31 Days of Ayurveda - Week 4
Updated: Jan 31, 2020
Day 22 - Balancing the Kapha Mind
And just like that, we're on our final week 🌱 Composed of Earth & Water, Kaphas fall into the densest of the Doshas. During low points in their lives, Kaphas can turn to food as a source of comfort, which can lead to gaining unwanted weight. That, in turn, could lead to emotional distress, depression, sadness and lethargic tendencies. Digging their way out of a rut may seem quite difficult as boredom, laziness, lack of interest & carelessness practices can creep into their lives when negative emotions and difficult situations arise.
In balance, Kaphas are luminous. They offer themselves and those around them stable and grounding vibes. Easy going & calm in nature, they are incredibly loyal friends and great listeners. Natural caregivers, you are in no better care or hands than that of a balanced Kapha.
Here are some lifestyle recommendations to begin to balance the Kapha Mind:
Sleep - Kaphas have a tendency to oversleep. Remember the 24HR Ayurvedic Clock? Try to rise around 6am and not go too far past that as you enter Kaphas time from 6am - 10am, and it becomes increasingly more difficult to wake up during that time. Waking late and not allowing for some AM routine time & exercise is of no use to you too.
Exercise - I’ll touch more upon this tomorrow in the Kapha Body post, but GET MOVING! Getting stuck in a zero exercise rut will make you mentally and physically blah. Keep with an exercise routine and switch it up to keep your energy moving.
Work - Play upon your interpersonal, humility and compassionate skills. Mothers/Fathers/Teachers/Nurses/Chefs/Managers - Being in those types of environments can begin to stimulate and vibe your energy at a higher frequency. Also source out an occupation with routine & stability. This will help to keep you focused and balanced.
Emotions - Learn to deal with your emotions as they arise, and not allow yourself to withdraw and shut down during difficult times. This could again lead to turning to unhealthy practices for comfort. Ask for help. Take a deep meditative walk in nature. Talk to a friend or mentor. Do what you can to let the emotions out, find an outlet instead of allowing them to stack up.
Tomorrow is the last piece of balancing the Doshas - Kapha Body.
DAY 23 - Balancing the Kapha Body
Out of the 3 Doshas, Kaphas are more prone to colds, coughs, asthma, mucus build up - overall congestion. They also tend to turn to food as comfort when stress creeps into their lives, and healthy options head out the door. Given their already slower metabolisms, Kaphas have to watch to not overeat or turn to fried, sweet or heavy foods as a way to cope. Weight gain is a common indication of imbalance in Kaphas. Out of balance, Kaphas tend to lean towards the more complacent, lazy way of life, and can easily get stuck in a rut.
The main cause of imbalance for Kaphas is a lack of stimulation. Here are a few tips to begin to balance the Kapha Body:
Exercise - You may dislike exercise, but it’s extremely important that you create a well established routine of vigorous exercise. This could include HITT, long distance running (marathon), pilates, flow/vinyasa/warm yoga & swimming. The stamina of the Kapha is up there with the Pitta so strenuous activities are of more benefit to you. Ones that have a goal in mind, like say running a marathon. This type of exercise should also work on increasing your metabolism and the suggested time is in the morning soon after awakening around 6am.
Sleep - Again, it is suggested that Kaphas rise from bed around 6am, before it gets too deep into Kapha time (6am - 10am). The longer you stay asleep during that time, the harder it will be to get up and get motivated to move. Oversleeping & overtirednesis a major sign of imbalance.
The Food You Eat - Try and incorporate warm, light and dryer foods with pungent, bitter & astringent tastes. Avoiding dairy is suggested, and sweet, salty & sour foods as well. If you feel so inclined, add spice to your dishes. This will help to ignite and increase the digestive fires, and add warmth to the Kapha cooler temperature body.
Nasya - I spoke briefly of this earlier about oiling the nostrils as part of the am routine, but Kaphas can go one step further to help clear out any mucus and stuffiness to the body. “When an excess of bodily fluids accumulates in the sinus, throat, nose or head areas, it is best eliminated through the nose. Administration of herbally infused oil, or nasya, helps facilitate this cleansing process. Nasya Oil soothes and protects the nasal passages and helps relieve sinus congestion. Daily nasal lubrication helps to release tension in the head and relieve accumulated stress.” - Banyan Botanicals. I would suggest consulting an ayurvedic practioner before incorporating this to your daily routine.
