Ayurveda Tips for Your 5 Senses this Christmas
Do you often feel overwhelmed by all the glitz, bling and noise of the Christmas Holiday Season? It’s no wonder if you do. There is an overabundance of plastic packaging, cheaply made consumer products and the pressure to commercialize the season. And many people are searching for ways to keep things more simple and wholesome this year. They are looking to spend more quality time with family and friends. And less time stressing about meeting the demands of unrealistic “Wish Lists”. Many are hoping to avoid busy malls and box stores.
Good News, the Holiday Season need not be a place of stress and commercialized pressure.
How does one create the warm atmosphere of an inviting holiday home without all that packaging, tinsel and glitz?
We were gifted with 5 senses – Sight, Smell, Taste, Touch and Sound. Slowing down a little can help us take notice of the more simple details. We can begin to savour the experiences of each of the 5 senses. As we bring a more mindful approach to how we use our senses we can set the tone for a richly memorable and easeful experience.
This is one of our most unique senses. Smell can transport us back in time to earlier memories with just one whiff. Smells can bring happy memories and a smile to our faces as we reminisce.
You can recreate or even make your own new connections through the sense of smell with essential oils, cooking foods and fresh cut conifers, herbs or ground spices.
Here are a few ways to infuse some wonderful fragrances to make your holiday home a lovely sanctuary:
- Simmer some apple slices with cinnamon on the stove-top. Or try some cloves and orange peel with a dash of vanilla in the simmer pot. The smell of orange is uplifting, vanilla is warming and the cloves give the blend a spicy note.
- Make your own room deodorizer spray. Using a small spritzer bottle, distilled water (tap water will do in a pinch) and a few essential oils like; cinnamon, sweet orange and lavender. Pour a few drops of each essential oil into the spritzer bottle, add water to top up and shake. That’s it – you can now enjoy a lovely fresh fragrance that is sure to help lift your spirits! And bonus – this spritzer can double as a cleaner to wipe the countertops and kitchen sink. Leaving a fresh smell and a cleaned surface.
- Enjoy the smell of Evergreens. Ever notice that a walk in an Evergreen Forest can improve your mood and help relieve stress? Many species of pine, balsam, and spruce release natural chemical compounds into the air. Their fragrance is uplifting and soothing. Get outdoors to clear your head with some fresh air and the healing effects of Nature. On your way, pick cedar, pine, balsam or spruce boughs. You can use these to create a fragrant green swag to decorate the stair railing, or tuck fresh cut branches into vases and flower displays. If you don’t live near a forest but would like that fresh smell of evergreen trees indoors there are some lovely essential oils that you can use like; balsam, spruce, pine and scotch pine. Use these in a diffuser to mist the air and create the feel of your own indoor woodland forest.
Skip the hot chocolate this season. Here’s a recipe for a delicious and healthy warm drink called Golden Milk – it’s spicy and sweet like a chai latte’ but without the caffeine or sugar.
- Golden Milk Recipe – whisk 1 cup of almond, rice or light coconut milk with; ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp ground turmeric, ¼ tsp ginger, ½ tsp coconut oil or ghee (clarified butter), a few black peppercorns and 1 cup of water in a pan on the stove. Bring to a low boil and then reduce heat to simmer for a few minutes while stirring. Allow to stand for a few minutes to cool then stir in 1 to 2 tsp honey for sweetening. Serve and enjoy anytime of day – but this is especially nice when winding down in the evening. For a fun Holiday twist on that Golden Milk – try adding a sprig of fresh mint and a twist of orange to the side of your mug!
Bright foods heighten the senses of sight & taste. Beets, carrots, roasted red, yellow or orange bell peppers bring bright colors to the table. Serve pumpkin or squash soups. Add pomegranate seeds to a colorful green salad then drizzle with a gorgeous avocado green dressing. Top with orange slices and toasted nuts like pecans or walnuts. Get creative!
Take care of your skin & relieve stress. Our skin is our body’s first line of defense. It works hard for us protecting our bodies from cool dry winter air. And yet our skin also allows us the sense of touch – connection, care and even healing. Here’s an Ayurvedic tip – don’t smother your dry winter skin in store bought chemical laden creams. The toxins in those creams can end up in your body and show up as a toxic build up in your liver. Which can cause all kinds of health issues. Instead indulge in the sense of touch by massaging your body with healthy oils like sunflower, coconut and almond oil. Enjoy the feeling of smoothing the oil on to your skin and kneading it in deeper to connect with the muscles and tissues below the skin’s surface. Self-massage is a sensory treat you can use daily to relieve tension in the hands, feet and stiff muscles throughout your whole body.
- Here are a few yummy massage oil blends you can gift to others or use yourself:
Blend coconut oil or sunflower oil with a few drops of orange & rosemary essential oil for an invigorating mood lifter.
Try lavender and vanilla for a calming and sweet blend.
Give your eyes a rest. Pamper them instead. Put down your cell phone. Turn off your electronic devices a little earlier each evening. Use soft lighting. Take note of any signals that indicate that your eyes are tired. Pamper your eyes by softly massaging sunflower oil around the eye socket, cheekbones and brow. Add a drop of relaxing lavender oil to your sunflower oil and blend in the palm of your hands. This will warm the oils and feel lovely as you massage around the eyes.
Your ears are sensitive. If something feels too loud you need to honor that and turn down the volume. Limit the amount of negative, harsh or dramatic television programs or radio broadcasts you listen to. Turn off the news! Choose soothing music without harsh effects or course language – if you live near the woods try to listen to the sound of birds in the trees or the wind rustling through the treetops. Our ears can be sensitive to cold air – cover your ears when outdoors to keep the wind out of the ear canal and protect yourself from the pain of earache. Ayurvedic tips:
- For soothing ears that are dry and itchy – place a few drops of warm sesame oil (not the toasted variety) on the tips of your pinky fingers and massage the oil gently in to the outer ear canal.
- Need some extra nurturing? Dip 2 cotton balls in sesame oil (plain – not toasted oil) and place the oil dipped side of the cotton ball in each ear before bed. This will nurture the ear canal and muffle exterior sound as well which may help you have a more effective sleep.
I hope these tips spark more wonderful ideas for you. I’d love to hear your delicious tips too. Leave a note in the comment section below to share your recipes and help spread the love!
Wishing Many Blessings to you and your’s this coming Holiday Season.
About the Yoga Health Coaching Blogger
Heather Hodgson is a Yoga Health Coach in mid-northern Ontario, Canada. She owns a small Yoga Studio called Flying Mermaid Yoga where she teaches a variety of yoga classes, interactive workshops and Yoga Health Coaching Programs on the Daily Habits of Yoga & Ayurveda. Heather brings a sense of fun and lighthearted enthusiasm to her work with a deep connection towards healing and wellness based on over 25 years experience in the Healing Arts Industry. Reach out and connect with Heather through her website or Facebook.
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