6 Stress Relief Tips from Portland's Ayurvedic Experts

Calm yourself with Ahara Rasa's lessons from the time-honored Indian "science of life."

By Allison Jones May 27, 2015

The holistic health pros at Ahara Rasa—Portland's first and only full-scale Ayurvedic wellness center and store—understand your panic. In our modern lives, work stressors, family commitments, the pressure to work out and eat well, and our constantly plugged-in state drain even the most hearty of Portlanders. But the answer isn't just disconnecting from it all and zoning out in front of Netflix. It's possible to draw clues from a whole "science of life"—thousands of years of Ayurveda expertise from India and trained practitioners around the world—to discover the best way to eat, move, and, yes, de-stress while staying connected and inspired.

Portland's women-owned Ayurveda clinic is our go-to resource for traditional methods to build optimal health from the inside out, thanks to their encyclopedic understanding of the human body and caring, inclusive approach. From self-massage with tailored oils and teas made specially for your constitution (or dosha) to fertility support and personal Ayurvedic counseling, Ahara Rasa provides dozens of ways to support your own version of vitality, no matter how stressed you get. Here, Certified Ayurvedic Health Practitioner and Ahara Rasa co-owner Michelle Magid shares her favorite ways to destress:

Go out in nature and spend time in the sunshine: "This is one of my biggest lifestyle recommendations," says Magid. "The best hours are before 10 am and after 2 pm." To protect the skin, Magid recommends Abhyanga (self oil massage before a shower) to provide natural protection from the sun's rays. Ahara Rasa's store offers plenty of custom oil blends for your dosha, but you can also use coconut oil (cooling) or sesame oil (warming). Check out this video to learn more.

For diet, lighten it up! "I know this is a hard one because we often go to comfort food when we are stressed," Magid says. "If you need to eat heavy carbs, cheese, or protein, eat them for lunch and do what you can to eat satisfying healthy food that isn't heavy to digest for dinner. " For extra digestion support, Magid recommends cooking with digestive herbs such as fennel, cumin, and coriander or making a simple tea out of the whole spices and sipping it throughout the day.

For herbal support, take adaptogens: "Herbs like ashwaganda, shatavari, eleuthero, and rhodiola rosea can regulate your body's hormonal response to stress and provide the added support you need while you are implementing the diet and lifestyle supports," shares Magid.

Avoid coffee and alcohol. These go-to drinks may seem like they're supporting you, but they can exhaust the adrenal system and leave you feeling more stressed out, not less. "We have a great coffee substitute called Ayurvedic Roast that contains ashwaganda, shatavari, and brahmi which will give an energy boost and rebuild the nervous system at the same time," Magid says.

For mental support, meditation is key: "I know it's not always easy to do," confesses Magid, "but whatever form or for however long, meditation always leads to great rewards!" Ahara Rasa carries meditation cushions as well as incense and essential oils, which can support a meditative practice.

Exercise: "Any form can help the stress process." Magid recommends just 10-20 minutes a day. "Do what you love as it will be easier to do! You can't underestimate the power of enjoying yourself and the good hormones that are released when you are having a good time." That's one tip we'll certainly take to heart.

Interested in finding out more about Ayurveda? Ahara Rasa offers a wide range of services, from personalized nutritional counseling and diverse massage techniques to Ayurvedic yoga therapy and traditional Ayurvedic treatments. Visit them at 5505 SE Woodstock Blvd or give them a call at 503-788-3038.

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