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Finding Balance Through Ayurveda:

May 15, 2020

Written by Maddie Hunt

What Is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is the sister science of Yoga and is a holistic healing system that originates from the Vedas (ancient Hindu texts).  It is often defined as the knowledge of life and analyzes how we, as individuals, are constantly affected by our environment.  Through Ayurveda, we are asked: “how do I maintain balance in an ever-changing world?” When we are balanced, we can connect more intuitively with our true essence.  In other words, finding a centered state brings us back home to the Self…a place where compassion, joy, and abundance run free.

The Doshas

Ayurveda teaches that anything material in this world is made of the five elements: space, air, fire, water, and earth.  The three doshas act as a way to describe these five elements within our bodies.  Let’s break down each of the doshas below:

Vata

Elements: Space + Air

Qualities: Dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, mobile

Balanced Vata: Creative, enthusiastic, social, innovative

Physical Imbalances (think too much air in the body): Dry/cracking skin, gas, bloating, dry hair and nails

Mental Imbalances(think too much air in the mind) : Insomnia, inability to focus, anxiety, loneliness 

Pitta

Elements: Fire + Water

Qualities: Oily, penetrating, sharp, hot, light

Balanced Pitta: Organized, focused, disciplined, courageous, passionate

Physical Imbalances (think too much fire in the body): Inflammation, rashes, acne, acid reflux, bloodshot eyes

Mental Imbalances (think too much fire in the mind): Anger, impatience, overly competitive, judgemental, spiteful

Kapha

Elements: Earth + Water

Qualities: Oily, cool, heavy, slow, dull, smooth, stable

Balanced Kapha: Dependable, caring, calm, generous, compassionate, loyal

Physical Imbalances (think too much earth/water in the body): Congestion, lack of appetite, excess weight gain, water retention

Mental Imbalances (think too much earth/water in the mind): Lethargy, depression, stubbornness, lack of motivation, greed

Finding Balance

We are all incredibly affected by the world around us.  Think about it: certain music can bring the biggest smile to our faces and other music can have us bawling in sadness.  Certain destinations make us feel calm and relaxed while others make us feel anxious and on-edge.  What we submit ourselves to externally, directly correlates to how we feel internally.

One of the main teachings of Ayurveda is:

Like Increases Like and Opposites Balance

When you have a cup of salt water and keep adding salt, what happens?  It gets saltier.  When you have a cup of salt water and, instead, begin to add regular tap water, what happens?  The salty water becomes diluted and the ratio of salt to water becomes more balanced.

Having basic knowledge about the doshas, allows us to create balance within our own lives.  It gives us the power to regain physical, mental, and emotional health.

Let’s look at an example.

Applying Ayurveda

Molly has been struggling a lot recently with finding motivation.  She doesn’t feel inspired to do her school work.  She refuses to help out around the house.  She hasn’t exercised in weeks.  She is sleeping in until 1 PM, has gained 20 pounds in the past month and a half, and is beginning to feel depressed. 

Based on the physical and mental imbalances listed above for each of the doshas, which dosha do you think is imbalanced for Molly?

If you picked Kapha, you are correct!

Let’s come back to the main principle of Ayurveda:

Like Increases Like and Opposites Balance

If Molly is experiencing too much kapha dosha (heavy earth energy), what would help balance her out?

The opposite: lighter energy (more fire and air).  Dancing. Waking up earlier.  Eating light and simple meals.  Listening to uplifting music.  Creating time for play everyday.

When we feel heaviness in our lives, physically or mentally, Ayurveda asks us to bring in more lightness to find balance.

Taking the Power Back

One of the reasons why Ayurveda is so transformative is because it gives each of us the power back.  We all have the innate ability to create more balance in our lives and, therefore, help heal some of the physical, mental, and emotion symptoms that we may be experiencing.

Like Increases Like and Opposites Balance

Feeling super anxious and can’t get your mind to stop racing?  Try grounding yourself by walking through nature.  Taking long, slow breaths.  Eat a warm, cooked meal.

Experiencing acid reflux and acne?  Try to cool down the excess fire in your body by taking a cool shower.  Avoid vigorous exercise and opt for slow, gentle movement instead.  Relax under the shade of a tree. Stay away from spicy foods.

What dosha is imbalanced for you right now?  Do you have too much air, space, water, fire, or earth in your body and mind?  How can you invite in “the opposite” to create a happier and healthier life for yourself?

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