Learning Ayurveda, the ancient Eastern modality of health and wellness through the application in lifestyle and practices, has been such a paradigm shift for me.
Yes, as an Australian-born Indian woman, I have had influences from the principles throughout my life. Yet, as a pharmacist, with my scientific and dare I say ‘masculine’ mind, I did not really revel or imbibe these principles until now as an adult.
Ironically, learning Ayurveda prior to starting my family may have helped me navigate through my post-natal journeys with more harmony and balance than what I did! But, better late than never!
I absolutely LOVE the aspect of Ayurveda being all encompassing in one’s life. It allows us to utilise our 5 senses, in order to nourish, honour and rejuvenate our;
Ayurveda’s foundation is that all living things are made up of the elements of air, space, fire, water and earth. Looking at the qualities of each element and the combination of them to make up the doshas, or energy systems, allow such a beautiful understanding of everything around us!
For instance, looking at a dandelion, with the light feathery type buds…you can visually imagine the air and space that it would be comprised of.
It looks at all the elemental composition and the effect that it would impart upon our body, mind and spirit.
It encourages harmony within our body. It encourages awareness and observation as to what we are made up of, how we are functioning compared to our ‘natural’ state, what is imbalanced and what practices and lifestyle habits can we incorporate in order to bring about balance!
I absolutely love it!
It is conscious living at its finest!
It gives us personal responsibility and is very empowering.
So what about pregnancy?
Ayurveda believes that what a woman eats, consumes through her 5 senses and energy system, her lifestyle practices and mindset, all have an imprint on the growing baby in her womb.
Mothers are then treated as divine goddess beings, the gatekeepers of creation and life, and are encouraged to nourish their bodies, as well as not be subject to stress and strain.
I love the spiritual focus towards pregnancy and find it very beautiful, rather than a clinical process of life. I also love the nourishment focus to our pregnant women, rather than the ‘hustle-bustle’ way of life we continue to live in the modern Western world.
Ayurveda encourages calm, grounding, adding in the earth and fire aspects to keep the body in balance through the 5 senses.
Kitchen pharmacy with all of the spices that exert different effects, together with utilising the 6 tastes in Ayurveda (SWEET, SOUR, SALTY, BITTER, PUNGENT and ASTRINGENT) form an important part of nourishment and rejuvenation within the body and for the growing baby within.
Listening to calm, soothing and relaxing music to soothe her nervous system and also the growing baby, rather than listening to loud, stimulating and aggravating music. I personally struggled with the TV and the volume intonations with the ads whilst pregnant and after having a baby (actually even now if I am feeling very overstimulated!)
Watching or seeing things with a high vibration, calming influence rather than say violent or horrific scenes can soothe her nervous system but also impart subtle impact onto how she is feeling and therefore, how the baby is feeling within.
Touch, through the use of a gentle and warm cold-pressed sesame oil massage can be so balancing to her body by soothing her nervous system and relaxing her body. This forms a huge part of a daily routine recommendation that then followed on to me learning about infant massage, as I felt that touch is such a beautifully connective and restorative thing to do to help biochemistry as well as soothing everyone’s heart and souls
Grounding scents with earthy tones can be very nourishing to her nervous system and if utilised with plant essences in the room, or what she wears, can be very soothing to her.
The subtle effects of all of these practices can have a cumulative effect on how the mother feels…happy Mummy, happy baby!
What about post-birth?
Ayurveda also explains the process of childbirth as the downward motion that can give rise to an imbalance (or Vikruti) specific to our Prana Vata and Apana Vata system; which are sub-doshas or sub-systems within the Vata dosha.
As a result of this huge imbalance that results from the downward expulsion of our baby during childbirth, it can disrupt our whole Vata system and give rise to a multitude of symptoms because of the excess of the air and space elements; given the void within our womb after birthing our baby.
These symptoms of imbalance can present as; anxiety, depression, insomnia, essentially an aggravated nervous system, erratic movements and inability to switch the mind off as some examples…hello post-natal depression!
We get so lost in the masculine ‘doing’ part of pregnancy and so many outcome-based exercises and activities; which all have their place, yes. But what about the divine feminine aspects of motherhood? For all mothers, but especially for first time maidens entering matrescence, where is the encouraging of this connection to the divine feminine within the whole process?
You are the creator of this amazing child and are acting as the gatekeeper of them into the world, so we need to revel in this rather than get stuck in the clinical side only.
Perhaps harnessing focus on this connection during pregnancy and post-birth, may allow us to by-pass the disconnection of perinatal and postnatal depression and almost a ‘fake it until you make it’ approach, to expedite the journey to reconnect to our children; which is so beautiful and exciting to re-ignite in this world we live in!