AYURVEDA 101

Autumn is here, and so are all the sniffles! All the colors, windy days, stress, pumpkin cozies and shifting experiences. With the change of seasons, and the start of new journeys or routines, we can often find ourselves caught up in a bog of stress. This is absolutely normal. Our bodies take time to acclimate to the changes of pace and and shift of season.

But because we are a generation of do-ers, it is so hard to merge with new rhythms. We want to stay super active and awake, as we are in the summer.

This is where we can tap into some ancient yogic wisdom to help us stay grounded and centered!

What is it?

Ayurveda, which is an ancient Hindu mind-body health system literally translates to “Ayur-life, Veda- knowledge/ science”. Ayurveda is basically, Yoga’s twin sister. The two go hand in hand and arise from the same text, the Vedas, written over 6,000  years ago in India. Ayurveda is regarded as one of the oldest forms of healthcare in the world.

What makes it different?

Ayurveda views us to be harmonious with nature. Our bodies and minds are comprised of the five elements, to varying degrees (doshas) and therefore we too shift with the change of season. Ayurveda helps maintain one’s health by harmonizing with nature through food and movement.

Getting into it now, what are Doshas?

There are five elements: earth, water, fire, air and space

Dosha: A Dosha is an Ayurvedic descriptor. It is an energy that blends the elements and exists to varying degrees in each individual. Doshas also rule the seasons, different climates, and different stages/ experiences in life (pregnancy, injury etc.)

  • VATA: air/ space: dry, cold. light, mobile~ autumn and early winter
  • PITTA: fire/ water: hot, light, intense, fiery~ late spring and summer
  • KAPHA: earth/ water: stable, dense, heavy, grounded~ winter and early spring

Every single person on this earth, from the moment of conception, has a pre-set constitution of the aforementioned Doshas. So for example, you might have a friend who is super fiery and has to run every day to release steam, is always in motion, and maybe even a little impatient. Their natural constitution (“Prakrti” in Sanskrit) might be 75% Pitta for example and they could drink cucumber water and swim to soothe their fire, if in excess. (take an online quiz here to find out your personal constitution: http://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/prakriti-quiz/)

For now though, because autumn is here, we are going to focus on things you can do to balance the excess Vata outside in order to  feel more grounded and yummy inside.

The weather is cooling, the leaves are drying and falling, the wind picks up, and our bodies begin to reflect very similar changes. We might start to catch a cold, have drier skin and hair, feel crackly in our joints and perhaps have a wavering  or unsettled mind.

What to do?

AYURVEDA! When Vata is in excess around us, we can pacify the excess wind and air with warm, cooked food, calming and grounding yoga, deep breath, and good, very slumbery sleep.

OIL, SPICE, HEAT, AND EARTH!

  • OIL UP: Now is not the time to do a juice cleanse or grapefruit diet. Counterbalance the dryness around you by eating more healthy fats, adding coconut oil to your smoothies or coffee, and rubbing an organic, digestible oil all over your bod! (sesame, safflower and coconut are great options- the trick is, if you can put it in your mouth, you can massage it into your skin) Try giving yourself a minute after you shower to rub a nice oil into your feet, knees, belly and joints- or wherever you like!
  • SPICE: nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon. Treat yourself to a warm chai. Let your body heat up and feel the spicy goodness. Ayurveda really stresses eating seasonally. Stick to foods that can be grown and harvested locally. Potatoes, apples, squash. Our bodies yearn for these more easily digestible foods and they will be more nourishing and balancing. Listen in to your cravings ❤ PSA: Norman’s CSA comes to Shady Grove Parking Lot 1 on Fridays! Visit them and buy yourself a beautiful sweet potato.  http://www.normansfarmmarket.com/
  • HEAT: Don’t pull a 6th grade boy! Get your socks on, your knit scarves and stylish booties. Snuggle UP. Drink warm liquid. Eat warm foods. Pacify the cold. Heat it up.
  • EARTH: When the wind gets to you and you are caught in a cycle of a million tasks- Sit down for a moment, with your palms on your thighs and take 3 of your deepest breaths. There is always 3 breath’s time. If you are at home, come to child’s pose and let your forehead completely relax into the floor. Do things that ground you and help you feel at peace. You are your own nature and know it best. Give hugs, they are good for all of us 🙂

Sending you a big belly hug and steaming mug of tea!

~roni

disclaimer: I am not a Certified Ayurvedic Doctor or educator. Always listen to your body and do what is best for you and your happiness

Thank you to my Yoga Teacher Training tribe for the amazing resources I got to dig up to write this blog!!

Also some info found on:

http://www.chopra.com/ccl/a-vata-pacifying-routine-for-fall

http://www.annaholden.com/2012/03/07/tips-for-a-balanced-spring-season/

http://hinduism.about.com/od/ayurveda/p/ayurveda.htm

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One Response to AYURVEDA 101

  1. Judie Harvey says:

    This is one of the best articles I’ve read on the effects that fall has on my body and mind. Thank you for your beautiful spirit and caring words. They were just what I needed!

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