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Concept of psychiatry in ayurveda

To begin with, the mind is the mirror of the pure awareness. It is an amazing tool to get the informations with the help of five senses. There is no real separation between mind and body. To rephrase it, in Ayurveda, the body is said to be the crystallization of the mind.

Different Aspects of Mind

The subtle channels of the mind are manovaha srotas. The channel of mind is the whole body and opens into the sense organs. According to Charaka Samhita, an ancient text of ayurveda,’one who sees equally the entire universe in his own self and his own self in the entire universe is in possession of true knowledge’. 

In ayurveda, the inner aspect of mind composes of four parts: Buddhi- inner wisdom, chitta- the storehouse of our experiences, manas- the outer mind, ahamkara- ego.

Manasa prakriti - types of mind according to ayurveda

As discussed, mental constitution of a person depends on three operational qualities or the three gunas such as sattva, rajas and tamas. These have a profound effect on our state of mind and emotion.

Trigunas

A person is called sattvic, rajasic or tamasic according to the predominance of the gunas or the character of a person depending on the predominance of these three gunas. In these gunas, Rajas and Tamas are known as Manodoshas. The imbalance of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas are responsible for mental illness or Manovikara.

Sattva guna represents the purity or alertness and force of stable existence. It is an amalgamation of all things good – quality of love,forgiveness, honesty, duty abiding, wisdom, intellect, harmony, self-control, knowledge, power to determine right and wrong in life.

The qualities of Rajas guna are instability, unhappy, coward, wicked, motion, violent, envious, authoritative, desirous and in confusion. Tamo guna represents the inertness, being dull, ever worrying, ignorant, inactive, lazy, sleepy or drowsy.

How the doshas are related to mind

To enumerate, there are five types of vata, pitta and kapha doshas. In these subtypes of doshas, prana vata, sadhaka pitta and tarpaka kapha are directly related to mind. The imbalance of these doshas causes mental and emotional disturbances. So balancing these doshas will help us to stabilise the imbalances of aspects that relates to mind and heart.

Prana vata and mind

Prana vata principally located in head and controls the movement of the mind, thoughts and feelings. It promotes enthusiasm, inspiration, mental adaptability, the ability to communicate and coordinate ideas and performs the intellectual function at the discretion of buddhi (wisdom). Prana vata conveys sense objects, mind and soul and promotes the realisation of the objects and situations.

Vata Vitiation

When disturbed, it can gives rise to depression, grief, worry, restlessness, anxiety, insecurity, fear or feeling of insecurity, delusion,helplessness, insomnia, inertness, nightmares and physical neurological problems such as palpitation, tremors, epilepsy and dementia.

Without a doubt, prana vata is the most important aspect of vata and directs the other four sub-doshas of vata. Charaka explains with a simile, that just as the rays of light radiate from the sun; all sense faculties and channels of prana vata originate from the head. Therefore, it significantly affects our general health.

How to balance prana vata?

To stabilize prana vata, ayurveda has suggested some of the measures.

Abhyanga

Ayurvedic massage with warm oil can be done balance the vata dosha.
To open the circulation and to stimulate digestion, absorption and elimination, outdoor walking when sun rises will help.

Elimination of natural urges will help us to stabilise vata and to keep the mental and emotional balance.

Yoga asanas or pranayama hold a prominent role to keep our mind in balance
Herbs such as ashwagandha, vacha, shatavari, bhringraj, liquorice and black cumin

Sadhaka pitta and mind

Pitta located in ‘hridaya’ (heart) and mind is sadhaka pitta. Our mental and emotional health is very much affected by sadhaka pitta. It governs the biochemical substances such as dopamine and serotonin in the brain and is responsible for blood flow through the heart, and the emotions connected with it. It is the type of pitta that digests and metabolizes experiences and determines our reactions to them.

Sadhaka type of pitta helps to transform the qualities of ‘ojas’ into medha to motivate ‘buddhi’. Thus the sadhaka pitta helps the acquisition of discretionary power, intelligence, self confidence and enthusiasm. With the realisation of these virtues, the soul at its will, resumes to pursue the dharma, artha, kama and moksha. The sadhaka pitta serves as an instrument to do so and thought to counteract kapha and and tamas in hrudaya and hence stimulates sattva guna of mind.

Imbalance of Pitta

When in balance, sadhaka pitta promotes harmonious emotions, valour or courage, pleasure, happiness, self confidence, healthy desires, energy, motivation, passion and a feeling of fulfilment.

When sadhaka pitta is vitiated or out of balance, it give rise to fear of cowardice, anger or irritability, confusion, inconfidence, negative emotions, including self criticism, mood swings, being overly analytical or judgemental, feeling aggressive, overambitious and jealous.

Insomnia is mainly due to the instability of sadhaka pitta. Pitta type of depression can be deep and long lasting and should be treated immediately. If left untreated, it can lead to serious depression. It may lead to an imbalance of tarpaka kapha, which is responsible for coordinating the heart and mind, causing further problems in the mind (prana vata) in which case all three doshas are disturbed.

How to balance sadhaka pitta?

• Ayurvedic massage with cool and relaxing oil such as sesame oil and coconut oil
• Listening to relaxing music
• Proper sleep at proper time provides enough rest and helps to alleviate imbalances of doshas
• Spending time outside in a beautiful place especially by water
• Herbs such as amalaki, shatavari, bhringraj, aloe vera, manjistha, jatamansi, shankhpushpi, sandalwood, saffron, liquorice

Tarpaka kapha and mind

Tarpaka kapha is basically located in the brain, heart and cerebrospinal fluid. If tarpaka kapha is stable, that provides nutrition, strength and protects all sensory centres present in head. Tarpaka means contentment. It has an inward movement, allowing us to feel the inner joy of being ourselves.

The Kapha Nature

In balance, tarpaka kapha gives us enthusiasm to work, alertness and knowledge, intelligence and alert mind, light in the eyes, lusture of the skin, courage, mental and emotional stability. Kapha people are generally more placid and resilient, slower to react emotionally.

On the condition that tarpaka kapha aggravates, it causes laziness to work, ignorance and innocence, illusion and clouded mind. Whereas, its deficiency can cause discontent, malaise, nervousness and insomnia. Given these points, Meditation promotes its secretion in balance.

How to balance tarpaka kapha?

• Waking up with rising sun and performing various types of vigorous exercises help to balance the tarpaka kapha
• Try to avoid day time sleep
• Nasya- administration of medicated oil- is a panchakarma technique can be adopted
• Herbs such as tulsi, pippali, bacopa, shankhpushpi and saffron

Ayurherbs offers a unique natural method of healing various mental illnesses such as depression, stress and anxiety by the correction of imbalanced shareera and manasa doshas. Contact us for a confidential discussion.