How we eat is just as important as when, why and what we eat in Ayurveda. Tomorrow I begin to talk about Food as Medicine, and the importance of it through Ayurvedic practice 🌱
DAY 24 - Food As Medicine
Up until recently, I never really saw food as medicine. I actually thought very little of food besides something that I needed to put into my body when I was hungry, and even then..I certainly didn’t think of food as something quite as powerful as it is. On some level, we must all know this - What we put into our bodies has a direct correlation to our overall health. Ayurveda views nutrition as an integral part of the self-healing process.
Good news is, you’re in charge of what you put into your body. Well, I suppose that can be bad news for some of you too. Think about the last time you ate something you knew wasn’t good for you - Ie. Fast Food. How did that make your body feel? Puffy, bloated, gassious, nauseous. How about your mind? Foggy, sluggish, tired, unable to focus. There’s a reason why - it’s not nourishing your mind-body. It’s in fact doing the exact opposite. Ultimately, you’re responsible for how you feel, how your own body feels.
There are a MILLION reason you can choose to eat unhealthy, even when our bodies are screaming at us to not - I don’t have the time. I don’t have the money. My kids won’t eat that type of food. I don’t know where to start. I’m too tired by the end of the day. - Those excuses work until they don’t. They work until time runs out and we’re riddled with physical and mental illness. Choose wisely, make the time, grow your own organic foods, keep it simple. Ayurveda is not a diet, it’s not the latest fad. It’s a complete lifestyle choice, one that has you living your most optimized life.
According to Ayurveda, when your body-mind-spirit are in balance, you will achieve a healthy, balanced appetite. As your body becomes accustomed to eating in routine and according to your dosha, you will find that you are not craving the proceeded, fried, unhealthy foods, and become only hungry at mealtimes. It is also a HUGE proponent to eating organic foods, as close to its natural form or source as possible. If you don’t know what an ingredient is on the label, research it. And be wary of the good old - “All Natural”, “Pure”, “Sugar Free”, “Fat Free”, etc labels. Just b/c they are described as such doesn’t mean they actually are. Use your common sense and intuition - choose the best possible choices you can for you.
Let’s review one more time:
Vatas - Variable appetite which can lead to poor digestion. Vatas tend to not eat when they are stressed, quite the opposite of Kapha. They may want to eat raw, cool, uncooked foods, however their Dosha is balanced by warming, cooked foods of sweet, sour & salty tastes.
Pittas - Have strong metabolisms, healthy appetites, typically good digestion and dislike skipping meals. They tend to love spicy foods, but would do best to steer clear, except on those rare occasions. Their Doshas is balanced by cooling, raw foods of sweet, bitter & astringent tastes.
Kaphas - The slowest metabolism of the 3 Doshas. When in balance however, the appetite is steady as well as digestion. Smaller quantities of food may be necessary, and routine mealtine hours in effect. Their Dosha is balanced by warming foods as well of pungent, bitter and astringent tastes.
The next couple of days, I get into the Agni or Digestive Fires, and Guidelines on Eating Awareness.
DAY 25- Agni : Your Digestive Fire
Agni in Sanskrit means “fire”. In Ayurveda, when the main Agni is spoken of, it’s generally referring to our digestive system, or digestive fire within the physical body. As I’m sure you’ve come to understand with me stating over and over again, good digestion is equal to a balanced Dosha, and is vital for optimal health. Poor digestion, digestion that is not running smoothly, can cause major imbalances, physical pain and lead to Ama (toxic build up) and ultimately illness. This could feel something like indigestion, gas, bloating, constipation, loose stools, etc. I am also coming across so many findings that gut health is directly linked to our mental health - a poor digestion and gut can actually cause us to suffer from anxiety & depression. If you want to learn more on this, check out the work of Dr. Kelly Brogan.
So how exactly does digestion work? Well, without getting too much into a science lesson, here is my most basic understanding of the topic - Digestion is your body’s way of transforming the food you eat into a form that is absorbed by your body. It is used to build your strong, beautiful body’s tissues & cells. So the better the food we put in our bellies (according to our Doshas) the more chance our food has to be better absorbed and used to build this stronger physical self. Poor digestion can lead to malabsorption, and ultimately the body could absorb undigested foods, once again, leading to a build up of Ama (toxicity).
