Ayurveda

AYURVEDA FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Posted by on May 4, 2020 in Ayurveda, Self-Care
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Wellbeing and Ayurveda for Anxiety and Depression-ben-garratt-mNEgPTHFP48-unsplash

The worldwide circumstances in which we find ourselves are creating, for many, anxiety about our futures and a need for resilience to help us get through the day. Whilst things may seem out of control, connecting back to self-care rituals and routines can help restore a sense of autonomy and build physical and mental resilience, as we navigate this sea of change. Painful or uncomfortable experiences challenge us to seek the tools that can help us come back to our personal balance. Once adopted, they may lead us to emerge from this collective crisis, healthier and more attuned to our real needs.

The Ayurvedic approach to mental wellness does not disassociate the mental from the physical. A healthy mind and body in the Ayurvedic sense is not merely the absence of illness or unbalance but the promotion of balance and happiness, so you can thrive rather than just ‘not be ill’.

Ayurveda looks to the senses, body, mind, intellect and soul to guide us back to balance. Our senses are our gateway to integrating successfully with the world around us. However, they can also be our undoing, we can become overwhelmed say, by the news coming from our screens. This leads to the mind becoming unsettled, an increased heart rate leading to tiredness and then lethargy, leaving more time for the mind to overthink and so our minds take us round the anxiety ‘not’ so merry-go-round!

Calming this great tool of the mind is not always easy when anxiety and depression strike. Ayurveda looks to access the mind via the body using the five traditional approaches. Ama or toxins in the body can lead to dis(ease) as can the mental ama of thoughts and worries. In both cases these need to removed at the same time as strengthening mind and body. Below are some suggestions adapted from Ayurvedic principles and following my three-step approach to wellness. It is important not to fuel the sense of overwhelm that many of us are feeling so take a softly, softly approach trying one or two things, assessing their effects before continuing or changing. The ritual of consistency is key in keeping the mind occupied but not overwhelmed.

The 3-Step Approach

  1. Prioritise You. Committing to even five minutes in a day that is ‘you’ time begins to put you, not your mind, back in control.
  2. Awareness. Ask yourself the question ‘How do I really feel?’ Allow the answer to come up without judgement, no feeling is off limits.
  3. Choose Your Tool. The answer to step two will lead you to choose which tool might be best for you now, to bring you closer to balance and indirectly quieten an overactive mind.

Some Suggestions from Ayurveda To Ease Anxiety and Depression

Food

Hot ginger and lemon tea with a teaspoon full of Chyawanprash (herb and spice jam). This is said to detox and flush the body and nourish the nervous system.  It is suggested to avoid the nightshade family, potatoes, aubergines, peppers, etc, as they can aggravate the nervous system, depleting energy.

Herbs

Ashwaganda is said to be restorative and rejuvenating. In Sanskrit ashwagandha means “the smell of a horse,” indicating that the herb has the potential to impart the vigour and strength of a stallion. Traditionally prescribed as a nerve tonic and adaptogen — an agent which helps the body adapt to various emotional and physical stressors.

Manual therapies

Touch therapy is very effective with nervous disorders, self-massage helps you reconnect with your own body. Try gentle abdominal massage with Brahmi oil at least 11 times anti-clockwise to detoxify and 11 times clockwise to nourish. Taking enough time is important to move down through the layers of the body from the surface of the skin.

Yoga

Will help access the mind via the body through breath and movement. Stretching muscles releases tension and signals the afferent or sensory nerves to the let the brain know to relax. Ayurveda recommends doing yoga with a teacher or with others to combat mental imbalance, try a Zoom class during these times. Focus on repetitive, flowing movements to give the mind ‘a what’s next?’ focus. Moving the body will help to control an agitated mind. Find postures that build physical strength, listen to your body and build up over time, nudging your boundaries to strengthen resilience. If working on your own and not familiar with the practice, avoid pranayama per se, as the connection to breath in this way can sometimes increase anxiety.

