The last year and a half has been unprecedented in its toll on us all as a collective, global population. And as Mother’s Day approaches on May 9th, we will all need a little more of the nurturing, supportive and loving energy of Ma or Mother. Sadly, so many of us are now separated from our mothers due to restrictive lockdowns, some of us have actually lost our mothers recently, others experience toxic dynamics in their relationships with their mothers, and those of us who are currently called to serve as mothers in this lifetime are spread thin in their sudden acquisition of the roles of mom, teacher, babysitter, personal chef and career professional.
So what can we do in these stressful times to mother ourselves when a mothering figure may be far from reach?
We can start by recognizing that the force from which the mother essence, from which her effortless nurturance, care and tenderness arises is Shakti, the feminine or Yin aspect of existence, which resides in all of us whether we are female, male, mothers, or any living Being.
Ayurveda was born out of a tradition which reveres and pays homage to the gracious energy of Shakti, of Ma, of the feminine. We can see this in Ayurveda’s recommendation that, when a woman becomes mother, she is to rest and rejuvenate for the following 6 weeks after delivery; a time in which she is to be doted upon with the love, attention and care that she will be tasked with offering to her newborn child for the rest of her life.
So this Mother’s Day, we invite you to treat yourself like a new mother, irregardless of whether you have ever birthed a child or not. We invite you to schedule and take a time of repose, to whatever degree and length of time that is possible for you (even if it’s just 1 hour), and dedicate that time to self-nourishment, to your own satisfaction, to your own recharging and to your own happiness and peace.
1. SLEEP FOR 8 HOURS OR MORE
The night before Mother’s Day, go to bed and turn off the light by 10 pm at the latest. 9pm is even better! If you have been having trouble falling asleep lately, or having a full-night’s rest, take 1 tbsp of our NIGHTY NIGHT POTION in warm, non-dairy milk, and sweeten with honey or maple syrup, 1 hour before you retire to your bedroom.
Most of us are sleep deprived. And even though many of us might be receiving enough rest, we may not be following a sleep schedule that aligns properly with nature’s bio-energetic rhythms. Lack of adequate rest will lead to a Vata-imbalance over time, and can be the reason we feel frazzled and frizzed day in and day out. Let Mother’s Day be the day you begin to tend to your own sleep with the discipline and structure that you would give to your young children. If it’s in their best interest to get to sleep by a specific time, it’s in your best interest too!
2. START YOUR DAY WITH AN AYURVEDIC SELF-MASSAGE
Post-natal care in Ayurveda includes daily Abhyanga, or Ayurvedic massage, to build and fortify the mother’s tissues, organs and nervous system in her Vata-aggravated state. Abhyanga–oil massage–is the perfect antidote to a new mother’s depleted state, post-delivery.
Warm about 1/4 cup of organic sesame oil or one of our handmade ABHYANGA OILS in hot water until it is warm to the touch, but not hot. Apply this oil while chanting mantra or while simply reciting self-loving affirmations, noticing the potential tendency to approach your body with brutality and judgement in your thoughts.
Watch the following video to learn the recommended application technique. Let the oil soak into your skin for 30 minutes minimum, then take a hot bath or shower.
3. ANNOINT YOUR FEMININE BITS WITH LOVE
Our SACRED YONI ELIXIR is truly a gift for your Yoni (vagina), the portal to your feminine essence, unlimited creativity and sexual energy. In chronic states of stress and over-exertion, the ensuing Vata imbalance can lead to the drying up of our internal waters, including our feminine juiciness. Yes, we are talking about vaginal lubrication here!
No woman enjoys feeling dry down there. When the Yoni is lacking in lubrication, we can feel flat and uninspired, drained (literally and figuratively), wiped of any remnants of a sexual-appetite, and of course, if engaged in, sex will be challenging and possibly painful.
After you shower, place a few drops of Yoni Elixir in the palm of your hand and apply to the outer and inner tissues of the vagina. Begin practicing this daily, to nourish the tissues, build Ojas and stimulate self-lubrication.
4. EAT A NOURISHING DIET
Let your meals on this day be oh so Brahmana or building and nourishing for your body and heart. This means that your ingredients, your cooking methods, as well as the energy you bring into the kitchen and to the table should all be grounding, soothing, calming and stabilizing. Focus on creating meals that are ‘guru’ (heavy), ‘usna’ (hot), ‘snigdha’ (oily) and ‘mrdu’ (soft) to invite in the energies of Earth and Water.
Similarly, as you cook, come into a meditative state by removing distractions such as your phone or the television. You can play mantras in the background or recite them yourself, and let the kitchen and your stove becomes spaces of meditative and sacred contemplation. Food picks up the energy of the one who is preparing it, so be sure that you are embodying the calm and settledness that you seek in your life as you cook, to the very best of your ability.
