June 4, 2024

What Ayurveda says about Crying & Why we should Let our Tears Flow.


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I love to cry.

A sentence you don’t hear often.

If you are like me, probably you were raised to fight your tears. Adults told you things like “big girls don’t cry” or “why cry if you won’t remember this in a decade anyways” and similar sayings. Society considers crying to be a sign of weakness in men and emotional instability in women. It’s something embarrassing if we do it in public.

But I always loved to cry. There’s something beautiful in the feeling of letting my tears free-flow. Like releasing something heavy I wasn’t even aware I carried. The oddly satisfying feeling of finally letting something go I was holding onto subconsciously, even if I can’t point out exactly what it was.

Often, I find myself crying for no reason at all. I cry during yoga and I cry during meditation. Some days, I shed a tear or two in the car, often not even knowing why, but I know I feel much better after. These tears are most often of sadness, frustration, and anger, but luckily, they easily come from joy, love, and happiness, too.

Sine I started to study Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine, I think of my tears differently. I love them even more, since they have so much to teach us.

Crying is good for your soul, but it is also beneficial for the body—your body releases excess hormones through your tears. In Ayurveda, tears are considered a Mala or waste product of the mind, and they are one of the 13 non-restrainable natural urges, which people should never repress. Veda-vigharan, or the the suppression of natural urges, is harmful for the body and leads to diseases. Allowing yourself to cry helps make space for healing and renewal.

As Julie Bernier says in her article, “Cry, Baby! Why Ayurveda Says it’s Good for Your Health,” holding your tears back can create tension that leads to headaches, eye pain, stiffness in the neck, and even dizziness. And, “Repeated and ongoing suppression can lead to even bigger problems like heart disease and anorexia, and swelling of the eyelids, colds, and sinusitis.”

Ayurveda offers several practices to support emotional release and facilitate healing. Here are three of my personal favorites:

>> Abhyanga: the application of warm oils to the body through gentle self-massage. This practice promotes relaxation, reduces stress, and aids in emotional healing.

>> Meditation and Pranayama: both can help calm the mind, promote self-awareness, and support the release of emotions.

>> Nasya: the administration of herbal oils or medicated substances through the nasal passage. This practice helps clear emotional blockages and restore balance to the mind.

Ayurveda also explains that there are three different aspects to our tears, and they are each governed by a different dosha (mind-body type). Everyone has all three doshas present in their constitution, just in different amounts, so we can all have each type of tears, not only the ones that are governed by our dominant dosha.

Vata tears are of fear, sadness, loneliness, grief, and insecurity, and they fall down from the inner corner of the eye. They can be bitter to taste. These tears fall when we feel overwhelmed, or when we are in some situation we feel unable to control.

Pitta tears are salty or at times sour to taste, can feel hot, and generally come from anger or frustration. Envy, jealousy, and competitiveness can generate pitta tears too. They are emitted at the center of the eye, and these are the tears that leave salty stains on our cheeks. I can definitely agree with this, being pitta dominant.

Kapha tears are said to be of compassion, love, and joy. They are the tears of laughter and the tears that result from witnessing or thinking of anything beautiful or delightful. Tears of grief are kapha tears too, when they come from thinking of a loved one. They fall down from the outer or lateral part of the eye.

Knowing this now, crying has become a different experience. Even if I don’t know the exact reason of my tears, I appreciate them.

Being mindful about my tears (where they roll down from and how they taste) allows me to have a deeper introspection and self-regulate based on the type of them. I learned to appreciate them and be grateful for them, even if they are tears of anger. They show where I hold on, where I need to ease and release and examine for deeper roots of the causes.

I love my tears even more.


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