Routine

An Ayurvedic recommendation is — never eat or drink alcohol alone! Both can aggravate an overactive mind or exacerbate depression. In these days of lockdown, my tutor recommends arranging with a friend to eat at the same time every day and to connect on Facetime or another digital platform. This fosters a sense of connection and a feeling that you are cared for. If this is not possible, then listening to music can bring calmness. Eating at the table is preferable, rather than in front of the TV with its endless dramas; these cause high emotions and thus the inability to digest food or thoughts, creating ama/toxins for the body and mind.

In general, try to keep to a routine throughout the week, go outside and connect with friends or family daily. Hand write in a journal to ‘brain dump’ any mental ama (undigested thoughts, emotions, worries). Hand-writing helps slow the mind and sometimes lends perspective to repetitive, unsettling thoughts. This is not for anyone but you, so does not need to be perfect or even read over, the idea is to release the mind from carrying the thoughts.

THE FIVE SENSES AND AYURVEDA

Posted by on Mar 5, 2020 in Ayurveda, Self-Care
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Dosha for the season - Senses sharon-mccutcheon

Our five senses are the gateways to the outside world. They are the primary data source for helping our body and mind to know how to react to the world around us. Therefore, Ayurveda believes they should be maintained if we are not to be fed the sensory equivalent of ‘fake news’. Sharper and clearer senses, it is said, help us derive more presence, clarity and ultimately more pleasure from life.

Kripalu Yoga teacher and Ayurvedic practitioner Sarajean Rudman says that when we cleanse and care for our senses on a daily basis, we also reduce stress, boost our immunity, and experience greater overall well-being.  All key to thriving when we come under attack from threatening viruses or high-tech living.

Ayurveda categorises the five senses in relation to the five-element principle of all living and non-living things of Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. A combination of the elements forms the three doshas which are connected to each of the five senses, their actions and the parts of the body that allow for those actions.

VATA DOSHA

Space is the medium through which sound travels. One hears sound through the ears and hearing allows for speech. Therefore, the sense of sound is connected to ears, tongue, vocal cords and the mouth.

Air is something you can feel, so is related to touch. The sensory organ is the skin, the organ of action the hand, which allows for holding.

PITTA DOSHA

Fire is seen as light, heat and provides colour so it’s connected to the sense of sight. As seeing governs walking, the organ of action is the foot and walking is the sensory action.

KAPHA

Water is needed by the tongue to taste (notice how when you have a dry mouth it’s hard to really taste). The organs for this sense are both the upper tongue (mouth) and the lower tongue (urethra), through which is emitted reproductive fluid and urine, so the sense action is procreation.

Earth is related to smell, which is consumed through the nose, it is said, ‘as the scents of creation’. To balance the intake of consumption the body must also excrete. This is done via the rectum which with the nose are the smell sense organs and excretion is the smell sense action.

WAYS TO CALM AND CARE FOR OVER-STIMULATED SENSES

Ayurveda has a wonderful toolbox of self-care techniques for caring for our main sense organs.

  • Eye Care: A Cool Water or Rosewater Spritz – as a seat of Pitta dosha (fire) the eyes have a tendency for inflammation especially if they do a lot of screen time.
  • Tongue Care: Scrape Your Tongue – The tongue expresses the waste products of the body. In Ayurveda this is known as ‘ama’ (subtle toxic residue), a white film that accumulates overnight on your tongue.
  • Ear Care: Oil Your Ears – Applying a few drops of oil into the ears can lubricate any accumulated wax which could be blocking hearing.
  • Nose Care: Neti wash – Use of a Neti pot with body-temperature water and un-caked salt can help clear nasal passages, elevating the sense of smell.
  • Skin Care: Ayurvedic Oil Massage – Self-massage, with the best oils to balance your doshic imbalance, is a daily indulgence that reaps rewards.

To find out more about some of these basic Ayurvedic self-care practices, come along to one of my workshops. For how the senses affect your meditation practice read the piece by guest writer Helena, in this issue.

Research – thanks to https://kripalu.org.

