Care for Your Senses (so they last a lifetime)
Keep Your Senses
Let’s talk about sense organ care – how do we take care of our world perceiving organs?
It’s kind of assumed that as we get older our senses slowly stop working, as though it’s “just the way it is”. Instead of jumping on the band wagon of decay, we can take small daily steps to ensure our senses stay sensitive and able to function optimally at every phase of our lives.
Could you imagine a world without sight… to be blind? Without hearing…to be deaf? Without a sense of touch…to be disconnected? Without taste…unsavory? Without smell…unaromatic? Your senses are literally your gateway to what you perceive. What you perceive is what you experience. What you experience is your life. So your senses are the ways in which you experience the world and through which you live your life.
Right now especially, our senses are what we want to protect, as not only do we take in the experience of the world through all of our senses but we also take in toxins, virus and environmental polutants through our mouth, ears, nose and eyes. This is one of the reasons we’re being asked to cover up. We take in added noise and stimulation via news, social media, negative people, conversations and images via our eyes and ears. This stresses us out, keeps us awake at night and rendors us anxious, overwhelmed and ungrounded.
Our senses are sensitive organs and it’s your job to protect and take care of them so they can do their job of protecting and caring for you. Without them, how would you feel… isolated, frustrated, disconnected and possibly sick? In this article, are simple habits to optimize your sense organ self-care.
Sense organ habits are simple, fast, and require little discipline or motivation. Pick up one practice at a time — one sense organ at a time. Stick with it — and these new changes will become your healthy new conscious habits that contribiute to a healthier body for a lifetime.
We have 5 SENSES: taste (tongue) hearing (ears) sight (eyes) skin (touch) nose (smell)
Specific practices lengthen the life span of your senses. Each sense organ has a few specific therapies that, when done daily, can heal damage now or prevent problems later.
Nasal Care Practices & Why.
When your nasal passages work well you have a chance at breathing well. If your nasal passages are clogged, inflamed or dried out your noses ability to deliver oxygen to your lungs is compromised. Dry nostrils lead to dry sinuses, which leads to an air filteration system that is ineffective. If the air filters of your nostrils are dry, they can’t catch nasty pathogens, germs or microbes. The germs enter your body moving deeper into your tissues, and wreak havoc with your lungs, throat, and sinuses. When this happens they can turn into infections, colds, flus or now the Coronavirus. Keeping your nasal passages moist and clear prevents sickness while enabling you to absorb more oxygen.
There are 2 main practices for nasal care:
• Nasal Rinsing
Use a Neti Pot to rinse out your nasal pasages. When you breathe in allergens, pollution, and other forms of irritation, mucus production can increase, setting the stage for congestion and infection. By performing a nasal rinse before this has a chance to occur, you can prevent and relieve symptoms that accompany sinus infections, common colds, and other illnesses.
• Nasal Oiling
Keep a small jar of coconut, sesame oil (oirganic, cold-pressed) or ghee next to the sink where you brush your teeth. Use your pinky finger to apply oil in circular motions inside your nostrils – Done! Teach your kids this habit and they won’t pick because they will be snot-free.
NOTE: Rinsing is done when you have congestion. Oiling is done where there is inflammation or dryness.
Tongue Care Practices and Why.
• Scrape your Tongue- (Don’t brush it)
You know your tongue is in charge of what you spit or swallow. To start optimizing your sense of taste you need two things:
• A stainless steel tongue scrape
• Tongue Chart
Understanding your tongue is fascinating as it mirrors your digestion, the states of your nervous system and your organ health. Your tongue is the roadmap to the state of your health.
Make scraping your tongue the FIRST thing you do in the morning. Scrape your tongue from back to front 7 to 14 times. Then, look at the junk you pulled onto your tongue scraper. The color and texture of that junk is full of information. If it’s light and clear – great! If it’s thick, white, and chunky – not so good! ? That gunk on your tongue is called AMA (undigested toxins, food and emotions) If you have ama on your tongue scraper, you can determine exactly where the ama is collecting in your gut. Is it your stomach? Your small intestine? Your colon? Google Ayurvedic tongue chartand you’ll find one to your liking – download it and get curious.
• Oil Pulling (super easy and only a few minutes)
Oil pulling is the best-proven way to clear the mouth of viruses, unhealthy bacteria, and debris. It also whitens the teeth, decreases inflammation, boosts the immune system and removes mucus. Mucis is Kapha build up and exactly what we want to move out. Viruses LOVE moist, heavy and cool – all kapha properties. We want to keep our senses dry, warm and light – Vata properties.
I love to stack this habit while I’m doing other things like checking emails, or unlaoding the dishwasher.
• Take a tablespoon of melted or hard (my preference)coconut oil into your mouth and swish it around. Work up to approx. 20 minutes (long enough to take the dog out for a pee) and then spit it out. Do not put into your plumbing but instead into the trash or on the earth. Swiish water through your mouth to rinse.
• This may take some getting used to but overtime you’ll experience the benefits and get over the “weirdness” of it.
Eye Care Practices & Why.
Your eyes are super sensitive to stress, tension, and fatigue of any kind, whether it’s physical, emotional, or mental. Our eyes spend so much of their life being pulled forward into computer/ TV/ iPhone screens, the road ahead of us, our future goals, other people, our worries and concerns. This puts an extreme amount of strain on our eyes. As a yoga teacher I often instruct students to softne their eyes/ gaze. When we do this our nervous system softens allow fluids to cleanse and replenish the eye tissue for longevity.
