Ayurvedic Approach to Taming PTSD and Anxiety

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

For the past 18 months, the world has been plagued by uncertainty. With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc across the globe, and the George Floyd riots happening nationwide, many people have felt sad, depressed, isolated, and anxious.

If you’re among this population of people feeling out of sorts, Ayurveda can help. Contrary to mainstream medicine which relies heavily on pharmaceuticals, the Ayurvedic approach focuses on treating the root cause of your distress.

In this article on taking an Ayurvedic approach to taming PTSD and anxiety, we’ll explore:
  • Why it’s difficult to feel good and grounded during times of uncertainty

  • Which doshas are associated with PTSD and anxiety

  • How to take an Ayurvedic approach to healing

Why it’s difficult to regulate well-being during times of uncertainty

From time to time we all experience stressful, anxiety-inducing experiences that can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is especially true when unexpected events occur that we have no control over.

In response to these experiences, your body releases cortisol — a hormone that regulates and reduces stress. However, when the stress-inducing events are continual like the riots and pandemic have been, your body may lose its ability to regulate and keep you in balance. As a result, ongoing anxiety, depression, and PTSD can occur.

Impact of PTSD and Anxiety on the Doshas

We are comprised of the three doshas. These doshas, known as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha help us maintain our overall well-being when balanced. However, when one or more of the doshas becomes imbalanced, physical, and mental health issues arise and disease can occur.

Vata governs movement — including heart rate, breathing, and mindset (including thoughts). As such, when Vata increases it manifests as anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

How to Keep Vata Balanced and Healing PTSD and Anxiety with Ayurveda

Acknowledge what is

As spiritual beings having a human experience, each of us is gifted with something known as an emotional guidance system. This internal compass is meant to guide us through life so we can effectively process our emotions.

To access this internal system, we start by acknowledging what is. This means rather than ignoring what’s happening around us, or trying to pretend it isn’t real, instead, we fully acknowledge the current reality. This acknowledgment, in turn, allows us to fully process all our associated feelings.

Acknowledging what is will help you navigate life’s unexpected ebbs and flows — including pandemic and riot-related PTSD, without feeling stuck.

Practice diaphragmatic breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing is also referred to as belly breathing. This type of breathing engages the diaphragmatic muscles. It’s known to help fill the lungs more efficiently and draw the practitioner into the present moment. As a result, we feel relaxed and grounded.

Benefits of diaphragm breathing include:
  • Anxiety reduction

  • Stress reduction

  • Lowered blood pressure and heart rate

  • Enables you to feel and be pr