Updated: Oct 7, 2021
The Doorways of Perception:
In Ayurveda, sensory impressions are considered crucial to health. Our senses are the pathways in which we perceive the world. They are our doorways to the world around us (and inside us). Just as the food we eat creates our bodily tissues, what we ingest through our sensory impressions determine the quality of our thoughts and emotions. If we want greater physical and emotional well-being, we can use sounds, feelings, sights, tastes, and smells to bring balance and heal.
By treating the senses as the gateway to our own inner pharmacy, we tap into the most profound source of healing imaginable, our own consciousness. Think of the senses as portals through which we ingest the raw materials of our world and create our picture of reality.
And as always, there is the other side of the coin. One of the main causes of diseases laid out in Ayurvedic texts is the misuse of the senses. Our health depends on the positive input of our five senses as much as it does on nurturing food. If We experience the external world through the processes of listening, touching, looking, tasting and smelling then we most certainly want to be ingesting experiences that are more nourishing than harmful. After all, our experiences with the external world affect the health of our inner world. What nourishes your soul nourishes your body.
Nourishing your Senses & Sense Organs.
Healing Sounds: the power of music! Soothing sounds can help maintain biological rhythms and overall balance, whereas prolonged exposure to very loud or unpleasant sounds can cause potentially damaging stress.
Ears: keep ears covered in wind, add one drop of oil to each ear or apply oil to little finger and gentle lubricate the ear canal. Be sure to keep them clean
2. Therapeutic Touch: Touch can stimulate emotional responses that contribute to healing. The skin is the largest organ in the body, laden with nerve receptors and immune modulators! Avoid using products with heavy chemicals!
Skin: Abhyanga (self-oil massage), marma, tapping, mudras, hugs :)
3. Healing Sights: This is the sense most prone to overloading! Try less screen time and avoiding violent/intense TV. Look at peaceful images & spend time in nature. Watch the trees move in the wind, or stare at the water trickling off of a fountain.
Eyes: the eyes are the seat of pitta dohsa and tend to carry a lot of heat, so rinse with cool water or rose water, try eye palming, and candle gazing. Practice your eye exercises daily to strengthen the eyes.
4. Taste Perception: Include all six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, astringent & bitter) in daily meals. Eat a wide variety of fresh foods, organic foods, spices & healthy oils to improves digestion, immunity & joy! Avoid processed & toxic foods. Be mindful of how you are eating, when you are eating and why you are eating. Have gratitude for your food and try to eat slowly!
Tongue: daily tongue scraping, oil pulling, flossing, hydration, mindful eating
5. Aromatherapy: smell can have potent effect on our mind/body system. An aroma can trigger deep-seated memories in vivid ways. Diffusing healing essential oils, & diluted topical application, and cooking aromas.
Nose: neti pot, nasya, marsha (use finger to lightly lubricate nasal passage with oil)
Ayurveda places great importance on improving the subtlety and strength of the five senses. What we see, eat, touch, smell and taste matters not just to the senses but to the mind. In this type of practice, our five sensory organs (eyes, ears, nose, skin and tongue) and their functions (to see, hear, smell, touch and taste) are utilised carefully for creating a therapeutic influence in our body, mind and breath. What if your taste was stronger, your eyes keener, your ears more sensitive? You would have a higher perception of reality.