Ayurveda is the insightful ancient healing system of India that is over 5000 years old. This holistic approach specializes in preventative care, while addressing health concerns in striving to maintain balance within the mind, body, and spirit by treating disease and discomfort at the root. Ayurveda teaches that to live well is to choose your daily habits wisely - as it is not what we do sometimes, but what we do on a regular basis that determines our health.
So, how do we know what is going to be balancing for us? While this concept can be seen as quite simple, it can quickly get confusing should you attempt to rely on your own biases to truly understand your own unique constitution. What is your unique constitution you ask? Hang on! I'm getting there...
Let's first introduce one of the most fundamental concepts in Ayurveda: the 3 Doshas. Dosha, literally meaning fault (as they naturally go out of balance), embodies the 5 great elements and their qualities. It is the doshas that are the functional energies governing our mental and physical processes with how we interact, react, and create in the world. Ayurveda recognizes the world and all living beings to be made up of these 5 great elements - Earth, Water, Fire, Air & Ether - and coupled together, these create the doshas: Vata, Pitta & Kapha.
Vata, being made up of Air & Ether is the lightest and subtlest of the three. It has the qualities of being mobile, dry, and cold. If you are of a thin, smaller stature, tend towards cold and dry skin, and are inherently bubbly and enthusiastic, you likely have quite a bit of Vata dosha within your constitution. Pitta, being made up of Fire & Water, is naturally warm, sharp and slightly moist. Predominantly pitta folk are generally of a medium build and stature, often run warm or hot, tend towards rashes and acne, and are naturally very passionate and direct. The elements of Earth & Water constitute Kapha dosha. With what's been explained so far, I'm sure you can imagine its qualities to be moist, stable and grounded. If you are a predominantly Kapha person, you are likely of a fuller stature and are instinctively calm, cool, and grounded. Now, these are very basic ways in describing the doshas, and you may notice many of these characteristics within yourself, and you would be right! It is important to note that we actually have all three doshas within us. It is the unique makeup of these that establish who we are as individuals and how we can thrive in our environments accordingly.
Now that you have been briefed on a few main components of Ayurveda, you can expect more information on each dosha coming to you soon. We will also be discovering what seasons the doshas correlate to, and what to do in those seasons to help pacify any aggravated doshas. Want to know more about your doshas now? Contact your local Ayurvedic Practitioner and book a consult! While there are many fun quizzes and tests to take online in regards to your dosha, be mindful that these are very basic and often biased, and cannot guarantee an accurate assessment of your Ayurvedic constitution.
Start living an Ayurvedic Lifestyle now. Practice these simple steps in your everyday life to promote stillness, calmness and wellness:
- Scrape your tongue.
I suggest using a metal tongue scraper, which you can find at most health food stores or vitamin shops. When scraping your tongue you are helping to remove the bacteria that sits at the back of the tongue that actually breeds more bacteria & bad breath! Scrape your tongue upon waking, before you eat or drink anything - otherwise you run the risk of washing all of that bacteria back down into your digestive tract. Yuck!
- Take 3 deep breaths before each meal.
This practice allows your mind and body to be aware of its surroundings and interpret that you are in a safe place. In doing so, your body can then move from fight-or-flight mode to rest-and-digest. As we are in a constant battle against time, and are always rushing to our next appointment, our next meeting, or even our next meal, taking a moment before your meal to promote stillness allows your digestive system to slowly be awakened to then gently metabolize the foods being added into your system.
- Practice self-massage.
We have all heard it lately: self-care is self-love! What better way to show yourself some love by taking the time to intimately get to know each part of your body with self-massage. If you are wanting to build a grounding effect, start at the head and massage your body downwards. If you are needing some stimulation, start at your feet and move your way up to the head. In practicing this, you are actively redirecting your energy to facilitate your needs for the day. I generally recommend sesame oil for grounding, coconut oil for cooling, and a rosemary infused sesame oil for stimulating (use small amounts of oil to help with awakening the senses OR try a dry body brush).
- Bonus: Sing in the Shower!
Singing in the shower has actually been linked with improving your immune system, boosting your confidence, & supporting your overall health. Reasons being that one, you actually sound better in the shower! Something to do with the acoustics of the bathroom causes less sound to be absorbed, therefore more sound is bouncing off the walls, giving you a fuller voice with more depth. Two (an obvious one in my opinion), singing is fun and makes you happy! I have personally never felt more in the moment when I am singing my favourite songs, dancing to my favourite tunes, or mixing up some new herbal remedies (that last one might just be me). And what is more Ayurvedic than introducing mindfulness and joy into your life??
That's all for today folks,