Vatas - We lean more towards the fluctuating Agni - strong at one moment when balanced, weak another when imbalanced.
Pittas - What does Agni mean again? Fire. What is one of the elements of Pitta? Fire. It’s fair to say that Agni & Pitta are closely connected. Pittas tend towards having an intense Agni, one that runs incredible smooth when in balance, but can be thrown off when adding even more intense heat (ie. constantly adding spice or extra heat to their meals). Long term this can cause acid agni build up of heartburn, ulcers, acid reflux, etc.
Kaphas - Tend towards a more wet Agni. Their digestion need a little kick start to get going - adding some heat & spice is suggested for Kaphas.
So how can one balance their Agni, reduce Ama and maintain overall good digestion?
Same as you wake and sleep at the same time each day, try and maintain a set schedule to eat at the same time each day
Make lunch your largest meal of the day (remember, that’s when the sun - fire - is at its highest point), especially if including protein
Have your smallest meal at dinner to avoid over stimulating your digestive fires heading into our resting period
Try to only eat when you are hungry, don’t force yourself to eat when you aren’t. Listen to your body - are you tricking yourself into thinking you're hungry to relieve stress, sadness, grief, or other ‘negative’ emotion? At the same time, honour where your body is at each day, and if it is hungry in between meals, make the call that is right for you. Try not to snack as your digestion won’t fire on all cylinders at meal time if it is constantly working all day. Think of it as a fire - When is the fire at its hottest? When you put a log on (eat). When is it at its lowest? In between logs - still burning, but not as strong. Snacking is like adding twigs. It’ll kick start your digestion for a moment, but never get it to full blown crackling fire Agni. However eating meals will do that.
It is suggested as an Ayurvedic practice to drink warm lemon water in between meals and 30 minutes before sitting down to eat. Vatas & Kaphas can also add ginger (add some heat!)
Space out meals every 3-4 hours so your stomach has time to digest & body to absorb
Take a walk after you eat to enhance that metabolism, and ease any heaviness - especially after eating a larger lunch with protein
Try and eat fresh prepared meals if you can, and stay away from too many leftover foods
Watch certain food combinations which take different times to digest so as to avoid Ama build up. You may not want to hear this, but let’s take cheese & meat as an example. Eating those two combinations together are incredibly hard on your stomach to digest, leading to gas, bloating, etc.
Home stretch and still so much to cover. The next couple of days, I will be sharing tips for How to Eat Mindfully according to Ayurveda 🌱
DAY 26 - Top Eating Guidelines
How we eat in Ayurveda is just as important as Why, What, When & Where we eat. Here are the top guidelines I’ve come across and TRY to incorporate into my Daily Eating Routine:
How Much to Eat - It is suggested in ancient Ayurveda texts that “two parts of the stomach be filled with solid food, one part by liquid, and the remaining one part should be filled with accommodating air.” The solid food should make up about what you could fit into cupped hands. As mentioned yesterday, warm lemon water should be ingested about a half an hour before you eat, and also in between meals to help dilute the digestive juices.
Where we Eat - As hectic as our lives can be, it truly pays to find the time to sit in a peaceful quiet environment while you eat. Eating your breakfast in your car will only add to the stress of driving. Eating lunch at your desk will only add to the stress of work. And eating dinner in front of your television speaks to the distraction you are adding to your life. Be mindful with where you are eating. This is what nourishes our bodies and minds, and we should be respecting the process every time we sit to eat.
Only Eat when you are Hungry - I covered this yesterday, but it’s best to get into this habit so as not to overload our digestive system with unwanted, most likely unhealthy foods in between our meals. It’s not to say don’t snack, just when/if you do, be sure that it’s because you are hungry and not compensating for emotions such as stress, anxiety, loneliness, comfort, etc. We get out energy from our food, so if we’re putting in foods that we know aren’t good for us (fried, sugary, processed, fast food), then that can directly impact our feeling for the rest of the day, and even beyond.
Eat in a Slow, Comfortable Manner - Shoveling food into your mouth in chunks does nothing for the taste, flavours or preparation. Take smaller bites. Pause in between. Enjoy and honour the food you or someone has prepared for you. This will also help your stomach with digestion so as not to work overtime trying to digest larger, unchewed, unbrokendown foods.
