Ayurveda and my post-Thanksgiving blues

I learned about Ayurveda a while back after my friend Lish introduced me to it.  Ayurveda is an ancient form of medicine that is 5,000 years old.   Originating in India, it is the oldest known health-care system in the world. Learning about Ayurveda has changed how I view myself, my health, other people, and even my cat.

Everything in our environment, every season and every emotion has a quality to it associated with one of the three doshas of Ayurvedic medicine: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.  It is said that these doshas must remain properly balanced in order to maintain health and that imbalance bauses illness.

You can take a dosha self-test here.

“Ayurveda explains that everything in the universe is created using a combination of the five elements: air, space, fire, water, and earth…There are three doshas…: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata is composed of air and space. Pitta is composed of fire and water…Kapha is made up of water and earth. We each have all three of the doshas in our physiology, just in different combination, and these doshas show up in our bodies and in our personalities. In most people, one dosha tends to be dominant.”  — Diva Village

I am predominantly Vata.  Vata is dry, airy, quick, short-lived. Some days this seems unfortunate, because Vata is the weakest of the doshas and I could use more strength most days.  I use up my energy quickly and must replenish often.  When I am out of balance I become depressed, irritable, too talkative, can’t sleep, don’t want to see people, can’t tolerate much stimulation of any kind such as touch, noise, and bright light.  The computer, staying up late, family holidays, loud music, intense people, traffic jams, crowded places, kids fighting–all increase vata and can disrupt my balance.  Vata out of balance equals feeling seriously overwhelmed to the point of wanting to run away.

When I am in balance I am at my best.  This means sleeping a lot and not being woken up at night by a screaming toddler.  It means going to bed early, eating at regular times, eating warm and moist foods, keeping a balance between activity and rest, and not socializing too much.  Keeping up with these requirements for a period of time bring out my enthusiasm, creativity, and sense of humor.  When I am in balance, I can see the lighter side of life, I laugh more, and I have new ideas and think life is very interesting rather than overwhelming.

As I sit here it is nearly 1 am and I have insomnia depite feeling horribly tired. Chronic sleep deprivation (screaming toddler), a long stretch without downtime and two days of very noisy family Thanksgiving celebrations have brought me here: I am in serious Vata excess.

And this happens every holiday, every year.  Like clockwork.

Now that this first stretch of annual holiday celebrating is over, I can plan for my recovery.

I will add some Kapha to my days this week: rest, predictability, routine, quiet, slow.  I will let the phone ring, stay away from the computer, make a big batch of soup, be a homebody.  I will try my darndest not to talk too much or exhaust myself with excessive thoughts.

Things will surely fall into place again…until next time.

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