Ayurveda and Grief

Death and grief don’t discriminate. Grief is a universal emotion and an unfortunate but inevitable part of life. It touches each and every person, home, and life at some point. That said, how often grief is dismissed, and people are told, “You are still grieving?” That’s why it’s important to understand how Ayurveda and grief work together, so people have a holistic perspective on healing.

What is grief?

Grief is the after effect of loss that we all encounter. End of a marriage or loss of a job/ business/ opportunity/ friendship or foreclosure of your home or death of a loved one. Depending on the kind of end, the intensity and duration of grief might differ—grief about losing an opportunity versus death of a loved one. But grief is something we all feel, no matter where we come from or what we’ve been through. Grief can be sudden and explosive. Grief can be very subtle. Don’t expect grief to completely go away. You might eventually reach a place where you have just as many good days as bad, and then perhaps more good days than bad. But one day you might find that your heartbreaking grief days are few and far between.

Western perspective on grief

Ayurveda and grief  looks different from the way western medicine views it. In the world of psychology, grief has five stages—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The stages were first described by Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her book On Death and Dying. That said, everyone copes with loss in their own unique way. Does grief follow the same linear order for everyone? NO! Two people might experience these 5 stages in completely different ways.

Ayurveda and grief

Ayurveda suggests that we acknowledge the pain. It reminds us that everyone experiences grief in their own unique way based on their individual mind/body type. It emphasizes the importance of feeling our emotions, as opposed to suppressing them and ignoring them. It suggests giving yourself the permission to be where you are in your journey of grief.

The sub-doshas and grief

When we think of Ayurveda and grief, we consider Sadhaka Pitta. It is one of the five sub-doshas of Pitta Dosha, controls the communication between the heart and mind.“Ayurvedic practitioners often treat patients for Sadhaka Pitta imbalance when the connection between heart and mind is lost, severed, or broken from emotional trauma or the passing of a loved one,” says Dr. John Douillard of LifeSpa.

Grief is associated with kapha, which makes sense because it can make you feel heavy, dense, and lethargic. The feeling “stuck” or “stagnated” or feeling “attached” to memories or stored emotional trauma represents a sub-dosha of Kapha Dosha, which is called Tarpaka Kapha. This sub-dosha is also linked to congestion of the lymphatic system. Notice how we tend to fall sick a lot more erratically when grieving? Also, the congestion impacts infections, lowered immunity, anxiety, depression, inflammation, and much more.

How Ayurveda can support healing from grief!

First things first: a trained Ayurvedic Doctor will help restore Sadhaka Pitta and remove congestion from Tarpaka Kapha. Ayurveda reiterates that we need to digest and process our feelings and thoughts. If we do not, we risk those emotions getting stuck inside us. They can turn to ama (toxins) and manifest as disease in the physical body. Healing must be (often) intentional and can start as baby steps. How else do we end the vicious cycle and anchor ourselves?


Still curious how Ayurveda can help navigate grief? Order a copy of my latest book THE LOSS THAT BINDS US, which contain 108 tips on coping with grief and loss. And book a FREE 20-minute Discovery Call.

Like what you read? Also read: Gut Health According to Ayurveda |Cause of Disease According to AyurvedaAgni and Ama: The foundation of Ayurvedic Digestive Health | What is Ama?  | What is Agni According to Ayurveda?

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional. If you are looking for advice from a trained yogi and ayurvedic doctor, contact me here.