Ayurveda is an ancient system of mind/body healing that has been used in India and neighboring countries for thousands of years. The word Ayurveda is sanskrit, and translates to "the wisdom of life." Today, Ayurvedic medicine continues to be used as a way for people to become self actualized; it allows us to strike a healthy balance and integration between our environment, body, mind, and spirit.
This month's blog series will be devoted to increasing our understanding of the ways in which our mood and sense of wellness is tied to our bodies and our external environments. To begin understanding ourselves as individuals, and how Ayurvedic medicine may be helpful to our self care, we first need to become familiar with the three energies (doshas or mind-body types), described by Ayurveda. These energies are responsible for the distinct characteristics of our minds and bodies.
The first energy is Vata, or Wind. When Vata in balanced, we might experience liveliness and creativity. We are enthusiastic and fast learners. When Vata is imbalanced we experience restlessness, anxiety, and feel scattered.
The second energy is Pitta, or Fire. When Pitta is balanced we are able to be insightful, warm, engaging, and competent leaders. When Pitta is imbalanced, we may experience feelings of judgment, anger, irritability, and agitation.
The third energy is Kapha, or Earth. When Kapha is balanced, we are thoughtful and have good memories. We are able to be calm, easy going, and tolerant. When Kapha is imbalanced we may feel sluggish, jealous, slow, and lethargic.
Ayurveda teaches that we all have different levels of these three energies, however one type tends to be dominant in each of us. Depending on which dosha is dominant, this system finds that different lifestyle habits, diets, and types of physical activity tend to be helpful. Take the Chopra Center's Dosha Quiz to determine which type tends to be most dominant in you.
In the following weeks, I'll be posting about various Ayurvedic informed self care strategies each of us may use to make sure that our mind body connection is balanced. Please keep checking back for additional information, and as always, let me know what you think in the comments section below!
Photo of the Taj Mahal used as banner image for this post was taken by Claire Cummins on her 2014 trip to India.