[Learn Ayurveda] How to Heal your ancestral patterns with Tarpana – Part 1
When I gave this tribe a bunch of options on what I should write about next, ancestral healing shot to the top of the lists. I didn’t think I had much to say about it. Then I started to write. It turned into 2 parts.
In this email I set the tone. In the next email I fill you in on the how-to’s of ancestral healing. If that is what you are after – skip this email. It’s full of personal story about my ancestral healing, not how-tos. But, you’ll want to make sure you print the next one – as it has the instructions.
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I just finished giving Indy a massage. She turns 9 tomorrow. She is asleep beside me as I write.
Soon into my Ayurvedic medicine training I took a Pancha Karma training. (PK is the Ayurvedic art of detoxifying disease from the body and mind.) In PK training I was introduced to abhyanga or the traditional oil massage. Abhyanga incorporates marma therapy, using pressure points to open pathways for prana to flow.
Today I found myself knowing which points to press and rub to give my kid relief from a little congestion. A little congestion can turn into a head cold – and we don’t want that. I had her rinse off and lie down on my bed. We live at a surf break and can hear the waves and the birds. I like to start with a rinse of because water is softening, soothing and signals a change for the body.
My kid received bodywork from me most days of her young life. In the past few years we’ve been more sporadic – more on as as needed basis.
Traditionally speaking humans learned healing from their ancestors – and mostly their mothers and grandmothers. There is a reason most cultures have a term for “grandmother’s wisdom”.
Our ancestors discovered the marma points – pressure points that open the gateways for the flow of consciousness – through experimentation. The desire was always to relieve suffering. To alleviate pain. To help the healing take root. To realign the energies back into a flow state.
There was a time in our human history, and maybe in your history, when healing happened first between mother and child. Anyone who has given birth naturally has experience the first impulse for skin to skin contact. That instinct lasts for days and months. Yet in our sterile modern world complete with hospital births we have cloth separating us – dulling our intuition of using our sense of touch, our skin to skin connection to heal.
My sense is there is a time in our future when every parent knows the basics of self-healing to share with their offspring. When a family member starts showing symptoms – like my daughters runny nose – what chain of events is set into motion?
Does another family member come help using their hands to heal? Does he or she give skin to skin connection, and let their hands guide them, intuitively, like our ancestors hands, to just the right points with just the right pressure to give relief? Or do we look first to an expert, outside of the house, to use instruments and chemical concoctions to set our kin right again?
Do you know this Ayurveda trick for a congested sinus or nostril?
I taught Indy how to lie on her side and put a fist in her armpit. Do you know this trick? It’s a yogic or Ayurvedic trick. (Our ancestors knew if a nostril or sinus is clogged for more than 2 hours you mess with your energy flows. Either the masculine or feminine channel stays open too long – and the dynamic balance is upset. Then a minor imbalance moves deeper into the tissue and creates real havoc. So, nostril regulation becomes a chief concern.)
If your right nostril or sinus is clogged, lie on your left side, and put your right fist under your left armpit. Yes – you’ll be lying on your fist. Then relax. In a few moments your right nostril or sinus might open up. If you'll suffering from sinus congestion, don’t be surprised if your left one now clogs. You’ll have to roll over and do the other. You are doing your own marma therapy.
Do you know this Ayurveda trick to get sleepy?
Then, Indy said she was tired but couldn’t sleep.
I picked up another marma trick from my friend and colleague Melanie Sachs. Melanie is always talking about kitchen medicine and grandmother’s wisdom. She taught me to put the base of my wrist on my hairline, and stretch my fingers back as far as they could go. Then tap and rub that place. It’s towards the top and back of your head. I taught Indy this today too. I’ll remind her a few times until she thinks that everybody knows it.
I also use it this marma – Simantakas – to take a deeper breath. If I notice shallow breathing I rub this point until a deeper breath can enter. Sometimes it takes a few minutes. And it can be helpful to open Adhipati marma first (crown chakra marma) through some gentle tapping and rubbing.
Reconnecting Your Ancestral Memory
When we dive deep into Yoga we run into Ayurveda. When we dive into Ayurveda we run into our health history. If we go deeper yet, we run into our ancestral health history and our ancestral memory.
For me I discovered at some point in my Ayurvedic journey that I was carrying my maternal grandmother’s anger. My grandmother, unlike me, had much to be angry about. Not to throw my sweet grandfather under the bus but he was an alcoholic who literally sold the farm out from under the family.
My life has been cush. I’ve had opportunity after opportunity and any hardships I’ve encountered have largely been of my own making. But for some reason I carried her anger, unconsciously deep within.
My other grandfather battled periods of low food supply and intermittent starvation in his childhood. From him I inherited a tendency towards hoarding. Hoarding is a bit strong – perhaps it was more of tendency to store extra and hold on. In any case for him it was a survival skill. For me raised with plenty in the cupboard this instinct is a vestigial organ.