On the path of wellness we each find tools, practices, and rituals that speak to us. For one that might be yoga, for another maybe meditation, for others all of the above. I suggest you try several tools that speak to you and that you consider visiting and re-visiting them. We grow in cycles so revisiting a tool at a different time might produce a completely different result or might bring you a new level of depth from the practice.

Here are a few spiritual tools that are powerful, beneficial, and a little off the beaten path.

Shirodhara

My first to mention is also one of my favorites. When it comes to spiritual tools you might not have heard of, Shirodhara definitely makes that list. This Ayurvedic therapy consists of pouring warmed liquid, typically an oil, over the forehead––specifically the area of the third eye. Shiro means head in Sanskrit and Dhara means flow.

When receiving Shirodhara, the recipient lies down on a bed, massage table, or specialty wooden surface with a cradle for the head and a gentle slope for the oil flow and be discarded. A warm (often herbal) oil is poured in a consistent stream onto the third eye, which is space between the eyebrows and up in the middle of the forehead. This area, the sixth chakra, is associated with intuition or seeing without sight.

Shirodhara not only feels amazing, but it cleanses the mind, soothes stress, tension, and anxiety. This is also a great practice to work on opening the third eye, expanding consciousness and developing awareness. Shirodhara can be part of the detox practice in Ayurveda called Panchakarma, which consists of five stages or treatments. It can also be a stand alone treatment.

Ayurveda is one of the oldest forms of practice or holistic healing/medicine. There are so many amazing practices in Ayurveda and I encourage you to check out more of them. At the top of my list is always the blissful, magical, and third-eye opening treatment of Shirodhara.

Sensory deprivation or float tanks

Another practice I recommend to clients for more unique spiritual practice is sensory deprivation, in the form of float tank sessions. Float tanks are isolation tanks (they look a bit like a large pod or egg or box) filled with a warm water and a high enough salt content that when you lay back in the tank your body effortlessly floats. These tanks are temperature controlled, typically around 93.5 degrees, they are lightless, soundless, and provide the floater with a complete detox from the stimulating world.

We often hear about social media detoxes, or putting electronics away for a day, or even camping for a week to reset the circadian rhythms. Float tanks offer this type of “detox” in an uber potent delivery system that works rather well for the average schedule.

When floating for the first time, or first few times, it might take some time to achieve a deeper state of relaxation but many people who try float tanks describe a deep meditative state. Once you release into the “nothingness” you allow the mind to relax, take some weight off, and explore.

From athletes to CEOs to supermoms doing it all, tons of people are utilizing sensory deprivation to reset their systems, achieve soothing relaxation, get connected with their truest self, and experience happiness/euphoria/joy.

Float tank sessions can work like an espresso shot for your spiritual wellness system. Completely taking away stimuli allows your mind, body, and soul to refocus, realign, and find true north. I recommend going into these sessions with reverence and with intention. To get the most benefit from the session, focus on a goal. This goal can be as simple as relaxation or as deep as mulling over a very important decision. Allow your mind to release all that is no longer serving you and come out of your session rejuvenated.

cacao ceremonies as a spiritual practice

Cacao ceremonies

Another practice you might not have worked with yet is participating in a Sacred Cacao Ceremony. A high grade cacao is used for the ceremonies––very different from bar of chocolate one can find at your local store. The color is a darker, and the flavor is far more intense.

Depending on the ceremony, other ingredients like a milk, nut milk, rose, lavender, turmeric or other herbs or supplements might be used. For the basic recipe, you add ceremonial grade cacao with hot water and blend to consistency. My personal favorite is cacao, almond or coconut milk, turmeric, pink Himalayan sea salt, and a little bit of Maca.

Sacred cacao is blending into a drink. Ceremonies can be led by a guru, teacher, shaman, spiritually connected individual, or self-led. Typically the ritual process starts with gratitude to the cacao and then participants set intention. The cacao is drank with reverence, savored, and the session produces a meditative state and euphoric feeling lasting for the session itself and (for some) even longer.