EXPERTISE FROM A SELF-CARE SPECIALIST – Tarik Dervish, Ayurvedic Practioner

Posted by on Jan 20, 2020 in Ayurveda, Self-Care
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Tarik Dervish, Ayurvedic Practioner

Tarik Dervish

AYURVEDA AFRESH – IT IS IMPORTANT TO KEEP THINGS FRESH IN OUR LIVES

The older we get, the more we are set in our ways and tend to stick with what we know works until, well, it stops working. This stark truth then brings us to the realisation that we are less able to adapt to change because we are older. Have your heard yourself starting to say: ‘I’m too old to change?’

It is much better to build change into the way we live so that we are regularly assessing what is working and what is no longer relevant. I try to cull 20-30 books from my shelves every year and only keep books that are alive with information I value. Even information can go stale.

Food

They say it is easier to change someone’s religion than their diet. We like what we like and that’s that. The older we get, we are less willing to try new things. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this per se because it takes a long time to get to know yourself and your preferences tend to settle down. The danger is when we settle for comforting tastes like sweet, sour and salty. It is important to make sure that there is always a little bit of all six tastes in our food. The other three are pungent (spicy) bitter and astringent. We also tend to forget that variety also comes in textures. Food should be smooth and a little rough (remember the word roughage?) soft and a little hard, oily and a little dry. It keeps our digestive system on its toes as well as our teeth and gums.

Exercise and Rest

In the west, we tend to get excited about new ways of moving. Every few years, there’s a new craze that gets people to sign up to classes. When I was a child, Jane Fonda’s exercise video was all the rage. Now it is Zumba, Spinning and obviously Yoga. We need to move more for sure and if Zumba inspires you to move, then all the better though I’d obviously recommend yoga first.

Do we vary the way we practice yoga? Summer yoga should be different than winter yoga because the elements are changing. If you don’t adapt your yoga, is it still your servant or have you become a servant to it?

The quality of our rest is just as important. Rest is not just crashing in front of a TV. Too much junk leaves you mentally and emotionally agitated. Try making notes on how you feel after an episode of Eastenders. High adrenaline activity should be moderated.

Yoga promotes deep rest through Savasana (corpse pose) guided relaxations, yoga nidra and many other techniques. Do we make enough time for rest?

Rejuvenation

We are all children of light and our essence is made up of love, light and energy. Ayurveda cherishes us like our own mothers. She wants us to be full of essence because they bring joy. Running on empty in life is no fun. Our immunity is constantly on high alert and we are always tired and unmotivated. Ayurveda spends a lot of time talking about herbs, diet and activities that promote our essences so that we can be strong for our families, communities and be good guardians for the world we inhabit.

Optimism

Find something to be happy and optimistic about. It may sound a bit glib, especially in such difficult times but trust me when I say that there is power in it. Optimism should not lead to blind acceptance of neglect or injustice. Quite the opposite. It empowers you further to act against those things. Apathy is our enemy. Clarity and vision keep our minds fresh and instrumental in building a better future.

Tarik Dervish is the current Modules Officer for the BWY. He is an experienced DCT and Ayurvedic practitioner. He specialises in running courses in Ayurveda for yoga practitioners and will be co-launching the first Ayurveda Online Module next year.

Please visit www.yogawell.co.uk for more information.

Kapha Season Balancing – Enlist the Help of Your Second Brain

Posted by on Jan 20, 2020 in Ayurveda, Self-Care
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rsz_mental_health_dosha_and_the_season_

Kapha dosha is made of water and earth and characteristics include darkness, stillness, cold and damp, in other words our winter! Whilst it is necessary to have a season where things are given time to incubate, a Kapha imbalance can lead to feelings of heaviness, apathy, dullness and even depression. A golden rule of Ayurveda is that like increases like, so whilst it’s tempting to go for foods that are sweet like the water element or heavy like the earth element, they will only increase the Kapha dosha imbalance.

