Ayurveda is like a secret doorway that has been in front of you the entire time. It’s been guiding you, expanding you, and restricting you without you necessarily being aware of it. It constantly shows you where you need more balance and if you are listening, it shows you how to receive it. Conscious awareness is just one of the ways Ayurveda can change your life.
To understand how Ayurveda impacts you on an individual basis, it’s helpful to get a sense of your Ayurvedic dosha. If you’re unfamiliar with your dosha, that’s okay, Ayurveda is already in your life! Here’s how…
Your Thoughts, Actions, and Physical Manifestations
Our thoughts can sometimes get the best of us. When we lack the presence to enjoy life fully, it subtly creates an impact that builds momentum which extends into our actions and creates unwanted physical attributes. For example, if you have a tendency toward anxious thoughts, the decisions you make may come from a place of fear and be confusing to execute. Your racing mind could lead to insomnia which in turn can create a vicious cycle of unstable energy.
Air and Space Elements
From an Ayurvedic perspective, the air and space in your mind and body need to be grounded to bring balance to these elements. There is a magnitude of ways in which you can do this, one perspective is to bring warmth and stability into your life. This could mean having cooked food rather than raw food, drinking warm or room temperature water, rather than cold water, and creating daily routines like eating at the same time, meditating and/or practicing abhyanga.
When the air and space elements are balanced in your mind and body, your energy is more stable and you will feel more grounded, you’ll sleep better, have more confidence, and you’ll be able to tap into your natural ability to be creative and go with the flow.
Fire and Water Elements
If you have a tendency toward angry thoughts and lack patience, your actions may feel restrictive and controlling. For example, you may think people (including yourself!) should perform a certain way and achieve specific outcomes. If these outcomes are not met, you may express frustration, disappointment, and lack compassion. Physically, you may develop skin rashes, suffer from peptic ulcers, excessive body heat, and experience heartburn, and indigestion.
In this case, Ayurveda recommends the fire and water elements need to be harmonized. To do so, you can introduce cooling, sweet, and stabilizing attributes into your life. For example, spending time in nature on a regular basis, eating sweet fruits rather than sour fruits, and creating time in your day to have fun are a few ways you can achieve this.
When the fire and water elements are balanced, you have more ability to look at the big picture and be less reactive. You set realistic goals, pivot easily and you have an abundance of energy and a glowing complexion.
Earth and Water Elements
If you have a tendency toward depression or jealousy, you may feel inadequate, helpless, and be resistant to change. It might be difficult to move through uncomfortable situations and you could find yourself “stuck.” For example, if you think there’s a lot being asked of you, perhaps at work or from a loved one, you may have a tendency to shut down emotionally and internalize the situation. This can branch out in many different ways, you may make unhealthy food choices, begin sleeping in excess, be more prone to allergies and weight gain.
According to Ayurveda, there is an imbalance of the earth and water elements. To bring balance to these elements, you can add more warmth and stimulation into your life. For example, regular exercise that focuses on building endurance, dressing in bright colors, drinking ginger tea, and reducing your dairy intake are all great ways to help you move forward.
When the earth and water elements are in balance you are reliable, patient, and supportive. You’re naturally calm, very thoughtful, and loving. Your physical presence is strong and you have excellent stamina.
Where your food is sourced, the types of food you eat, how it’s prepared, when it’s consumed and how it’s consumed are all components in your physical and emotional wellbeing. Luckily, Ayurveda provides a roadmap to each of these segments!
Where Your Food is Sourced
Eating organic, non-GMO foods that are locally sourced increases the variety in your diet and gives you the opportunity to receive the most nutrients. Eating seasonally aligns your mind and body with the environment: in the spring you’ll awaken from the coolness of fall and begin feeling light and energetic. You’ll stay cool, emotionally and physically during the heat of the summer, and as the natural world becomes brisker, you’ll maintain your body’s warmth, stay grounded and create endurance.
Your Diet and How Your Food is Prepared
Each Ayurvedic dosha has different food guidelines that change according to the season. When your food is prepared with love and intention and includes oils and spices that are in line with the season and your dosha, you create functional harmony. The lines of communication between your mind and body are open and in sync with nature. Your energy is stable and you feel peaceful, creative, and sharp.
When you step out of balance, you may feel bloated, have gas, loose stools or indigestion and it might be difficult to lose or gain weight. Emotionally your mind may feel scattered, you could be hyper-critical, or feel foggy and sluggish.
And so, the best line of action is to listen, be an observer and notice when you feel anything other than peace and joy. Have compassion with yourself and begin building momentum in a direction you’re proud of.
When and How You Eat
The beauty is in the details and the rhythm of nature is calling for you. Just as the sun rises and sets, you are being asked to honor the rhythms of your mind and body. Routine is one of the keys to developing a rhythm. Eating your meals at the same time every day will set a harmonic expectation with your mind and body. In this way, scarcity and overabundance are avoided and peace and satisfaction are achieved.
In addition, check-in with yourself while you’re eating: are you doing it mindfully by engaging your senses in the flavors, texture, and temperature or are you thinking about what’s next, talking with someone or reading? This small yet decisive difference is creating your life experience.
If you are mindfully enjoying your food without distraction, your awareness becomes heightened and peace and gratitude become your experience. Your mind and body are working together and digestion becomes easier. You may begin noticing what foods feel nourishing and which feel harmful, and you may start realizing the importance of whole (rather than fragmented) experiences.
If you eat while distracted, this can be confusing and straining to your mind and body. They are being pulled in multiple directions and don’t know whether to focus on enjoying and digesting food or to process unrelated emotions. And while you have the capacity to do both and much more, the quality of your experience decreases substantially. It can cause unwanted attributes like gas and bloating or acid reflux, or you may feel scattered or sluggish.
Ayurveda creates a rhythm of wellbeing, it’s intuitive and accessible to you within every moment. The more attention you give it, the less you’ll have to. Discipline leads to trust and trust leads to flow. For more information, learn how understanding Ayurveda can change your whole life.
All material provided in this article is for informational purposes only. Direct consultation of a qualified Ayurvedic Health Counselor should be sought for any specific questions or issues.