Stop Eating when Satisfied, not Full - This also ties in to the above. If you’re shoveling food into your belly, you won’t notice as quickly when it’s actually full until it’s too late and you’re popping out that top button. When you’re feeling satisfied, pause, breath, and see if you actually need to keep eating. This will most likely take some practice as most of us have always just eaten until we are full, or “over” full. Once finished eating, bring awareness to your body - Do I feel nourished? Do I feel happy? Do I feel satisfried?
Feel Gratitude for the Food we Prepare and Eat - I haven’t quite mastered this one yet, but the simple act of giving thanks to and honour the food we buy and/or grow as we prepare it to nourish our bodies, and sit down peacefully to eat, will have an immense impact on our state of mind as we ingest it.
Walk 100 Steps After Your Meal - After sitting still and absorbing the nourishment from your food, Ayurveda suggests taking 100 steps. This will help to ignite the digestive fires even further, make you feel more awake and get you (hopefully once again) away from your desk and into some fresh air, if possible.
Eat According to your Dosha - Vatas : Eat warm, cooked, more oily foods with sweet, salty & sour tastes. Pittas : Eat more cooling foods, with less heat, with sweet, bitter & astringent tastes. Kaphas : Eat more warm, cooked, light foods with pungent, bitter & astringent tastes. Again, eating our biggest meal at lunch time.
Tomorrow we talk Ayurveda and the Seasons 🌱
DAY 27 - Ayurveda & the Seasons
Not only does Ayurveda align with a 24hr clock, it also aligns with the Seasons of the year. Diet and lifestyle recos are key to balancing out the Doshas, especially during the seasons with which they share similar qualities. These tools can help balance out how you mold your diet, exercise, work, travel & more throughout the year. For Ex, in the summer, Vatas are OK to eat cooler foods over warmer foods, so long as it agrees with their digestion. Or, the fire of the PItta is naturally increased in the summer, making it more difficult on the digestion, skin, and temperament of Pittas. Best to listen to the body and increase any cooling foods, activities and temporal qualities over the summer months.
Knowing how to eat & what adjustments to make to lifestyle has been a key player in keeping my head on a little straighter and my digestion function so much more smoothly.
Here are the Seasons according to Ayurveda, and some tools to help ride a smooth wave into each:
Fall & Early Winter : Vata (Wind & Air) - My Favourite Season! Call it the Vata in me, or the Libra. The Fall winds begin to blow through the cold, dry winter air & weather. It is a time of transformation and discoveries. The days get shorter and the darkness creeps in a little more each night (also something that I love). It can be a difficult time for any of the Doshas mentally as we begin to shed some of who we know to be, just like the leaves shed from their summer homes on the trees. It can also, however, begin to show signs of strength and resiliency as we head into the colder months ahead. What are some ways to fill your body, mind & soul with warmth? Continue to build and maintain loving and meaningful friendships & relationships. Maintain your am & pm routine as it’ll be more difficult to begin any of those in the colder months when you just want to lay in bed & do nothing. Adjust your diet to start to include higher protein and oily foods (meaning adding more proper healthy oils - coconut, avocado, ghee, etc).
Late Spring & Early Summer : Pitta (Fire & Water) - Some people relish in the long days, hot sun and lightness summer can bring. For others, the heat can aggravate more than one element to their lifestyle - For Ex, the fire of the Pitta increases as the temperature does throughout the summer. If not careful and adjusting diet & lifestyle, a major imbalance and discomfort can arise in the Pitta Dosha. The primary goal for PIttas is to cool the body and temperament during these months. Mellower activities should be the focus, as well as eating cooler, lighter, and smaller meals - even for Vatas & Kaphas.
Winter & Early Spring : Kapha (Earth & Water) - The melting of the snow in the Spring signifies the water of the Kapha. The Earth is heavy with the runoffs of nature. Our bodies begin to stir from the dormancy, heaviness of winter, and begins to shed its skin. This can also lead to springtime colds and allergies. It’s a great idea to do a cleanse during the beginning stages of this Kapha season to release any old, dense, and accumulated wetness in the body. Also, begin to adjust the diet to lighter foods from the heavier foods you may have been accustom to eating in the cold winters months. A craving for fresh veggies, fruits & salads may arise during this time. Listen to your body. If that’s what it needs and it’s of no aggravation to your digestion, then light it up. Shed some of that winter weather w/ a revitalizing exercise routine. Start to get outside and make the most of the spring thaw, or get in those last few runs on the ski hill. If colds or allergies start to make their way into life, add some extra spice to your dishes. This can be an excellent time for Pittas to add some of the spice they long for that may be too taxing on their digestion in summer.
