Herbs for Yoga
Plants can be very helpful for yoga practice by supporting the physical and pranic bodies while activating the spiritual centers of the brain. Herbs can link body and mind through the prana as they stimulate the flow of energy and consciousness through the channels (nadis). Yogis have a long tradition of using herbs to stimulate the prana and higher mind faculties in conjunction with pranayama, meditation and asana practice. The sap of herbs contains a life essence called Soma that can be used to rejuvenate, nourish and energize all levels of our being. Here is a natural Soma formula using Ayurvedic herbs that rebuilds our ojas,the life essence of the body, and supports our yoga.
Ashwaghanda – this is a body /mind tonic for the muscles, nerves and bones, it lowers anxiety and builds immunity.
Shatavari – counters dehydration, an overall tonic particularly good for the female reproductive system, calms the heart.
Kapikacchu – a tonic herb that calms the vata, good for tremors and strengthens the nerves, also known as an aphrodisiac.
Arjuna – rejuvenates the heart both physically and spiritually. Of these first four herbs take one part of each for example a half a cup of each and put into a bowl.
Brahmi/ Gotu kola – sedative, muscle relaxant, pain relieving – well known as a mental tonic as it cools and calms the mind.
Calamus – improves digestion, clears toxins, phlegm and blockages, clears mind and senses
Tulsi – adaptogen herb for handling stress, an all around tonic, good for digestion,circulation, reproductive and respiratory systems.
Licorice Root– a tonic and adaptogen herb supportive of the adrenals,lungs and spleen, regulation of blood sugar, an anti-oxidant.
For these four herbs take one quarter measurement of what you used for the first herbs. In the tradition of Ayurveda, medicines are taken as a food using the vehicle of ghee, honey and/or milk. Take a tsp of the herb, add it to a cup of milk with a tsp of ghee and raw sugar or honey to be taken in the morning or evening or both. It is considered that if you prepare it with ritual, prayers, mantra or clear intent that the soma of the plants becomes more accessible and mind/body assimilate it better.
Adapted from Yoga and Ayurveda by David Frawley.