Hello from Sunny South Florida!
I’m in Miami attending a non-yoga related conference and feeling the effects of travelling. In Ayurveda, the ancient Hindu medicine, the body’s constitution is made up of three humors or doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha). Each of these humors has very specific characteristics.
The central concept of Ayurvedic medicine is the theory that health exists when there is a balance between three fundamental bodily humors or doshas called Vata, Pitta and Kapha). A brief definition extracted from Wikipedia is:
- Vāta or Vāyu (wind) is the impulse principle necessary to mobilize the function of the nervous system. It affects the windy humour, flatulence, gout, rheumatism, etc.
- Pitta (bile) is the bilious humour, or that secreted between the stomach and bowels and flowing through the liver and permeating spleen, heart, eyes, and skin; its chief quality is heat. It is the energy principle which uses bile to direct digestion and hence metabolism.
- Kapha (phlegm) is the body fluid principle which relates to mucous, lubrication and the carrier of nutrients.
Each person has the three doshas with one that tends to be dominant. So for example, I am a Pitta-Vata-Kapha. Pitta is my dominant dosha. The dosha that becomes unbalanced when we travel is Vata and the interesting thing about Vata is that it has the ability of unbalancing the other two almost immediately. Without wanting to over-simplify, when we feel scattered, restless, not able to sleep well and/or focus, this is a clear indication that your Vata is out of whack. To get in back into balance, the first thing to do is to try and get back to your eating, sleeping and activity schedule. That is why so many people say that they need a vacation after going on vacation. Here are a few pointers that may help:
- Try to get to bed before 10pm, awaken by 6am, and eat your meals at regular times.
- Avoid becoming chilled. Wear adequate clothing appropriate for the season and keep your head covered when the weather is cold.
- Perform a daily self-abhy massage using warmer, heavier oils like sesame and almond.
- Light exercise that enhance balance and flexibility is best for a Vata body type. Take care not to push yourself too far and exceed the limits of your energy. Beneficial activities for Vatas include: yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, walking and short hikes, light bicycling, light tennis, golf, dance, and aerobics.
- Fresh ginger root is beneficial and can be used frequently. During the cool weather, sip ginger tea throughout the day.
- Be certain that your bowels move regularly on a daily basis.
- Favor soothing, calming music.
- Touch and be touched regularly by the people you love. Get regular massages treatments.
- Favor warm colors in your clothing and environment such as earth colors, pastels, browns, and warm yellows.
- Favor aromas that are sweet, heavy, and warm. Examples include basil, bay, cinnamon, citrus, cloves, frankincense, lavender, pine, sage, and vanilla.
To find out what dosha you are taking the quiz at: http://doshaquiz.chopra.com/
Until next time, may your Doshas be balanced. Keep smiling!