As you sit down to your meal as well, it is just as imperative that the way you eat your food be in alignment with Sattvic (pure) energy as much as your food should be. Take a few moments before you eat to really take in the impressions that your meal has on the 5 senses. Ayurveda even states that digestion actually begins in the eyes! Eat slowly and with awareness. Just bringing more mindfulness to the way in which you eat can correct many digestive imbalances that can arise from a food-system that has been entirely removed from nature itself.
Try this RECIPE, as your first simple, yet delicious Mother’s Day meal (the whole family will love it too). And swap out the suggested ADAPT-TO-LIFE POTION for our WILD WOMAN POTION to reap the benefits of this synergistic blend of hormone-balancing herbs and adaptogens.
5. DO AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE
Do nothing! Yes. You have permission. Let this be a day (or several days if you have that opportunity) of letting go of the need to constantly produce and achieve more. Relax. Take a nap if you feel called to. Go outside and play with your loved ones. Let others pamper you. This is the medicine that our world so desperately needs, but rarely allows. Embody the energy of a koala bear in the wild. Nothing much to do and nowhere to go, their only job is to eat, sleep, drink and BE.
This will likely bring up feelings of discomfort and anxiety, but treat this recommendation like a doctor’s prescription and consider these feelings simply as unpleasant side effects that will pass in time.
AYURVEDA IS OUR SHARED MOTHER
The timeless wisdom and ever-giving care of Ayurveda is a mother to us all, and we only need reach out to welcome her into our lives.
We are quickly approaching the October 1st full moon, known as Purnima in the Vedic tradition, and as women, we might feel deeply and intrinsically drawn to her ripeness at this time. In her fullness, Chandra (moon) represents the blossomed and fruitous energy of manifestation, of Shakti. This energy holds exceptional power, and when we are living in attuned alignment with the rhythms of the constantly fluctuating moon, our intentions can truly come into full expansion in tandem with the building energy that peaks when the moon expands into pregnancy.
But in an overtly 'yang' culture stripped of this innate relationship to the moon and the feminine capacity for manifestation, we can feel lost and devoid of the nurturance, the power and the capacity to birth forward new life in all forms, represented by the engorging and waxing moon, and equally to be emptied and grow inwardly still, signified by the waning moon as it moves towards complete nothingness.
In the early evening, during the 3 days leading up to the full moon and on the full moon night itself, begin to connect to and stoke the abundant energy of fertility and creative potential that lives inside of you, through these practices...
1. Malasana (Squatting Posture)
This classical asana (yogic posture), is especially healing for women. It harmonizes and balances the Svadhisthana (sacral) and Muladhara (root) chakras, bringing balance to the sexual energy, regulating hormones, and activating the creative force.
Bring the feet hip-width-distance apart. Slowly, bend the knees and come down into a squatting position, pointing the toes outwards. If you can't bring your heels flat to the floor, place a cushion underneath them for support. Bend forward slightly, while keeping the spine long, and rest you palms on the floor or on a block. Breath slowly, and deeply. Imagine the esence of the full moon circling through your pelvis and root.
2. Celebrate with the Fullness of Rich, Blessed Food!
Eat nourishing, Ojas-rich foods that feel as if they are pulsing with vitality. Preference things that are juicy, sweet, comforting and celebratory. In India, Prasadam (blessed food) is given out during sacred gatherings and holidays and usually consists of sweets for sharing or rice with a lot of oil and ghee.
3. Shakti Meditation
On the night of the full moon, bring a Rupa (image or statue), of a sacred feminine figure or deity who you feel drawn towards. This could be one of the Mahavidyas, the ten great goddesses, or aspects of the Devi, from the Tantric tradition, or Mother Mary from the Christian tradition, or any other feminine form that calls to your heart. Bring her image onto your altar, offer her fresh flowers and Prasadam (blessed food), and begin a pracice of Bhakti (adoration) with her.
Practice Trataka, the ritual in which you gaze softly and steadily, without blinking, upon a form, and in so doing, come into union with the energy of that form. Try this with your chosen Devi for at least 10 minutes.
4. Moon Bathe
Sit or lie under the full moon, and let your body be saturated in her light and energy. Bring any crystals you may have, such as your RASA Ayurveda Yoni Eggsor Yoni Wand,to bask in the moonlight overnight. You may even want to leave your hand-hammered, 100% Copper Water Bottle orCopper Cup, full of water, out all night to absorb the powerful energies, and to be drank the next morning on an empty stomach.
Chandra Sadhana (moon practice) can quite literally alchemize your life. And as you begin to honor and worship this energy of Shakti, you will find a deeper embodiment into your own feminine form and an ability to harness the force of creativity and manifestation that is your birthright.
Let us know in the comments below, how you celebrate the full moon!
And please do share this article via social media and with the women in your life. This truly supports the work we do here at RASA to enrich the lives of as many as we can through the magic of Ayurveda!