-8 drops of oil into the ear canal, then gently massage the base of the ear, the cartilage, and the ear lobe.
Karna purna will help control too many thoughts in the mind, reduce insomnia and anxiety, and will help you stay grounded when traveling. This also enhances your hearing.
The nose (and chest) is the seat of kapha, the earth and water-based quality within us. Nasya, or adding medicated nasya oil (most often sesame oil with specific Ayurvedic herbs), into the nasal passages will help balance kapha within the head and chest. After showering, or after opening up the sinuses with warm steam, tilt your head back and insert 2-3 drops of oil into each nostril. At any point during the day, if brain fog sets in, gently rub ghee inside the nostrils and breathe normally.
Because the nose is a direct passageway to the brain, we can improve brain function and become more alert through the nasya treatment. This also relieves lung disorders such as chest congestion and bronchitis and heightens your sense of smell over time.
Although the mouth isn’t the seat of one dosha, we can reduce kapha through Ayurvedic methods in the mouth. Each morning, scrape your tongue (use an Ayurvedic tongue scraper or a large stainless steel spoon) from back to from 7-10 times, then rinse the mouth with coconut oil or sesame oil for 5-20 minutes – a process called oil pulling – and then spit the oil into a waste bin. Follow this process by gently massage the gums.
Both tongue scraping and oil pulling reduces the heavy kapha element, and oil pulling also reduces vata. Both processes stimulate our digestion and enhance our sense of taste.
Our skin is the number one way our body releases toxins, and through weekly dry brushing, darshana, or daily self-massage with oil, abhyanga, we’re not only encouraging the release of toxins and increasing our circulation, we’re also improving our sense of touch.
If you’re trying to lose weight, alternate one day of darshana and one day of abhyanga. Darshana reduces kapha in the body, and abhyanga reduces vata. When vata is well-balanced within the body, the other doshas will come into balance with more ease.