The first step in addressing this is becoming more aware of the messages that the body is giving us to alert us to this imbalance. Listening to our second brain, otherwise known as the digestive system, can tell us a lot. The gut is home to not just the microbiome but also the enteric nervous system (ENS). The ENS is a complex system of about 100 million nerves found in the gut lining. This “second brain,” arises from the same tissues as our central nervous system (CNS) during foetal development. Therefore, it has many structural and chemical parallels to the brain. Via neurotransmitters such as serotonin, and electrical impulses, both of our brains communicate back and forth about the state of the body and mind.

The information super-highway of this brain/body axis is the vagus nerve, the longest cranial nerve in the body. vagus translates from the Latin as ‘wandering’ and this nerve certainly does. Originating in the Medulla Oblongata in the brain, it makes it way down the neck towards the ear and the heart then back up the neck to connect with the oesophagus and palate and then finally back down the torso to the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver and the whole length of the digestive tract amongst other organs, creating nerve hubs or centres such as the solar plexus, as it journeys.

A truly remarkable communication system with 90% of impulses being communicated from the gut to the brain. The vagus nerve gives you that ‘gut instinct’, or ‘knot in your throat/stomach’ and is the connection to your sensations and emotions. The management and processing of our emotions happens via the vagus nerve between the heart, brain and gut, which is why we have a strong gut reaction to intense mental and emotional states. So, if Kapha imbalance starts to take you low, information from the vagus nerve, or your ‘gut instinct’, can lead you to make choices that will better support you.

This is a very Ayurvedic approach, listening to what the body wants rather than using the mind to try to work out which foods or activities are ‘good’ or ‘bad’. By taking this awareness approach we begin to trust our intuition to lead us to what is best for our constitution at any time. We begin by asking ‘what would make me feel good, better, easier, more relieved, in this situation?

Activation of the vagus nerve keeps your immune system in check and releases an assortment of hormones and enzymes, reducing inflammation, improving memory, and feelings of relaxation, via the parasympathetic nervous system.

Therefore, the tone or health of the vagus nerve, just like keeping muscle tone, is important for your overall wellbeing. Stimulating the vagus nerve to increase its tone will help you tune in more accurately to your ‘gut instinct’ and help you to choose foods and activities likely to balance any kapha imbalance. All yoga, but particularly Restorative Yoga with its emphasis on triggering the parasympathetic or ‘rest and digest’ nervous system, is a great addition to your wellbeing routines during winter. See the ‘Yoga in Focus’ section for ways to stimulate your info super-highway, the vagus nerve.

FIRE UP YOUR SELF-CARE BY GETTING TO KNOW YOUR AGNI

Posted by on Dec 28, 2019 in Ayurveda, Self-Care
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It’s proper Winter or Kapha season, it’s dark and cold outside and feels a bit static. You’ve over-indulged on Kapha foods with properties like sweet, heavy and dense, yes, I’m looking at you, Christmas pudding! The potential for Kapha imbalance, regardless of your particular Dosha, is high. You know you need to give your body a bit more nourishment with healthier food but what about your Agni?

WHAT IS AGNI?

In Ayurveda Agni is considered that heat that transforms, a biological force that governs metabolism. Part of the Pitta Dosha* system in the body, the heat energy of pitta is known as Agni, the catalyst for digestion and metabolism. In Ayurveda, Pitta is considered the container whilst Agni is the content.

Metabolism is most often associated with the breakdown of foods into energy but is a range of biochemical processes essential for life, therefore Agni is present in all tissues and cells and helps nourishment of the all systems of the body, including the auto-immune system.

Pitta Dosha can be found in the stomach as our gastric fire or Agni where its acidic nature breaks down food and stimulates digestion. Ayurveda believes Agni is essential for longevity; while it is functioning efficiently food will be broken down, absorbed and assimilated for the body’s needs. When Agni is impaired due to imbalance in the Doshas, the system begins to break down, resulting in reduced metabolism and an impaired immune system.

WHAT IS AMA?