These ceremonies are a great time to become deeply embodied, open your heart, forgive yourself, work on your self-confidence, develop your self-love, connect to your higher self and start to understand who you are at your most authentic.

Cacao and chocolate for that matter are known to “make people feel good.” They have the ability to create a sense of intimacy, bring the physical body into a place of receptivity, openness, and sensuality. Working with cacao, in ceremony, provides a space for intention, awareness, softness, and works on the heart chakra. Use this practice to transfer through self love.

Photo credit: @haloauragraphic

Working with an Aura Therapy Machine

Your aura is your energy. This energy is both in and around your physical vessel. Often described as an egg shaped bubble of light around you. Your aura is vibrating energy that extends around an arm’s length out in all directions around you, both below the feet, above the head, and all around. This energy bubble coincides with your physical system, often where there is a block or stagnation in the aura there is a physical manifestation in the body in a similar area. For example if your throat chakra is blocked because you are not speaking your truth you might experience a sore throat.

Aura-therapy is a bio feedback machine that allows you to see your aura, or energy bubble, in real time. This therapy is noninvasive, typically you place your hand on a sensor and see the feedback on a screen.

Sessions can be self-guided or you can have the scan read by a practitioner. Your aura therapy service will typically consist of the technician showing you your energy, watching it react in real time, discussing what the size, shape, color and what the consistency means for you and your energy.

One of my favorite practices with aura-therapy is working with crystals or flower and gem essence sprays. When you hold a crystal or spray yourself with an essence while using an aura therapy machine you get to watch your energy react to that stimuli in real time. Holding a rose quartz might open the heart chakra, or spraying a flower and gem essence for the second chakra might light up that area. I also typically ask clients to say a truthful statement and a false statement and watch their energy react to the truth and the lie. Knowing what your energy looks like allows you to get more deeply connected to your energetic body and hear the messages your energy is sending you all the time.

Ayahuasca

I have truly saved the best for last. My most favorite and by far the most up-leveling practice I have had the pleasure of working with is Ayahuasca. Known as Mother Ayahuasca, iowaska, or yagé, is a brew made out of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and other ingredients.

When the ingredients are put together they create a transcendental, often psychedelic, and profoundly spiritual experience for the drinker. This tea or brew is used as a traditional medicine in shaman led ceremonies.

Ayahuasca has gained traction amongst those who suffer from PTSD and other anxiety experiences. Unlike other psychedelics, Ayahusaca is deeply moving but most express that it was a gentle (divinely feminine) experience. Most refer to the brew as Mother Ayahusaca and their accounts speak of the mother guiding, taking care of them, showing them the way, and being gentle with them.

Ayahuasca is different for everyone, the experience is profound, moving and expanding. Everything from emotional healing to learning one’s purpose, to spiritual growth, to being reborn, and so much more has been described from Ayahuasca experiences. One thread is consistent among most accounts from those who have worked with this beautiful plant medicine––a deep soulful healing.

My personal experience with Ayahuasca is one of impactful healing, numerous revelations, a spiritual rebirth, and the introduction of two of the most important spiritual teachers I have had the pleasure to work with.

Several of these practices might not be on the list of top five spiritual practices right next to meditation, yoga, and sound therapy but these practices expand the mind, awaken the energy, and move the soul. Each of us must connect deeply to self when we choose to try a new spiritual practice. Rather than encouraging you to try a specific spiritual practice I encourage you to try a spiritual practice that speaks to you. That can be walking barefoot on the earth, trying a float tank session, or spending a full Sunday at the spa moving from salt room or amethyst room to steam and more.

May your practice develop and may you expand your connection to your energy, your awareness, and to the magic within.

If you are interested in learning more about any of these specific practices or getting a personalized recommendation email Lindsay of Our & Are at ourandare@gmail.com.

spiritual tools for personal growth and adding more mindfulness into your life