A couple comes to you wanting advice to prepare them for a healthy pregnancy. The female client (vata-pitta) is 30 years old, tall, and has a sweet and light-hearted personality. She is a nurse, working long hours with frequent night shifts. You notice chapped lips and slightly sunken eyes. She describes dry skin, light cycles with pain before the first day, and lightheadedness after being on her feet for long periods of time. The male client (pitta-kapha) is 35 years old and overall in good health. Which of the following would be least likely to play a part in your education of the female client?
- Change work schedule to day shifts
- Castor oil packs
- Nadi shodhana pranayama
Our female client has clear signs of rasa dhatu depletion (i.e. chapped lips, dry skin, lightheadedness). Additionally, her light cycles with pain before the first day shows rasa depletion and vata dosha expression within the reproductive tissues (artava dhatu). Healthy rasa and balanced vata can nourish her fertility in significant ways (for more information, please read How Plasma (Rasa) Depletion Affects Fertility). The only intervention above that would not serve this purpose is kutki. Kutki is balancing to pitta and kapha, and with its affinity to the liver has great benefits for cleansing and decongesting the liver. It may, however, imbalance vata and bring too much dryness and coolness to rasa.
There are two steps to bringing health to rasa for the purpose of supporting healthy fertility. First, rasa needs to grow so that the body is rich with its nutrients. As rasa grows, the body will become more fluid and the channels will be able to flow nutrients and wastes to and from the tissues. The second step, then, is to ensure that the rasa flows with ease, particularly to the reproductive organs. In order to avoid further accumulation of toxins through building therapies, efforts to nourish rasa should start after a thorough cleanse (read our Preparing for Pregnancy Guide for more direction).
Rasa is a kapha tissue, and as such also has qualities that are in sync with the moon. Consider offering the following recommendations to build rasa that is supportive to the reproductive tissues.
- Reconnect with nature’s cycles. Be in sync with the moon day-to-day as well as throughout the month. Go for walks during the day in the sun. Watch the moon take its place in the sky every night and, with its signal to take rest, sleep before ten (during kapha time). Appreciate its changing form throughout the month.
- Sleep. Sleep promotes the production of melatonin, a rasa-building hormone. If there are sleep challenges, consider I Sleep Soundly or Tranquil Mind (if there is a hyper mind or significant stress). Also offer our Guide to Balanced Sleep.
- Daily abhyanga. Nothing can take place of self-love, and self-massage offers just that. Abhyanga is also calming to sympathetic over activity and mental chatter, both of which are extremely drying. Consider Vata Massage Oil, which is also nourishing to tissues.
- Herbs. A wonderful go-to tablet for supporting fertility is Women’s Support, and, for added hormonal support and nourishment, supplement with a tablet of Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is ideal for those who have dry rasa because of constant stress and taxed adrenals.
- Hydration and healthy fats. Suggest the daily intake of three to four grams of oils rich with omega-3 fatty acids (flax seed oil, hemp seed oil) along with ample amounts of room-temperature water. Rasa will also love and greatly appreciate warm milk (at least one cup daily).
- Nadi shodhana. Nadi Shodhana balances the mind and its hormone messengers, a key component of rasa. Encourage this practice for ten to twenty minutes daily.
Free its Flow
Uninhibited channels allow the wealth of rasa to make its way to the reproductive organs and nourish these tissues and the future pregnancy. To open the channels, bring warmth and movement.
- Lower abdominal massage. Ancient cultures have used abdominal massage, such as the popularized Mayan abdominal massage technique, for centuries to promote flow to the pelvis for fertility. While such practices require special training, a do-it-yourself technique that you can teach your clients to add to their daily abhyanga involves constant and firm pressure, spiraling from the naval outward and also along the lower abdomen. Use Mahanarayan Oil for its warming, cleansing, and vata-pacifying effects.
- Castor Oil packs. This is another popular technique that brings warmth and relieves stagnation with the penetrating nature of Castor Oil. Castor Oil is also incredibly nourishing to tissues. Do this nightly (when not menstruating).
- Ginger. Fresh ginger root opens channels and relaxes muscles. Try the Ginger Liquid Extract, which is made from the fresh root.
- Yoga. Yoga is highly effective for rasa flow. Moon salutations will promote rasa flow in a graceful and nourishing manner. Hip openers and lunges beautifully relieve stagnation and promote plasma and blood flow to the pelvis. Additionally, Kapalabhati pranayama massages the abdominal and pelvic organs.
- Energy and chakra work. Flow requires prana. Working on this subtle level can have profound effects. Remember the importance of asking questions related to the Svadhishthana chakra (associated with the genitals and reproduction). Does the client have a history of abuse or difficult relationships? Such experiences cause significant energetic blockage and physical tightness and constriction in the pelvis, blocking the flow of prana. Help unfold the past pain into insight and wisdom. When the client practices yoga, do you notice limited hip movement or a hesitancy to relax into hip openers? Work with the client to release the hips. Bhaga, Vankshana, and Lohita are marma points along the inferior border of the abdomen just above the pelvic bone.1 These all serve to increase prana movement in the pelvis. Reiki and other energy medicine modalities can also serve this purpose well.
Building rasa will not only serve the client’s fertility but will also enrich her innate vitality. Rasa provides us with nourishment, enthusiasm, and love. This energetic boost will send the client into pregnancy and parenthood with a sense of abundance.
1 Lad V, Durve A. Marma Points of Ayurveda (Albuquerque, NM: The Ayurvedic Press, 2008)