Once the system begins to work less successfully, food elements remain undigested, unabsorbed and unused and begin to accumulate in the large intestine. And just like that drawer or cupboard in your house where everything gets dumped and the dust builds up, things get pretty ‘yucky’ in the digestive system. This ‘yuckiness’ is called Ama and it begins to clog not just the intestines but all the channels of the body, including blood vessels which travel through the entire person. The Ama undergoes chemical changes on its journey, creating toxins which are absorbed into the blood stream, circulate, accumulate in weaker parts of the body and create stagnation, clogging, weakness and eventually the appearance of disease and illness.

WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?

Over-indulgence during the festive season can leave the digestive Agni weakened as it works overtime with the all the excessive foods, leading to imbalance. Agni, like any fire, needs kindling and we can ‘enkindle’ our gastric fire in many ways using Ayurveda. So, whilst switching from mince pies to nourishing root vegetable stews is a step in the right direction, having a strong Agni or digestive fire is crucial if we are to transform our food into the elements our bodies really need. To follow are a few suggestions from the yoga toolbox and FOUR retreats, to empower YOU to fan the flames of your digestive fire.

* We are made up of all three Doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha, in various proportions. It is the exact proportions which make us unique, a predominance of one, two or more rarely, three Doshas, determines our constitution, i.e. Pitta/Kapha or Vata/Pitta etc.

AYURVEDIC HERB TRIPHALA

Posted by on Apr 13, 2019 in Ayurveda, Food, Self-Care
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AYURVEDA FOR YOUR DOSHA AND FOR THE SEASON

We are now in the transition between the wetness of Winter/Early Spring (Kapha) and the heat of summer (Pitta).   Traditionally the time of spring cleaning not only our homes but our body’s internal systems.  If a full-on detox sounds too much, another option I’ve been advised by my Ayurvedic consultant, is to take Triphala.   One of the most well-known and commonly used herbs in Ayurveda, Triphala which means ‘three fruits’, is a combination of the fruits of three plants, which are dried, ground, and precisely blended to create a beneficial synergistic effect.

WHAT DOES IT DO?

Triphala acts to rejuvenate, according to the classical Ayurvedic text the, Charaka Samhita, taking triphala daily with honey and ghee (triphala rasayana) is said to have the power to “make a person live for one hundred years devoid of old age and diseases,” quite a claim!

From an Ayurvedic perspective, some of Triphala’s therapeutic action comes from the fact that it possesses five of the six tastes* (all but salty) which are seen as necessary for health and well-being. It also balances all three doshas and all the seven tissue layers, making it perfect for all three constitutions of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

Triphala’s qualities are light and dry, adding lightness to the mind-body system. It also cleanses all the channels in the body, especially the channels of elimination, thus aiding in daily detoxification.

SOME OF THE CONDITIONS SAID TO BE HELPED BY TRIPHALA

DetoxificationOne of the most well-known characteristics of Triphala is its impact on toxicity levels within the body. Research has found that the active ingredients in this blend are able to stimulate the liver and kidneys, helping to clear the body of accumulations of toxins and prevent excess inflammation in various parts of the body. It is an excellent colon cleanser.

Lowers Cholesterol – Containing oleic and linoleic acid in two of the three herbs of the blend, these ‘good’ fats are able to re-balance cholesterol levels and prevent excess deposits of plaque in the arteries.

Immune Boosting – Amla, one of the key ingredients in Triphala, is rich in vitamin C, which can stimulate the immune system.

Diabetes – Triphala is said to improve the body’s insulin sensitivity, however, excess consumption of this herbal mixture may lead to an increase in blood sugar levels, so dose is important.

Weight LossImproves fat storage by preventing certain foods from being stored as fats. This can improve the speed of the metabolism and boost passive fat-burning.

Enhances Nutrient IntakeAside from optimizing digestion and eliminating constipation symptoms, Triphala can also improve the efficiency of nutrient uptake, which will increase feelings of satiety and prevent overeating.

Side Effects of Triphala Despite the many valuable benefits of Triphala, there are some potential side effects that must be considered.  As with all medications and supplements it is advisable to discuss taking Triphala with your medical or health provider.

