When we fall to sleep, it is observed that the autonomic nervous system takes over, our body's supportive unconscious processes begin to take place. In Ayurveda, we see that the prana in the atmosphere around us, enters our body through breath and is circulated by Vyana Vayu, one of the sub-doshas of Vata. This prana, or life-force energy we receive through the breath, circulates through the srotamsi (body systems), to the dhatus (body tissues). We become filled with life-force which supplies the energy for each and every body process. During sleep, the prana we receive is utilized in all of the essential processes of repair, recovery and cleansing which happen during our sleep.
An interruption in the sleep, such as a loud banging noise, can immediately shift the body into "fight-or-flight" mode, which classically is considered to be attributed to the sympathetic nervous system. We see in Ayurveda, the Majjavahasrota (nerve system) moves quickly into a state of increased Vata. When we are awoken from sleep by a shock, this can create a feeling of anxiety, panic, nervousness, and ultimately increased adrenaline. The Manovahasrota (mind system) is seen to be supported--or held--by the Majjavahasrota, and when we begin to have this type of anxious stress, the mind can immediately begin to think fearful thoughts. Even when we realize quickly that the noise which awoke us from our rest, was simply a trash can banging against the building, the Majjavahasrota may not calm down immediately. At this point, the Manovahasrota enters the state of awakeness. Through our own thoughts and attitude, we are able to either shift back into a state of rest, or stay in a state of stress and worry, ultimately interrupting our body's natural processes.
The adrenaline created by a state of shock, panic, or anxiety, is immediately circulating through the body, and by the power of Raktavahasrota, Mamsavahasrota and Majjavahasrota, the heart is pounding. When at this point, one begins to take deep, slow breaths and think positive thoughts, you begin to calm down. This promotes the restoration of sleep, and with concerted positive energy, returns the mind to a sattvic (peaceful) state.
Through the learning of Ayurveda from Khabir during our Diagnostic Methods and Skills of Ayurveda course, I have been able to understand my own health and an objective state of heath, in a whole new way. I am humbly grateful to Khabir, and his teacher Dr. Vikram of Planet Ayurveda, for this deep wisdom of Ayurveda.
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