It is also suggested in Ayurveda to do a full cleanse of the body heading out of and into each season. I would do this with the advice of an Ayurvedic practioner. Tomorrow, Day 28 - WOW. Tomorrow and most likely Day 29 we’ll chat Ayurveda & Meditation.
Day 28 - Meditation Pt.1
Can you try something for me? Read this first paragraph and follow the instructions - Take a moment and close your eyes. Follow with 3 deep breathes - In through the nose, and sigh it out through the mouth. Inhale cool, fresh, new air into the body. Exhale warm, stale, stagnant energy. Inhale as far down into your body as you can. Exhale, sigh that all out. Count to 5 on your inhale, 5 on your exhale. Congratulations, you just started meditating. You have, for a moment, calmed the mind-body.
Meditation is really only as complex as you make it. Many people quit before even starting - “It’s too hard. I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know where to start. I don’t have the time. I’m not doing it right. It’s not working.” Make all the excuses you want, you’re only hurting yourself. • As we’ve already come to learn, Ayurveda is the practice of balancing and harmonizing mind-body-spirit. One of its best tools to do so is through meditation. As David Frawley, one of the world’s foremost leaders on Vedic & Ayurvedic studies, states, “Meditation is probably the greatest adventure in life, unfolding vast new vistas of knowledge, awareness & joy.”
I have been practicing Transcendental Meditation on & off for years, however only recently (the past year or so), actually incorporated it into my daily routine. TM is a mantra based meditation, practiced for 20 minutes in the am, and 20 min in the pm. It hasn’t been easy, in fact, meditation for me is one of the first practices I drop when life gets too busy or hard. But then I get to a point where my thoughts & behaviours are out of control, I have lost almost all connection to my body and I’m having the worst trouble concentrating on even menial tasks. The days I don’t meditate are the ones that I perform & vibe at my lowest.
So what does meditation “do”? For me, it helps to calm my entire body to the point where I can listen to her. Not necessarily my mind given that’s an almost impossible task, but on occasion that surprisingly does happen. I can get into a “zone”. When I am able to slow down my breathing and repeat my mantra, I can start to feel a channel directly to my inner self. This is where my intuition really comes into play. I am acutely aware of my-self, even if it’s just me sitting on my pillow. Also, on rare occasions, I have begun to observe my thoughts, and I am able to, for a moment, separate those thoughts from who “I am.”
Most days, there are only subtle shifts in my awareness. Some days, I don’t recognize any. And some days, I am floating high into the realm of no time or space. In all of those instances, meditation is “working”. I don’t have to have this shift in consciousness each time to continue to get results - something I have to continuously remind myself of, as in go into each meditation with zero expectations, not so easy. My mantra keeps me (somewhat) focused - Yes, I still have a hamster on a wheel in my mind - and helps to keep my body and breath calm, leaving me in a state of relax. And if it’s just not working for me on a day, sometimes I give up, but those are the days I really need to stay in, override my negative thoughts and see it through.
I have a hard time explaining meditation and the impact it has on me. It probably makes no sense to you b/c I find it quite difficult to put into words my experience. You would do best to find your own research into the scientific benefits to meditation if you are just beginning. For example, research has shown that a continued practice of meditation can reduce cortisol levels & blood pressure, calm our nervous system, aid in our reaction to stressful situations, anxiety, depression, the list continues.
I have yet to learn enough about meditation as it pertains to Ayurveda, although the form that I learnt (TM), is very similar to the mediation associated with Ayurveda - Vedic Meditation. You are given teachings & lessons, and then through ceremony, blessed with a mantra that’s unique to you.
Tomorrow I will get into the different forms of meditation you can try.
