How many of your senses are engaged at this moment? Are you aware of the things you see, smell, taste, hear, and feel?
Ayurveda considers the five senses – or Pancha Indriya – as essential components of human experience and health. Practitioners and physicians advocate for the immense value of understanding each sense and activating each one to achieve complete awareness in every experience.
- Sight (Chakshu Indriya)
Ayurveda emphasises the importance of maintaining a healthy vision for overall well-being. Physicians recommend regular eye exercises, and press on the importance of ensuring proper lighting and protection from excessive screen time or bright lights. Ayurveda also suggests incorporating pleasing and calming visual stimuli, such as natural landscapes, to promote mental and emotional balance, and activating the visual senses during meals, conversations, physical exercise, and recreation.
- Hearing (Shrotra Indriya)
Ayurveda emphasises the significance of sound and its impact on health. It suggests exposing oneself to pleasant and soothing sounds, including soothing music or the sounds of nature, to support relaxation and reduce stress.
- Taste (Rasa Indriya)
Ayurveda names taste as an essential aspect of nutrition and digestion. It categorises taste into six primary flavours: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent. Ayurvedic dietary principles emphasise the inclusion of all six tastes in a balanced manner to support proper digestion, nourishment, and overall health.
- Touch (Sparsha Indriya)
Touch plays a crucial role in Ayurveda. It relates to physical sensations, textures, and even sensations during Ayurvedic therapies. Treatments, such as Abhyanga, employ specific oils, strokes, and techniques to enhance circulation, relaxation, and healing. Awareness of physical sensations is invaluable for a patient to understand and develop a relationship with the body.
- Smell (Ghraana Indriya)
The activation of the olfactory senses can unlock a new level of healing. Ayurveda describes the profound influence of scents on emotions, mood, and overall well-being. Ayurvedic texts also highlight the use of certain scents to balance doshas and enhance mental clarity, concentration, and relaxation.
In Ayurveda, the balance and harmony of the five senses is considered essential for maintaining overall health and well-being. An attempt towards a balanced set of senses and developing an awareness of each one encourages individuals to be mindful of sensory experiences and to seek a balanced approach in utilising and nurturing each sense for optimal health and vitality.
Every so often, check on yourself to see if you are actively aware of what each sense in your body is telling you. Being actively aware of the stimuli around you may heighten your ability to assess your body and your surroundings, be more present, more aligned, and more centred; one step closer to a holistically healthy you!