Navigating a heart break with Ayurveda
Pain is the worst.
Heartbreak is the worst.
It can leave you feeling empty, numb, broken and hopeless.
The ancient healing art of Ayurveda can help you get back on your feet after a breakup and help you find happiness again.
At the end of a relationship, it can be tough to figure out where things went wrong, what you overdid or did not do enough of, and sometimes it can even be harder to accept that things are over.
We tend to romanticize the good things that happened and forget the bad, as our mind will trick us out of the pain into the pleasure (memories). I would like to share tips from the ancient texts with you to help you heal your heart.
In the ancient Ayurvedic text, there is a lot of emphasis on the heart. The heart, as you may know, is the symbol of love, compassion, and empathy. In Ayurveda, it also links the heart to the mind through the pitta sub-dosha, called sadhaka pitta. Sadhaka pitta allows us to digest (understand and process) all the sense impressions, life experiences, knowledge, ideas and thoughts into feelings and emotions, hence it is linked to our nervous system. It basically gives meaning to our senses. I am sure you can imagine how important this sub-dosha is during a painful time.
The other sub-dosha that it is linked to the heart is the Avalambaka kapha. Vasant Lad describes it as the one that “carries pranic energy from the lungs to every cell, tissue and organ.” It is located in the heart and lungs. It helps to provide stability and power to in functions of the heart, and ease of breathing in the lungs. How important is the breath when you are going through a hard time? I think anyone who has anxiety or had an anxiety attack can tell you how important the breath is.
You might be wondering why I am sharing these details. Well, each dosha has its own energy, which influences how we look and feel physically and emotionally. When they are imbalanced, our bodies and our minds can get stuck in negative thought patterns that keep us feeling down (or worse). That's why it's so important to stay on top of your balance, especially when something stressful happens like losing someone special.
No, I am not here to tell you to give it time. Time is nothing, if it is not used correctly.
Recently after a bad break up, I’ve noticed how my heart was always in pain. I mean always, while driving, working, standing, sitting, or breathing. Then, I also saw the red spot on the heart space of my tongue (for those who understands). This post will have tips that I have personally used (there is a lot more as well) to stay balanced, to bring myself back to balance and to heal my heart & mind during this difficult time:
The first thing I did was journal. When you are used to talking to someone every day (for weeks, months, years) and there is sudden stop, your body and mind go through a shock/trauma. That’s irrespective of whether it’s a partner, a friend or a colleague. Since that comfort /routine isn’t there anymore, we need to create a sense of routine for our mind (who loves comfort / routine). But I did not want to talk to anyone else at first and when I did, no one understood. For once in my life, I was open to sharing my feelings and emotions, but no one understood.
Since I was not allowed to talk to my best friend (aka ex) anymore so I went to my journal for comfort. Initially I wrote as if I was writing directly to him and then my journal evolved to this beautiful discovery of myself. Till today, it is the only place where I was and am fully accepted to just be and to feel whatever I was and am feeling.
The good old one - Being in bed by 10pm and rise by 6–7am
Sleeping in might be tempting, but it only does harm. It creates a sense of lethargic in your body and mind. And since your body is already going through a shock, that lethargic sense will only make your mind and body depressed, anxious and stressed.
Instead, move your body
I started going to the gym, hiking and nature walks. It is initially started with me trying to do new things and meet new people. Moving my body made me feel present and allowed me to put the past behind. Additionally, as a lot of us experiences during hardships, I completely lost my appetite. I would wake up and realize I didn’t eat the day before, then would forget to eat again. I allowed my eating disorder to take over me and lost a ton of weight. Thankfully movement and nature reactivated my digestion and my appetite slowly came back. Nature heals on all the koshas, don’t forget how nurturing Mother Earth is and go enjoy it.
Cry your heart out
Tears release toxins out from your body. I had times where people would not allow me to be. I know they just wanted me to heal and move on from the separation, but their behavior did not help. So let me suggest this, no matter what people will say, cry, if you want to. Scream if you need to. Be raw. Be vulnerable. Be honest.
The body keeps the score. If you keep it in, it will haunt in the future.
Warning: Make sure you keep hydrated for this activity. True story: One day I cried so much, that there were no more tears left in me (for the day obviously :P)
If you allow me, I can suggest tissue water of fresh or dry ginger, tulsi leaves or CCF* tea. This can help detox your body from any toxins and keep your digestion on its toes while you mourn your relationship and all the other relationships that had to end with it.
Self-massage with cooling, sweet-smelling, uplifting oils
Use oils like ksheerabala, shatavari, sandalwood, jasmine, rose, khus or lavender. I personally used lavender, sandalwood, jasmine or rose, depending on the day and feeling. Believe me, you will feel so heavenly afterwards and would be so relaxed that your mind won’t even go towards him/her.
Avoid triggering activities/things, instead laugh, dance and sing
Clear your space of the memories together to avoid triggers (the jewellery, pictures, etc.)
And watching aggressive and violent shows can make your anxiety, pain or stress worsen. Initially I wasn’t even watching tv, I didn’t even have the strength for Netflix (The dumb drama of the fact that I was not using his Netflix anymore 🙄). Now I pay attention to what I watch when I am in the mood. If you know a romantic comedy will trigger you, go read instead. (Be like the pitta me, who is currently reading 7 books at the same time. Then I do not even remember who to quote when I speak. :| ) Or put some music (currently listening to Flowers by Miley Cyrus) and sing out loud, dance and laugh. Raise the volume in the car, pull the windows down (if you are in the Southern hemisphere and it is still summer, else keep warm), sing and dance. And don't forget to smile.
Try alternate nostril breath, deep breathing exercises and meditate
I kept myself busy with work, friends, my dog and family commitments. I did not give myself the time to mourn and to accept. I thought just moving on was enough. That’s not how our mind, body and heart work. I started truly doing deep breaths everyday and anytime my emotions would try to overtake me. It can help to calm the mind and bring you back to present. It also taught to accept the situation for what it is. Deep breathing also helps your digestion, in this case the digestion of the separation.
Most important one - Connect with your inner self and God/ Goddess/ Universe
You are not alone. Remember we all have these experiences, it is part of your journey on this Earth. You will heal this. Connect to your self through meditation, prayer or whatever you like. We are all connect, we are all one. We are all part of God, we are all one. Surrender to the Universe’s bigger plans for you. Go within and embrace the solitude. Solitude with God / Goddess / Universe.
I accept the Divine planning. I accept.
I accept and love myself.
I surrender to the Universe.
You will see the rays of light will come.
Be patient with yourself.
Allowing one self to sit with the pain, instead of the distractions, is the best gift to your soul.
Heal and conquer your empire!
"Avalambaka kapha carries love and compassion from the heart to the rest of the body. Every thought and emotion affects it." - Kerala Ayurveda
Be mindful of it. Light and colors will come back into your life; and you will realize that you are that light and that color.
*CCF tea is equal parts of cumin, coriander and fennel seeds.
Disclaimer: These tips and tools worked for me and my body. If you decide to use any of the tips I share, please check with your physician or Ayurvedic Doctor or Coach before proceeding.