There are a number of practices that can extend the life of your eyes…and make them stronger NOW.
• Eye Palming: I love this especially if I’ve been on my computer a ton (excuse me while a take 2 minutes and do this)
Super easy…rub your hands together and create some heat. Fit your palm and base of your thumb into your eye sockets. Close your eyes and relax. Do this every hour especially if eyes feel strained.
• Make an Eye Bag: Use a lightweight cotton or a soft sock. Fill with FLAX seeds and tie up. The seeds are the perfect weight to allow the eyeball to lean back into the socket where fluids nourish and replenish. Now lie back and place the bag on your eyes and relax.
• Rest Your Eyes on the Horizon: After long periods on a screen/ reading or dep concentration lift your gaze and rest your eyes on the horizon.
• Maintaining the bodies ideal weight is important for eye care.
• Make it a habit to RELAX your eyes: when driving, when reading, when in a conversation. Use the timer on your phone if you’re serious about this to remind you every hour to relax your eyes…DING!
• Netra Basti – is an Ayurvedic therapy that involves bathing your eyes in clarified butter. You can see an Ayurvedic practitioner or try the home version- blissful!
Ear Care Practices and Why.
Your ears are always wide open and exposed. They work via vibration. Vibration requires space and movement through that space. The best way to replenish the ears and balance their expansive nature is to fill them with warm oil. We offer this practice to our kids when they have an earache…why wait for the earache? We need to respect the delicate nature of your hearing. Here’s a few tips to keep your HEARING
•Karna Purana – warm a one-ounce ear dropper bottle of warm sesame oil by placing it in a teacup filled with water at body temperature. Lie on your side comfortably with your head supported by an old towel. Fill your ear that faces the ceiling with the warm oil and relax. After a few minutes, slowly roll over, pouring the oil from that ear into a shallow bowl. Place a cotton ball in that ear, and repeat on the other side.
• Super simple ear oiling: The edited version of the above technique goes like this. Whne you step out the shower dry your head, hair and ears. Using a cold pressed organic (untoasted) sesame oil soak your middle finger in oil and rub into the outer ear hole, about half an inch. Make circles with your index fingers, gently lubricating and stretching the inner ear. Do both sides.
• Avoid loud, aggressive, or harsh sounds, even people.
• Take in the sounds of nature. You can do this as a listening meditation.
• If you’re a light sleeper (or for tinnitus) : try sleeping with oily cotton balls in your ears—wet side in. Use sesame oil.
• Balance sound with silence.
Skincare Practices and Why.
The tiopic of skincare is a LOADED topic. It’s a billion dollar business. Companies are always trying to push product to improve skin in a million different ways. Throughout the years I’ve fallen victim to many of the sales pitches, false promises and flash sales, at the expense of my bank account mostly. CLICK HERE to learn more. At this point in my life some of my favorite and most effective skin care practices are the most basic.
• HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE.
• SELF MASSAGE with OIL – This very simple practice of using your hands to heal and sculpt your body is one of my favorite daily habits. This ancient practice is called abhyanga. As you build trust and skill over time, you become the best caretaker and healer of your body. Your sense of touch improves and your sensitivity to your owns bodies needs improves. You build your immune system. As you nourish your skin, your lymphatic system, your body’s largest organ which carries a massive load of your immune function, becomes more functional. Dry or dis-eased skin is a sign of an immune system that is fair game for germs and pathogens.
Ditch ALL creams- Lotion = oil + water and a ton of other crap- chemicals, fragrance, emulsifiers, preservatives etc. These destroy the sacred ecosystem of your skin, similar to how antibiotics destroy the delicate ecosystem of your gut lining. The chemicals go through your skin into your bloodstream and get captured by your liver.
Choose an oil that is right for your Dosha. Take a DOSHA QUIZ to determine your body “type”.
Vata predominant, use untoasted cold- pressed sesame oil. Pitta predominant, use coconut oil in summer, sunflower oil in winter. Kapha predominant, use a mix of corn and untoasted sesame oil. I find sesame oil in the Winter/ early Spring to be a pretty good choice for most.
Massage just enough oil into your skin. Start with one limb at a time. Long strokes on the long bones. Round strokes at the joints. Listen to what your body wants. ENJOY!!!
In yoga there is a term, Asatmendriyartha samyoga. This means Disrespecting your senses. The yogis call this one of the three main causes of disease. When you overuse, misuse, neglect, or abuse your senses they eventually dull out, unable to do their job, and your world gets a little smaller as your ability to preceive lessens. Now, if you respect your senses and all they do for you, they can can actually get better as you age- different way of thinking ha? Your senses are highly attuned instruments that operate at very specific frequencies. If we neglect them, we put stress on the entire operating system of our entire being. Similar to that of a car…remove one spark plug and the entire car gives out eventually. Pay attention to your senses, when you had too much food, too much noise, too stimulation and respond accordingly.
Remember, we only get one set of eyes, one nose, 2 ears, 1 mouth and one body…
When you use the change of seasons to dump out toxins and imbalances through a seasonal cleanse/ detox, you upgrade your body’s operating system. You can release physical as well as emotional gunk (AMA). Season by season, you can wake up wiser and more able to preceive the world renewed and more accurately. Your senses will be cleaner, clearer, more alert and refreshed. You make better choices.
Ps. In my signature program, "GLOW WITH SOUL DAILY HABITS", we spend an entire week, dialing in this beautiful habit.
Click HERE to learn more.