One of most important gifts of Ayurveda is the knowledge that we are not separate from anything else in the Universe, even the intangibles. Our mind, body and spirit are all one in the same along with our connection with all else that exists. When a butterfly flutters its wings on the other side of the planet, we really are affected by it in a subtle way.
When the environment around us changes, we are affected much as a boat is rocked by the movement of the ocean. Our system constantly works on maintaining homeostasis, making constant adjustments to adapt and remain its harmony with nature. But sometimes even through the best of efforts, we are thrown out of balance when there are too many changes, too many toxins accumulated or a weakness has developed, especially in our digestion. It is easier to maintain harmony and balance when we stay near equilibrium. It is when we allow imbalance to build and accumulate that we may see more drastic and long lasting effects, which in turn, are more difficult to eliminate.
According to Ayurveda, disease begins during the time when one season cycles into another. The change in seasons especially has a strong impact making us more vulnerable for imbalance to take root. In the fall, Vata shows itself as drier, rougher and windier weather which in turn increases these qualities within ourselves. The leaves dry up and fall off the trees, the cold wind blows and the days grow shorter and darker. In ourselves we may develop Vata imbalances such as dry skin, stiff joints, constipation, bloating, disturbed sleep, and changeable moods like anxiety, loneliness and brain fog.
As Ayurveda believes that Vata is responsible for sixty percent of all diseases regardless of Prakruti or constitution, it is important to soothe Vata as soon as these little niggly symptoms begin to appear. To stay healthy, we need to eliminate the buildup of excess Doshas on a regular basis and as fall naturally stirs up Vata, it is a perfect time for many of us to do a Vata soothing cleanse.
Another wonderful gift of Ayurveda is the wisdom of how to aid our body to rejuvenate and cleanse itself. We can regularly practice an Ayurvedic cleanse at home or for a more thorough purification, we can turn to Panchakarma, a special and profound type of balancing, which is performed under the supervision of a trained Ayurvedic specialist.
You can add more support to your cleanse by tailoring it to address whichever dosha is most out of balance. Today we will take a special look at calming vata.
Soothing is the perfect word to help us understand how to care for Vata. As Vata is changeable, light, dry, cool and rough, we want to focus on the opposite actions of calming, quieting and gently loving ourselves to bring Vata back into its home. Here are some general guidelines to help you on your way:
Keep in mind that sometimes the very techniques that soothe Vata can disrupt Pitta or Kapha, so it is important to know both your Prakruti and Vikruti (current state of health), before you begin. An Ayurvedic practitioner or doctor will identify any imbalance and determine the best path for you. In this way you will learn how to fine tune your routines, diet, lifestyle and habits to keep yourself in the best health.
Janet Shivani Chase has studied and practiced Ayurveda and Yoga for more than 25 years. Her practice of yoga led her to attend the Ayurvedic Institute, where she will be forever grateful to her teachers, especially Dr. Vasant Lad. A NAMA-certified Ayurvedic practitioner, Licensed Massage Therapist and a Licensed Educator, Shivani is the founder of Balanced Life Ayurveda where she works with clients to improve their health and well-being through education, consultations and treatments. She currently lives in the Ozark Mountains with her husband Steven. She can be found on Facebook.
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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.