Hurricanes are caused by the convection currents (air streams) set up when warm, calm seas heat up the air above the ocean’s surface. As the warm, moist air rises, it is replaced by cooler air spiraling down from higher in the atmosphere. This creates a rotating circulation that forms the hurricane. According to NOAA
Although most of us are focused on the ocean and tides or the water element hurricanes are mostly a function of air. Air and wind are mostly functions of vata according to Ayurveda. Heat causes air to move or rise and cold causes air to drop. We see hurricanes mostly during the early fall season because cool atmospheric air gets affecting by the connection to warm waters. Warm wet air rises, cool dry air drops. The birth of a hurricane is possible under these conditions.
In the body during the fall, inner heat leaves the body while external coolness enters the body. The main reason ayurvedic practitioners call for a fall detox and also the main reason for a seasonal cold or flu-like symptoms.
When a hurricane actually forms and is heading towards land, the news media picks up on the information and immediately it becomes a news feeding frenzy. This hurricane season we heard of officials actually saying “If it hits landfall a little further in you are all going to die.” Totally irresponsible statements! Hurricanes are hard enough to prepare for let alone having panic and fear being broadcast on the news and internet.
Looking at hurricanes from an ayurvedic perspective, it makes sense. Vata, when in high gear creates panic, fear, anxiety and irrational thinking. It is not the best dosha to be in charge during a potentially life threatening situation.
Those living in the coastal areas understand the need to stock up on essentials, secure belongings, prepare exit strategies. Often these things are done in an orderly prepared manner.
What happens next is the wait. The wait can be the most agonizing time. The unknown looms. Will the hurricane hit? Do I have enough to weather the storm? Is everyone safe? Will I have a home after this is over? Is there something that I forgot to prepare? All these are valid questions, its just that with each question, the anxiety and fear rises. Vata rises. You seek out information on the progress of the storm, more vata as you eek and add other peoples anxieties to your own.
There are seven stages to getting through a hurricane
- Logical List Making and Preparation
- Going out in the world and encountering fears and anxieties of others
- Bringing home the fears and anxieties and preparations
- Discovering the damages after the storm
1. Logical List Making and Preparation
There are many expert lists on what and how to prepare for a hurricane. If you’ve been through one, you also have a good idea of what you will need. But have you thought about your mental and emotional body?
Be sure to add to the list of batteries, water and food these things.
- Essential Oil
- Rescue Remedy
- Coconut Oil/Sesame Oil or Mahanarayana Oil for Abhyanga
- Calming Tea
- Makings for a comfort food – stew, chicken soup, Kitchadi
- Clothing that holds you tight (like or is heavy)
2. Going out in the world and encountering fears and anxieties of others
At this stage you may find the supplies you are looking for may have run out and you are encountering people with fears and anxiety of their own. This is a great time to create an energetic shield around you while you are running errands.
Here are some ideas:
- Bring your mala with you and chant a mantra while driving and shopping
- Put on your headphones and listen to chants or classical music
- Resist the temptation to check the news, or interact with too many people while on the errand run. This can wait until you get home.
- Bring a worry stone with you for grounding
- Carry lavender essential oil for calming
3. Bringing home the haul along with fears
There is no way to not bring home the anxiety of the outside world after making a supply run even under the best circumstances. So how you set yourself up for this stage will set you up for the waiting period, rather than making the waiting periods excruciatingly frightening.
- Drink some calming tea before organizing.
- Sit down do some deep breathing
- Make your list on who needs to be contacted and what needs to be organized
- Start cooking up your comfort food so you have it for later.
- Leave the TV or Computer off. Set timer to turn for every 30 minutes for updates. Stay on for no more than five minutes, time this as well. This is just enough time to get information but not long enough to get all the hype.
- Do your prep
This first waiting period is before the storm arrives or before evacuation procedures are given. You now need your comfort food. You have done a lot of work and already been through major upheaval.
- Minimize contact with outside world
- Contact loved ones inform them of your safety and check on theirs if applicable
- Sit down to a meal
- Do some activity that you enjoy like, playing a board game, knitting, baking cookies, coloring
- Avoid talking too much, (increases vata)
The second waiting period: Ok so you’ve done everything needed. You’ve either evacuated or you are staying put. The winds begin to howl, it may be raining, the sky may be changing to that interesting shade of yellow pink.
- Minimize watching the news or updates from facebook
- This is a great time to do Abhyanga (self massage with lots of oil) – abhyanga is the number 1 way to reduce vata.
- Wrap yourself with heavy clothes or a blanket
- Listen to the wind not just the banging noises. It can sound like a symphony
- More Calming Tea
- Tell stories – make believe you are in front of a campfire
This is the third waiting period: this happens when you are over it already and still the storm isn’t over.
- Get some sleep
- Read a Book
7. Discovering the damages after the storm
You have just created a cocoon for yourself try not to come out of it too quickly. Take time to deliberately move back into the world.
Mother Nature has just done a major clearing outside. She has also forced a major clearing within you. She has forced you to discover what matters most.
Return to your life slowly and deliberately. Safe Journeys.