Potential side effects include:

  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Dehydration from excessive bowl movements
  • Allergic reactions,
  • Insomnia: Drinking the tea only on an empty stomach first thing, helps eliminate this issue.
  • Drug Interactions: The effect on enzymes and hormones can sometimes negatively interfere with medication intended for depression, hyperactivity and blood clots.
  • Weight Loss: Not recommended for those with eating disorders

* The Six Tastes of Ayurveda – salt, sour, sweet, bitter, astringent, and pungent

Thanks to Organicfacts.net and chopra.com

 

YOGA TECHNIQUE IN FOCUS

Posted by on Feb 17, 2019 in Ayurveda
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PRANAYAMA (BREATHING TECHNIQUE)  KAPALBHATI SKULL SHINING BREATH

Now who wouldn’t want a shining skull? This Pranayama (which means to extend the life force) can really invigorate and energise your system. I like to do it first thing in the morning and it’s best practised on an empty stomach. You forcibly use the abdominal muscles to release carbon dioxide from the lungs on the out breath and passively allow extra oxygen into the blood stream on the in breath, energising all the body’s systems. It is one of  six Shatkarmas or methods of internal purification from Hatha Yoga. In Sanskrit, Kapal means the skull and Bhati means to shine or illuminate. The practice of Kapalbhati cleans the sinuses and can produce a light feeling in the forehead, hence the name.

It is used in Ayurveda to help with an excess of Kapha Dosha, which is located in the chest, heart, tongue, throat and nose. Formed from the elements of earth and water, excess Kapha can manifest as mucus and congestion, particularly during the winter, which is also Kapha Dosha season.

WHEN TO USE KAPALBHATI

In the morning: an energizing, invigorating wake-up call.
When you’re cold: a warming breath that allows you to build up heat in the body.
Mid-afternoon: to power out of the mid-day slump.

Benefits

  • Cleanses lungs and respiratory system
  • Strengthens and tones diaphragm and abdominal muscles
  • Releases toxins
  • Increases oxygen to cells, purifying blood in the process
  • Improves digestion
  • Energises and clears mind
  • Focuses attention
  • Warms body

HOW TO DO KAPALBHATI (with yoga instructor guidance)

  1. Find a steady upright pose on the floor or chair.
  2. With an empty stomach take a few rounds of long inhales and exhales.
  3. Begin the practice – this is a reverse of normal breathing as the emphasis is on the exhale, not the inhale.
  4. Breathe out pulling back the abs to force the air out of the body.
  5. Keep the inhale passive and let the lungs fill.
  6. Take as many exhalations in this way as feels comfortable – there should be no straining. In the beginning this may just be one or two which is fine.
  7. Take a few normal breaths between rounds and only practise while it is still comfortable. Build up the practice slowly over time.
  8. All Pranayama practices should be learned under the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor. If you have a medical condition, consult a doctor before taking up the practice.

WHEN NOT TO PRACTISE

Do not practice Kapalabhati if you are pregnant, or if you have high blood pressure, acid gastric issues, heart disease, stroke, epilepsy or abdominal pain. You should also stop or slow down if you feel dizzy or anxious.

With thanks to www.yogicwayoflife.com and www.chobra.com.

WELLBEING AND THE DOSHAS

Posted by on Feb 17, 2019 in Ayurveda
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AYURVDA FOR YOUR DOSHA AND FOR THE SEASON – HELPING MANAGE CHANGE

Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India has been practiced for over 5000 years. The Sanskrit name translates as ‘Ayu’ meaning ‘life’ and ‘Veda’ as ‘knowing’, so Ayurveda is termed ‘the science of life’. This system sees everything including mankind, as a smaller reflection of the bigger picture that includes all of creation. Therefore, it seeks to treat health with a holistic approach and aims to honour the unique constitution of the individual. Each constitution is a combination of the five elements of ether (space), air, fire, water and earth which form all organic matter (plants and animals) and inorganic matter (minerals). The five elements form the three Doshas (constitutions) of Vata (ether and air), Pitta (fire and a little water), and Kapha (earth and water).

We contain all three Doshas but usually one, sometimes two, and on occasion all three, are dominant. We are born with a unique constitution known as our Prakruti, ‘our nature’. It is when our Prakruti is out of balance that illness has the potential to take hold.