Day 29 - Meditation Pt. 2
I believe meditation is accessible to everyone. There are no excuses to use anymore. And why would you want to with the incredible list of benefits meditation provides the mind-body-spirit. Drop all that you ‘think you know” about meditation and start at the beginning. • The simplest way to begin to dip your toe in the meditation waters is through a type of guided meditation. One app that many of my friends use is Insight Timer. This has 100's of guided meditations for anxiety, sleep, yoga nidra, relaxation, breathing & more. It also breaks them down by length, so if you are feeling overwhelmed at the thought of sitting for 20min twice a day, then start with 5min, or 3min. Whatever you feel would work for you.
There are many forms of meditations. And each, although similar in benefits, actually serve different purposes. Some are more active, others passive. Some are external, some internal. To quote David Frawley again - “There is no one yoga meditation technique, any more than there in only one yoga asana (pose), or only one yogic form of pranayama (breathing).” Here are some more accessible forms of meditation:
Breathing - This may be another simple way to begin your venture down the meditation path. It can be as easy as placing focus on your breath as you inhale & exhale. Counting up to a number as you inhale, counting down the same as your exhale. Feel thoughts, sensations and emotions as you breathe. As your practice into breathwork deepens, so can your experience with it. Yogic breathing can awaken many unknown, stuck and stuffed emotions deep within the body. I would suggest only practicing deep yogic breathing with a partner or teacher as the experience can be quite intense.
Mantra - Mantra based meditations, such as TM or Vedic Meditation, allow for the mind to focus on something. Internally repeating this mantra, with no specific meaning, helps to quiet the mind and allow for you to go deeper into the inner channels of the body.
Guided Imagery/Visualization - They are a bit different though where visualization relies on the eyes to focus on an object (say a candle, or other object), guided imagery is where the facilitator can take you on a journey through the mind using all 5 senses to calm the mind-body, using the power of the imagination. It can also be done with the aid of an app like Insight Timer or Calm.
Vipassana - I am incredibly interested in this form of meditation, and hope to attend my own Vipassana retreat one day soon. This is one of the oldest forms of meditation originating from India. This experience allows for self-insight through a deep mind-body connection. From my understanding, this is a 10 day course in which you immerse yourself in full physical, mental & spiritual form. There is a period to learn the technique and then the silent retreat begins.
Sensory Deprivation - This is also a form of mediation not for everyone as it can trigger some people’s past traumas. The benefits to the body are immense. Floating in higher levels pf Epsom Salts allows for the ind to float making it difficult to submerge. Floating also gives the body a much needed break from sitting, standing, hunching over computers, etc. Sensory deprivation helps to also release the mind from any outside distractions that may occur in other mediations practiced at say your home - kids, dogs, garbage truck, phone, etc.
Meditation is a very individualistic experience, just as Ayurveda & Yoga. The technique that sits right with me may not work for you. It’s ultimately up to you to experiment with yourself. And if one variation doesn’t work, try not to get discouraged. In the beginning, it may be extremely hard to just sit with yourself, eyes closed. I still have days, and will continue to, where it’s extremely hard to sit my ass down to meditate after a workout or yoga session. My mind creates all kind of exuses to get out of it. You may want to give up and say fuck it, and most likely have already done that a few times, and that’s OK. That’s called being human. But the more you practice, the less you’ll want to give in and let your mind win.
Nothing about meditation can harm you, in fact, for me, it’s quite a beautiful experience when I allow it to unfold in its natural elegance. The moments I experience this deep sense of connection to myself and also to Universe, there’s really nothing in the world quite like it. Last final 2 days of the month and I will begin to touch upon Yoga - The sister Science to Ayurveda. And then I AM SHUTTING SH*T DOWN ⚡️⚡️⚡️
Day 30 - Ayurveda & Yoga
“Ayurveda is the Vedic Science of healing for both body & mind. Yoga is the Vedic Science of self-realization that depends on a well functioning body & mind.” - David Frawley.
Just as Ayurveda’s purpose is to restore harmony to the mind-body-spirit, so to is Yoga’s. Yoga is the sister science to Ayurveda, dating back thousands of years to India. Yoga is the union between the individual consciousness and the universal consciousness. It is a way to recognize the greater self. As I have come to realize during my recent Yoga Teacher Training, and only still just scratching the surface, Yoga is so much more than just poses. We have been digging deep in the study of self - How we treat ourselves and how we treat others. What are the afflictions that we carry with us that we are aware of, and those that we are not. It is through the study and practice of Yoga that we begin to peel away the layers.
