Sure fire ways to knock yourself off balance!

The last couple of blogs have been looking at how the ancient philosophy of Ayurveda can help us to

Ayurvedic wisdom

Ayurveda. The elements and the doshas

stay well. Ayurveda firmly believes that prevention is better than cure and in the last blog I talked a little bit about how to recognise our predominant dosha or constitution. Once you have this information you can then start to make food and lifestyle choices which best suit you.

In this blog I’m going to note some of things that will disturb each of the doshas, which can lead to problems with our health and well-being if left unchecked. I’ve taken information from the Dru Yoga Introduction to Ayurveda course notes, “Cooking with Love” by Keith Squires, “A Pukka Life” by Sebastian Pole, and Vasant Lad’s “The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Remedies”, along with wisdom shared with me by my Ayurvedic practitioner, Dr Janey Fitzgerald.

If you remember then, there are 3 doshas, Vata (dry, light, airy), Pitta (hot, sharp, penetrating) and Kapha (heavy, unctuous, cold). We are all our own unique combination of the 3 doshas, usually with one dosha being dominant. Our aim is to keep our doshas in our own unique balance, not to make them all level.

Here are some common things then that will throw each dosha out of balance. If you are feeling out of kilter have a look at the list. You might identify some of the characteristics of an out of balance dosha and perhaps some of the behaviours that are contributing.

VATA

Too much Vata will present as heightened anxiety, worry or fear. Insomnia. Dizziness. Abdominal bloating. Cracking joints and arthritis. Dry skin. Piercing pain, numbness or spasms.

Insufficient Vata can make you feel sluggish and lazy, even confused, with no enthusiasm or desire to express oneself.

Here are some sure fire ways to unbalance Vata!

  • Regularly skipping meals or fasting.
  • Eating lots of raw and cold foods in winter.
  • Eating in a hurry. Snacking on cold, dry foods. Eating too much refined or sugary foods.
  • Rushing around, no regular routine, having to travel a lot.
  • Working long hours, working shifts and having a stressful job.
  • Spending too  much time on a computer or electronic devices.

PITTA

Any bodily symptoms that are irritating, inflamed or hot are all signs that there is too much Pitta, for example, heartburn, high blood pressure, fever, rashes, loose stools. Emotions associated with high Pitta are anger, frustration, irritation, being critical of yourself and others, jealousy and being overly competitive.

If there is not enough pitta there will be poor digestive function, and a general rise in the symptoms of too much Vata or Kapha.

Common things that will knock Pitta out of balance:

  • Eating too much rich and spicy foods, too much alcohol or caffeine.
  • Moving around too fast.
  • Exercising when you are too hot or hungry.
  • Working until late into the night.
  • Sleeping less than 6 hours a night.
  • Getting angry, frustrated or irritated with people.
  • Being tough on yourself and others, lacking in compassion.

KAPHA

If there is too much kapha in your system you can expect to suffer from excessive mucus, dull pains, a sluggish digestive system and a tendency to put on weight. Any symptoms that are heavy, stagnant, congested or cold tend to manifest with too much kapha. Not enough kapha and vata will be on the increase, so you can expect cracking joints, dryness and dizziness. Greed and possessiveness, along with laziness are emotional pointers that kapha levels are too high.

Kapha will be disturbed if you:

  • Eat too much heavy food, and then have a snooze.
  • Eat lots of comfort foods.
  • Have long lie ins, sleeping more than 8 hours a night.
  • Avoid the outdoors and exercise.
  • Never change your routine, get into a rut.
  • Procrastinate, don’t speak up for yourself or suppress your feelings.

There’s a whistle stop tour then of things that can throw your constitution out of balance! Do you recognise any of your symptoms or behaviours in the lists? Yes? Well no problem, next time we’ll take a look at some of the things that will bring your doshic make up back into balance! Ix

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