THE DOSHAS OUT OF BALANCE

Vata like its elements of ether and air has the following attributes associated with it – dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, mobile and clear. When there is excess Vata, a few of the symptoms may include dry skin, flatulence, thinness, general or bone pain that is piercing, stabbing or moving. Decreased Vata can show itself in various ways some of which include the need for more sleep, coughs, nausea, tastelessness.

Pitta is made of fire with a little water present, so the fire does not burn itself out. Like describing fire, the words associated with this Dosha are – hot, light, intense, penetrating, pungent, sharp, acidic, oily. When there is excess of this Dosha some of the following ailments may occur – toxicity of the blood, inflammation, infections, and skin problems and digestive disorders.

Kapha is earth and water and its attributes are oily, heavy, cold, soft, slimy, dense, gross and slow. Imbalance can manifest in having excess mucus, being cold, sleeping in the day, overeating and inertia.

HOW TO REBALANCE YOUR DOSHA

An Ayurvedic principal is that ‘like increases like’ and ‘opposites decrease’. So, if your Dosha, for instance is Kapha (cold, soft, dense, slow etc.) then taking daytime sleeps will only increase the Kapha, taking it out of balance, but doing some exercise (the opposite to sleeping) would help bring Kapha back into balance. The following are some tips for each Dosha:

Vata – keep warm, eat warm and spicy foods, minimize raw foods and legumes except mung beans, keep to a routine, create a safe, calm environment.

Pitta – keep cool, avoid steam and heat, avoid excess oils, avoid both fried and stimulating foods, eat diary, get enough fresh air and emphasise fresh fruits and vegetables.

Kapha – exercise daily, have variety in life, stimulate and challenge yourself, low fat diet, hot, light and spicy foods and enough carbs to maintain energy, avoid iced drinks.

THIS SEASON’S DOSHA – KAPHAFIVE TIPS FOR THRIVING IN WINTER

Typically, Ayurveda having its roots in India works with 6 seasons, however in the UK we work with four. Our four seasons however have overlapping times when there is a more predominant feature or Dosha to the weather. For instance, winter often begins as dry and windy, a continuation of autumn and the Vata Dosha, it then moves to a wetter, damp and cold season, which is Kapha. As ever with Ayurveda and Yoga, awareness is key in assessing what is happening around you and what would be the best course of action. However, below are some tips for a ‘typical’ wet and damp Kapha winter:

  1. Keep your head and hands warm. The wrists and back of the neck are sensor points that the nervous system uses to regulate metabolism and the distribution of body heat.
  2. Keep your bedroom cool but not so much that the temperature drops in the night, waking you up. If you feel aches and pains on waking you may have tossed and turned during the night, a possible sign that the room got too cold.
  3. Take up a new interest in something that makes you feel happy and focused.
  4. Find ways to laugh and remain positive spend time with friends. If you feel unusually sad in winter and suspect SAD (Seasonal Affective disorder), consult your doctor, who may prescribe more exposure to natural or artificial sunlight.
  5. Make sure your diet is warm and nourishing at every meal.

WHAT IS SATISFY THE HUNGER ABOUT?

Posted by on Dec 24, 2015 in Ayurveda, Food, Self-Care, Yoga Practices
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I had so many different name ideas for this site but Satisfy the Hunger seemed to encapsulate what I was hearing from so many – a need to find food and practices that nourish our depleted, stressed-out selves.

Why I decided to do a site in the first place was because my yoga students would ask where they could find out about my food and get advice on recipes and techniques and my private cook clients wanted to know more about the yoga I offered so I decided to put it all in one place.

My posts will focus on practices and techniques that nourish the body and the soul across the spectrum of food and yoga but always with an emphasis on the practical. Who has time to prepare three-hour gourmet ‘raw’ meals or two-hour early morning yoga sessions? OK maybe some, but for the rest of us we need to access practices which are do-able, fit with our lives, are effective and Satisfy the Hunger within for a life that sustains us.