Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old science of self-healing from India. It has been called “The Mother Of All Healing”. It centers around the five basic natural elements, Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. Ayurveda states that at the time of conception everyone is divided into three human doshas or conditions, VATA, PITTA, and KAPHA. These makeups are the reasons for everything you do, and everything you are. To live in harmony and optimal health, these doshas must be kept balanced.
If you’re unsure of your dosha, take THIS quiz to find out!
Below are suggestions for living a creative, healthy lifestyle according to Ayurveda and your constitution. These regimens follow the flow of energy in the body and the external environment. It’s recommended to stay aware of the flow at all times in order to get the maximum benefits from your daily routine.
• awaken before sunrise
•evacuate bowels immediately after awakening
• use a silver metal tongue scraper to massage and cleanse tongue and the organs that correlate with different sections of the tongue.
• give yourself an abhyanga (oil massage) daily. Morning for PITTA & KAPHA. At night for VATA
• brush teeth after meals
• take a 15 minute walk after meals
• eat in silence with awareness to food
• eat slowly, chewing each bite 32 times
• massage the gums with finger & sesame oil
• get to sleep before 10pm
DIET & DIGESTION
• 1 teaspoon of fresh, grated ginger with a pinch of salt is a good appetizer
• do NOT eat breakfast after 8am
• drinking water immediately before or after a meal will have a adverse effect on the digestion
• excess intake of cold drinks relieves resistance & creates excess mucus
• store water in a copper vessel to cleanse the liver & spleen
• taking a nap after lunch will increase KAPHA
• eat lunch before noon & dinner before sunset
• gaze at the rays of the sun at dawn for 5 minutes every day to improve eyesight
• gaze at a steady flame in the morning and evening to improve eyesight
• during a fever, do NOT eat and do a ginger tea fast
• rub soles of the feet with sesame oil before bed to induce a calm night’s sleep.
• oil on the head at night calms the mind before bed
• oil massage promotes circulation and relieves excess VATA
• do NOT sleep on belly
• reading in bed will injure eyesight
• lying in back (shavasana) calms the mind and relaxes the body
• dry hair immediately after washing to prevent sinus problems
• cracking joints may cause injury to the body and deranges VATA
• sex and yoga during mensuration is harmful to the body and causes deranged VATA
• after sex, milk made with raw cashews and raw sugar promotes strength and maintains sexual energy.
• fear & nervousness drains energy & aggravates VATA
• possessiveness, greed, & attachment enhances KAPHA
• worry weakens the heart
• hate & anger create toxins & aggregate PITTA
• excessive talking drains energy & aggregates VATA
The way a person sleeps and breathes has a major effect on the constitutions and balance of energy in their body….
Left– the left side contains female or lunar energy. If someone always sleeps on the left side, it will suppress lunar energy and aggregate solar energy. In turn, that solar energy will create PITTA. People of PITTA constitution should sleep on the right!
The right side is recommended for VATA and KAPHA to sleep on to enhance male and solar energy.
Just like time, the body is constantly in motion. There is a distinct relationship between time, both of the day and year, and the tridoshas. Awareness and knowledge of these time changes will help one to stay in touch with energy in their external and internal world.
Sunrise -10am KAPHA energetic, fresh, & a bit heavy (mid-morning KAPHA turns into PITTA & hunger increases)
10am-2pm PITTA hungry, light, hot
2pm – sunset VATA feels active, light, & supple
6pm-10pm KAPHA again. Cool air, little energy
10pm -2am Peak hours for PITTA. Food is digested.
Early morning before sunrise- VATA time again. Movement is created, waste is eliminated
*PITTA & VATA people should eat breakfast between 7-8am.
KAPHA should not eat breakfast. Eating at KAPHA time will increase KAPHA in the body.
It is best to eat all meals when the sun is up.
Lunch should be eaten between 10-11am, during PITTA time.
Eating late night will change the body’s chemistry. Sleep will be disrupted and unsettling dreams will keep you from having a restful night’s sleep
It is said that if the time of eating is changed to correlate with the doshas, a drastic positive change in one’s living habits will occur!
Winter – December-February
Clouds, snow and cold temperatures. There’s increased KAPHA, as well as colds, congestion, bronchitis.
Spring– March -May
KAPHA is aggregated in early spring when winter is liquified and slowly dries.
PITTA is aggregated during late spring when things heat up. PITTA disorders such as burning eyes, diarrhea, sunburn, rash, dermatitis can occur during this time.
FALL-October, November, December
VATA is predominate when the leaves are falling, there is wind, and temperatures drops.
Ayurveda and yoga are sister sciences. In India, it is traditional to study Ayurveda before taking up a yoga practice in order to better understand the body before diving into the spiritual science of yoga.
YOGA ASANAS FOR VATA
• asthma – backbend, plough, corpse, knee to chest
• Backache- knee to chest, plough, half wheel, backbend.
• Depression – yoga mudra, plough, palm tree, lotus, palm tree
• Constipation – corpse, shoulder stand, yoga mudra, backbend
• Sciatica- knee to chest, half wheel, backbend, plough, yoga mudra
• Varicose veins- headstand, corpse, backbend
• Insomnia- corpse, cobra, backbend
• menstrual disorders – plough, cobra, half week, yoga mudra
YOGA ASANA FOR PITTA
• Hyperthyroid – shoulder stand, ear knee
• malabsorption- knee to chest, fish, locust
• Hypertension- shoulder stand, cobra, half bow
• anger or hate- half bow, hidden locust, corpse, shoulder stand
• Migraine headache – sheetali, shoulder stand, fish
• colitis – fish, ear knee, boat, bow
• Liver disorders – fish, shoulder stand, hidden lotus
• Hemorrhoids- fish, shoulder stand, bow
YOGA ASANAS FOR KAPHA
•Bronchitis – headstand, plough, forward bend, backward bend, half wheel, fish
• Sinus congestion- fish, boat, plough, breath of fire
• diabetes- boat, fish, half wheel, backward bend, forward bend
• Chronic gastro-intestinal disorders- fish, locust, cobra
• sore throat- lion, shoulder stand, locust, fish
The breathing exercises or pranayama one does during meditation can bring extraordinary balance in the consciousness. Pranayama has healing benefits and can bring bliss and joy into one’s life.
Ayurveda states that different techniques should be used for each of the different doshas.
PITTA – left nostril breathing to create a cooling effect in the body and enhances female energy. Inhale through left as exhale through the right nostril.
KAPHA – right nostril breathing, inhaling through right, and exhaling through left. This creates a heating effect and stimulates male energy.
VATA– should perform alternative breathing, which is an active force. This will balance VATA out.
I hope this post gives you a little insight into the oldest healing system in the world and how applying these ways of life can benefit you. Information was gathered by researching Dr. Vasant Lad’s The Science Of Ayurveda. If you would like your own copy, you can grab it HERE.
Sending much love and gratitude to Lori from Cosmic Collages for use of her insanely rad artwork! (She’s a super cool chick, originally from Philly!) All designs above are actually her brand new yoga mats!!! Check out her shop with other amazing goodies like meditation pillows, medicine bags, tanks, and more!!
Peace, love & Ayurveda,