Recently, I’ve been doing all I can to learn about Ayurveda. I realized Yoga’s 5,000 year old sister-science is the perfect complement to going to yoga classes. When you start to practice yoga regularly, you usually become more in tune with your body and start to notice cause and effect a little more.
For example, when it’s hot outside, I feel like…, when I eat cheese, I feel like… It was partly the noticing that brought me to Ayurveda. That, and getting a really great massage! If you’ve had a coffee with me or been in one of my yoga or baby massage classes recently, you’ve probably gotten a bit of an earful about all of this. I can’t help it–I’m fascinated.
In Ayurveda, there are three Doshas or Constitutions–“types of people”: Kapha, Pitta and Vata. Most people will be made up of large parts of one or two of these, some an almost 3-way split (but all three exist to some degree in all of us, and they’re linked with our systems and environment).
The Doshas are governed by the elements:
I was a skeptic at first. Just like reading your horoscope in the daily paper, right? Of course, if it’s general enough you’re going to identify somehow. But it’s not general. It’s very personal.
But the more I learn and observe myself and the people around me, the more I know that this is the truth.
When I learned what my constitution is (and I recommend getting a consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner) it was the dead of summer (Pitta season). I was hot, cranky, and pretty miserable. I was drinking four cups of coffee a day and eating too much red meat and fermented foods.
I discovered I was Pitta-Vata. The Pitta part: I have always been quick to anger. I’ve been accused of thinking I’m always right. I’m passionate, driven… I am Pitta Girl, for better or worse. And, with all the fire I’ve got inside me, fueling it with heating foods was just about the worst thing I could do. I learned to eat foods which were more cooling, and cut down on the ones that were heating.
But the Vata part of me, in the middle of summer, I hardly registered. I identified as Pitta, and in the heat of summer, it made sense. But the season has changed. Fall, into winter, is Vata season. This season holds the same qualities as that part of me. And maybe of you. The airy, ever-moving, ungrounded… It’s very, very present right now even as the snow has fallen, and tough to get used to now that I’m aware of what it is. I’m learning to embrace Vata Girl in a way I didn’t know I had to. I’m more emotional, sensitive and less confident in this season. I’m misplacing things and having a hard time making decisions. Can you relate?
The other day, I felt myself on the verge of a panic attack. I didn’t know why or what was happening. It was perfectly timed, as I was taking a series of workshops on Ayurveda and the teacher, Dominic (who I’ve talked about before, here) clued me in that maybe I hadn’t been doing enough yoga. I had been leading a lot of workshops and teaching– things that increase Vata.
So forgetful me remembered to take care of myself again. I made the time that night to take a challenging hot yoga class. And again, the next day– yoga at noon. Increase Pitta, balance Vata…
And the next day, I got an Ayurvedic massage to relax, re-balance, and ground down. We tend to think of massages as a treat, but I’m realizing they’re part of living a healthy and balanced life– re-balancing when the seasons change, by getting an Ayurvedic or Shiatsu massage has officially become a priority!
So this is me. The strong, opinionated, motivated and confident Pitta Girl, taking care of the sometimes fragile, sensitive and always on-the-go Vata Girl.