Soma and Aroma in the Healing of Traumatic Stress
Written by Alana Layne Greenberg, MA, C-IAYT
Cultivating Soma, the fluid essence of rejuvenation:
According to Ayurvedic Medicine, the 5,000-year-old healing art from India, each of us is endowed with a fluid essence within that bypasses all pain and story. Known as Soma - the nectar of eternal bliss rising from the core of our being - this essence connects us with the pulsations of universal prana. As we access a deeper inner contentment, we come into contact with our Soma and learn to satiate our inner being with this peaceful elixir. How can we contact Soma? What directs us to the quest and way of immortality? Yoga. Practicing the sacred trinity of movement, breath, and mindful awareness, we can come into contact with our inner reservoir of true being, access our immortal consciousness and connect it with our outer nature, particular to the surface mind where most of us experience life.
Dr. David Frawley, pre-eminent Ayurvedic scholar states, “True spiritual alchemy, the way of Yoga and meditation, is to learn to extract the inner Soma directly… through the light of awareness hidden in our own hearts.” He continues to describe the spiritual nature of Soma: “Soma is a spiritual principle, an aspect of the infinite and a key to immortality. In the state of meditation, the brain and mind naturally secrete a special type of Soma or nectar of peace and contentment, which reflects this spiritual Soma. Ultimately Soma is the bliss of all existence, the Ananda through which the universe is created and into which it must return. It is this Soma or Ananda that is the prima material or ultimate substance behind the entire world.”
Aromatherapy is considered the most powerful immediate therapy for revitalizing our energy in Ayurvedic Medicine. Our sense of smell brings prana into the body and mind. It strengthens our connection with nature’s healing power. Pleasing aromas inspire devotion and certain aromas have the capacity to clear the mind and heart of negative memories, traumas and sorrow. The two most potent aromas for enhancing Soma are Night-Blooming Jasmine and Sandalwood. Night blooming Jasmine, as a flower of the moon, represents the female reproductive system (it is the creative reproductive portion of the plant itself) and stimulates inner devotion. Sandalwood is the most calming aroma. It evokes peace, contentment and forgiveness and promotes inner equanimity. Sandalwood reduces anxiety and fear (Vata tendencies) as well as cooling heat in the mind (Pitta). Anointing ourselves with these natural allies is a quick and luxurious way to engender balance and soften the effects of traumatic stress. Coupled with the mindful movements and breath-awareness inherent in Yoga practice, we find a true remedy and way toward greater ease.