I am sure most of you reading this either go to a yoga class once or twice a week or know of someone who does. It’s the new fad, there is a yoga studio on every corner. But, did you know that Yoga has a sister called Ayurveda. Not as dynamic and in your face as Yoga, Ayurveda, the quieter and more reserved sister has been waiting her turn for the limelight and now that time has come.
Ayurveda and Yoga are essential parts of an ancient system from India called the Vedas. Ayur or ayus translates from the Sanskrit to mean “life”, and Veda is knowledge or science. Literally ‘The Science of Life’, Ayurveda is now emerging as one of the most important preventative forms of holistic medicine in today’s modern world. Ayurveda, like yoga, is concerned with balance. It offers a unique system of treatment, explaining true health of the mind, body, senses and spirit and their proper alignment. Ayurvedic practitioners offer lifestyle adjustments that include diet, herbal formulas, color and gem therapy, massage, Yoga and meditation. They prescribe specific asanas or postures that help balance the energies in the body and mind. Our environment, our relationships, the food we eat, our work, the climate we live in, our faith and how we function within our own small universe is of great importance as this will determine our state of physical, mental and spiritual happiness and fulfillment.
Energy and vibration are the basis of Ayurveda. The universe is made up of pulsating energies, cosmic elements that together, make all material creations. Everything around us, ourselves included are made up of these elements; earth, water, fire, air and ether that are constantly changing and transforming. Ayurveda categories these five elements into three doshas or metabolic types.
Vata is the combination of ether and air and has the same characteristic of these elements: dry, flighty and irregular. When fire and water combine it is called Pitta, its main characteristics are hot, quick and decisive. Kapha is the combination of earth and water: strong, slow and methodical. These three doshas are present in every living cell. They not only affect us on a physical level, but also on subtle mental and emotional levels as harmony, energy and inertia. They influence all that we are and do. The choices we make and have made since the time we were born. In fact they make us who we are, unique individuals.
Every one of us has a dosha that is more predominant or stronger than the other two, one secondary and a third, which is much less prominent. This combination of the three doshas is determined when we are in the womb.
Four principal causes are responsible for an individual’s metabolic type:
1. The fathers metabolic type.
2. The mothers metabolic type.
3. The condition of the womb.
4. The food and drink the mother takes before and during pregnancy.
Our metabolic type should stay the same, but of course does not. Without knowing our particular type, inadvertently we cause disharmony by eating the wrong things, doing the wrong exercise, even living in the wrong environment.
In Ayurveda, nine types of combinations can manifest:
Famous people and their metabolic type:
Vata-Pitta – Gwyneth Paltrow, Celine Dion
Pitta-Kapha – Drew Barrymore, Princess Diana, Nick Hucknall
Kapha-Pitta – Oprah Winfrey, Michael Moore
Pitta-Vata – Prince Harry, Tom Cruise
Vata-Kapha – Bono, Lulu
Vata displays itself as a light, slim physical body, very tall or very short. The muscle tissue is not strong and the veins often protrude through the skin, which in turn is dry and thin, as is the hair. The hands and feet tend to be cold and there is intolerance for cold foods, weather etc. The digestion is not good and the appetite is not strong, consequently nutrients are not absorbed properly and constipation is often a problem. The nails and the teeth may be irregular and protruding. The joints are often unstable and a cracking of the joints can occur. The voice is hoarse and dry. Vata, when aggravated, often causes insomnia and confusion. Vata is mobile and produces the need for constant change, vigorous exercise and talkativeness. Vata produces a quick, alert and creative mind. The swiftness of Vata manifests in restlessness moving from one place to another, changing things and friends frequently. It causes a subtle feeling of insecurity, fear, loneliness and worry. Dreams may often be fearful. The memory is not long-term, but the capability to do many things at once is good.
TOO MUCH VATA?
To keep that Vata energy balanced and happy: