The groans and moans can be heard from people who do not make the seasonal adjustments. Ayurveda teaches us how to stay well in the change of season. We need to make conscious changes to our diet and lifestyle. My father used to say to me, when it is raining go to bed like the animals do. However if we need to be at work each morning or we have families to attend, this is not always feasible 🙂
To alleviate many painful symptoms of dis-ease knowing my dosha or body constitution and living a Yoga Ayurveda lifestyle is the answer. I know how to bring myself into balance. I think the quest of life is to know how to bring our body to a balanced state. For this I need to have an attitude of enquiry to review what does and doesn’t work for me. A small example is that we are constantly moving around from artificial heating into the fresh air. The temperature change is a shock to the internal body. This results in a weakening of the immune system with a susceptibility to colds and flu.
Ayurveda and Yoga the sister sciences
An article below from the Deepak Chopra centre brings to attention the often missed aspect of Yoga and Ayurveda combined. Ayurveda is likened to The Science of Life. Combining Yoga with Ayurveda as traditionally taught, compliments the other. Yoga and Ayurveda are sister sciences. Ayurveda speaks of what we ingest through our senses. The eyes, ears, nose, mouth, skin and even the people we hang out with.
Many overlook Ayurveda as they only know a little bit and pass it off as too complicated. In my experience the principles of Ayurveda are seen all around us. This can be as simple or as complicated as we make it. Likewise, even in the people we meet, tolerance is brought about by understanding the unique doshic challenges. Even the doshas are within the animals my cat is a Pitta! Simply speaking with people on the phone after some time their dosha becomes aparant. It is also very obvious in government representatives by the way they communicate and act etc. A Pitta person can often display control and competitiveness for example.
Acceptance comes through the sister sciences of Yoga Ayurveda
Knowing the principles of Ayurveda and the body constitution of a person has given me acceptance and tolerance. When out of balance people can not help but be the way they are. Similarly behaviour and moods are effected by what we put into our senses. Often people are attracted to what increases their dosha – “like increases like”. For instance a Pitta person will push themselves even harder and stoke their fire. A Vata person will fight against a routine and increase their instability, whereas a Kapha person will lie around and decrease their motivation.
Fortunately as I have matured and learnt more about myself, I recognise that my self enquiry has been a great gift. As well as, I can see how this benefits others. I love to share my everyday view of Yoga and Ayurveda.
The seasons reflect all three doshas
The ‘qualities’ or characteristics of Vata are light, dry, rough, clear, active, cold and mobile, and pungent, bitter and astringent in taste. Therefore, choosing more of the qualities or characteristics in food and lifestyle choices which have the opposite effect such as heavy, moist, smooth, sticky, slow, warm, stable, salty, sour and sweet helps to maintain balance or bring excess Vata back into equilibrium.
Kapha Dosha qualities
The ‘qualities’ or characteristics of Kapha are cold, moist, heavy, dull, static, smooth, dense, oily and soft, and sweet, sour and salty in taste. Therefore, choosing more of the qualities or characteristics in food and lifestyle choices which have the opposite effect such as hot, dry, clear, light, sharp, active, rough, bitter, pungent and salty helps to maintain balance or bring excess Kapha back into equilibrium.
Pitta Dosha qualities
The ‘qualities’ or characteristics of Pitta are oily, sharp, hot, light, fleshy, spreading and liquid, and salty, sour and pungent in taste. Therefore, choosing more of the qualities or characteristics in food and lifestyle choices which have the opposite effect such as rough, dull, cold, heavy, static, hard, dry, bitter, astringent and sweet helps to maintain balance or bring excess Pitta back into equilibrium.
Learn to adjust and stay well in change season
We are all part of nature and as a result, are affected by her doshas. Taking better care to feel balanced moving through the seasons will enhance health. Our doshas is affected by internal and external sources.
Greater health and well-being is achieved by staying in harmony with the change in seasons. Knowing what dosha is dominant is how to stay well and stave off any colds and flu. When our fighting cells are being used to keep warm we are vulnerable to attack.
For instance, the transition from winter to spring is considered a Kapha season because it is wet, even though it is getting warmer. So therefore the excess water can increase kapha.
Seasonal eating learn how stay well in change season
As summer approaches and the temperatures rise, the Pitta is strong this is the fire element. Pitta when out of balance already has an excess of fire and like increases like. Whereas Vata and Kapha are cold doshas and are soothed in the heat. Likewise the digestive fire is strongest in the middle of the day, and for those with weak digestion it is advisable to eat at this time.
During Kapha season, those who are of the Vata dosha would benefit from eating more warm foods and incorporating sweet tastes. In turn they help to create mass and keep Vata’s grounded. Kapha’s should focus on lighter, crispier foods to bring some lightness back into their bodies. Pittas feel more in balance when they integrate astringent and bitter tastes into their meals.
Exercise is important for all people, and the type of activity you choose can have a balancing effect on each dosha. People with a dominant Kapha dosha need to stay committed to, or even increase, exercise during the wetter months. Energising activities such as running, spin classes, flow yoga, and other enlivening routines are best.
Activity is also highly recommended in order to balance the water component of the Pitta dosha. However, Pittas would be best served engaging in energetic exercises that do not entail too much competition. Again like increases like and competition will cause the fire element to become imbalanced.
Vata’s enjoy activities like yoga, tai chi, or long nature walks when weather permits, to help them stay grounded. The Vata nature is very changeable and their challenge is to maintain a routine.
All mind-body types benefit from meditation. During the winter and spring months, stay committed to your meditation practice.
Vata’s will find this practice stabilising, especially when focusing to be centered. Kapha’s will benefit by adding energising pranayama, or breathing techniques. A good idea is to the start and end their meditation routines with these techniques. Those with a predominantly Pitta dosha will feel balanced from the calming effects of a regular meditation practice.
The Role of Temperature
Temperature affects each mind-body type differently. Thanks to Pitta’s natural fire, those who are Pitta dosha can find themselves feeling warm, even in winter. Heat aggravates this dosha, so it’s important for Pittas to go outside into the cold weather once in a while. Conversely, Kapha’s and Vata’s both should do what they can to stay warm.
Changes in weather and the seasons affect your mood. For instance, short, grey, and damp days sometimes make people feel sad or depressed. Those with a Kapha dosha are particularly sensitive to cloudy and colder weather. Kapha’s should try to wear bright colours and surround themselves with uplifting shades. Vata’s find greater balance from muted, grounding colours; and those who are Pitta dosha do well with earth tones in both clothing and living spaces.
Find balance as you transition between seasons by following these tips:
Give yourself a daily Ayurvedic self-massage, also known as an abhyanga. Or at least once a week.
Engage in a detoxifying one-day cleanse to prepare for the new season ahead. The cleanse need not be a complete fast. Instead, consume all food in liquid form to help gently detoxify the body.
As the end of spring nears, begin to incorporate a more Pitta-balancing diet into your daily routine. Reduce spicy, sour, and salty foods are ways Pitta’s find balance. Similarly every dosha will benefit by adopting this healthy eating style.
Each season is rich and full of unique gifts. Fall presents us with beautiful colours and crisp clean air. Winter feels as though the world around us is asleep. Yet it is simply preparing for the beautiful show of the lushness of spring. And summer offers us longer days, and more time to relax with family and friends.
As you embrace the beauty of Nature’s bounty, reflect on your own connection to Nature and move in harmony with her rhythms as the seasons change.
*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center’s Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.