Dreams - what are they and what do they mean? These two questions have puzzled civilizations for thousands and thousands of years as people have tried to use dreams to their advantage.
The Achuar Indians in the Amazon share their dreams before sunrise as a map of the challenges to come. Practitioners of Ayurveda and Yoga in India interpret dreams on the basis of psychological and physical imbalances in the Doshas.
According to Ayurveda, dreams are related to the Majja Dhatu - the nervous tissues and bone marrow. Dreams are associated with the nervous system and the signals that they send out from the mental impressions and experiences that happen throughout the day.
In other words, dreams come from thoughts, actions, feelings and events that feel unresolved. Dreams are the natural way of bringing those thoughts to completion.
Ayurvedic thought says that dreams are further evidence of the strong connection between the body, spirit and mind. Dreams can sometimes contain clues as to the underlying causes of diseases someone may be experiencing. By studying dreams, one could possibly begin the process of healing.
To help with the healing process using dream observation, Ayurveda categorizes dreams with the same terminology used to diagnose disease: the Doshas.
Vata dreams are characterized by activity and movement. Falling and flying, being frozen with fear, or dreams of being attacked, chased or locked up are common.
Pitta dreams are characterized by intensity and focus: intellectual activity, problem solving, studying or teaching. Also strong emotions such as shame, anger and aggressive behaviors.
Kapha dreams are characterized by emotions such as love, lust, satisfaction of desires and material and emotional attachment.
Each of the three Doshas in Ayurveda has a corresponding center in the frontal lobe in the brain. Vata is associated with the superior frontal lobe, Kapha with the inferior frontal lobe, and Pitta with the areas in between. Having Pitta dreams may be related to excess activity of the sympathetic nervous system whereas Kapha dreams are associated with excess activity in the parasympathetic nervous system. Further research is needed.
To truly understand dreams using Ayurveda, including their origin and meaning, there are many factors to take into consideration: breathing patterns, levels of relaxation, diet and posture. Basically, the flow of energy along with what you consume.
Sleep deprivation may lead to an increase in Vata dreams, whereas over-sleeping leads to an increase of Kapha dreams. Experiencing too many or too frequent dreams is considered unhealthy as it deprives the mind of true rest and relaxation.
Yoga and Ayurveda propose a technique called Yoga Nidra, literally Yogic Sleep, be practiced to substitute normal sleep. During Yoga Nidra, you can get all the sleep benefits without losing conscious awareness.
Yoga Nidra is a technique that lengthens the time spent on the hypnagogic and hypnopompic stages, that is, the stages between wakefulness and sleep. Yoga Nidra in its deepest state is a dreamless sleep with highly relaxing and rejuvenating effects that substitute the need for ordinary sleep. During Yoga Nidra, the sleeper examines their thought patterns and practices deep relaxation.
Ayurveda sees dreaming as nature’s way of trying to restore physical and mental balance, which the body and mind is constantly trying to do. Understanding why you're having the dreams you do is important to knowing your state of balance.
Ayurveda wants to understand dreams based on the human body and mind and spirit and their complex interactions. Using the principles and practices for health, happy dreams and restful sleep can be achieved.
All views and information shared here is only for the sharing of Ayurvedic knowledge. Please do not try or prescribe or take any of the remedies and suggestions here without talking to your regular, qualified doctor. Kottakkal Ayurveda and no other person associated with Kottakkal is responsible for unwanted side-effects or contraindications in your health.
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Ahh, Kapha. A Dosha that we all have, made up of earth and water. It gives us many of our best human qualities, such as our grounding, stability and warm emotions. When in excess however, it can have negative consequences on our overall health.
To reduce or pacify kapha, Ayurveda has given us dietary, lifestyle and herbal treatment strategies. To reduce Kapha, emphasize stimulation, exercise, lightening, warming and drying in your diet and lifestyle.