Without an Ayurveda practice, it is difficult to maintain a thoughtful Yoga practice. They are a beautiful & harmonious package when utilized together. It is said that - “Yoga rests upon Ayurveda medicine for its health implications. Ayurveda rests upon Yoga for its mental & spiritual dimensions.” What just, I don’t know, magical practices. I am so fucking gratelful to have begun this jouney into realizing both of these beautiul forms of self realization and connection. • That being said, there is no limit to the degree of self awareness a person may come to attain in this lifetime. It’s a never ending journey. At every turn, I am learning something new about myself through the powers of Yoga & Ayurveda. I understand that combined, they are an intense cosmic force. Add meditation into the mix, and holy shit, you’re in for a ride.
Ayurveda is here to assist us in achieving a state of union whereby the physical body, the senses, the mind and spirit are all fully integrated. Practicing Yoga is a key element to this. Yoga is the ultimate Ayurvedic exercise b/c through the Asanas (poses), it improves digestion, helps to relieve stress in the body & mind, builds strength within the body, brings awareness to the body, and connects mind to body through breath. Ayurveda recommends a daily practice of Asanas to strengthen all of the above, and rebalance the Doshas. Plus - All of this is all preparatory work for the body to sit still in meditation.
Tomorrow, on my last day of the 31 Days of Ayurveda, I will talk about Yoga & the Doshas - What type of Yoga is recommended for your Dosha.
Day 31 - Yoga & The Doshas
FINAL DAY! What an exhausting and exhilarating ride. OK, so for the last day, I’m going to talk about Yoga how it relates to the Doshas.
As I mentioned yesterday, Yoga is the ultimate Ayurvedic exercise as it helps to improved digestion, relieve stress in the body & mind, builds strength within the body, brings awareness to the body, and connects mind to body through breath. It is also said that Vedic sages, and modern scientists, conclude that the cumulation of Yoga Asanas (poses) in a practice (bending, inverting, twisting & stretching) can help to relieve most any form of mental illness.
As in many of the Ayurvedic practices I have reviewed over these 31 days, present moment awareness and mindfulness are key in beginning to feel and see any type of result. Same is true of Yoga. If awareness is not present during practice, and your thoughts and intention in elsewhere, you many not receive the full benefits physically, mentally or spiritually. Setting an intention for your practice, no matter how small (ie. Patience, kindness to yourself, less judgement, present moment awareness), can easily begin to translate into other areas of your life.
Do we still remember the Doshas and what they come to represent? The Doshas, in essence, govern our true nature. They are made up of the 5 elements, and can cause quite disharmony in the mind-body-spirit when out of balance. Specific poses affect the doshas in particular ways. Here are some examples for each:
Vata - Physically, the site of Vata is in the pelvis and colon, meaning sitting poses (ie. forward folds) have the ability to stimulate and balance Vatas. Create as much grounding movements as possible. This will help to ease the airy mind, and bring awareness away from thoughts & into the body. Vatas should seek a long term practice that emphasizes calmness & relaxation, and source spirituality that could be studied for a lifetime (uh HELLO, wow this is so me).
Pitta - Physically, the site of Pitta is in the abdominal cavity and small intestines. Twisting Asanas puts pressure on the abdomen, which promotes cleansing of the liver and gallbladder helping to remove toxins from the system. This reduces heat from the already firey PItta system, allowing for the body to cool itself naturally. Pittas should seek a practice that is stimulating with much variety. They should stay away from any form of hot yoga as that will just continue to create an imbalance within. Also, again, remember to have fun with your practice and try to not take yourself too seriously. Utilize your breath to release any stagnant energy, and pent-up emotions.
Kaphas - Physically, the site of Kapha is in the chest & stomach. Back bends are a great way to release congestion and any stagnant energy build up in those areas. Kaphas should seek a warner practice with a high level of intensity and pace. Focus on each moment, and utilize your inhales & exhales as much as possible, coordinating them with each move.
The practice of Yoga should ultimately calm the Vata, cool the Pitta and lighten the Kapha.
I hope you guys have enjoyed learning about Ayurveda as I have and continue to. Maybe you’ve been able to incorporate some of its awesome practices into your daily lives. I am so excited to continue on this journey of becoming an Ayurvedic Consultant, and one day Practioner.
Tomorrow I will do a quick recap, add some other topics not covered and provide any reference materials I used in sourcing my information.