Monthly Archives: June 2011

Dosha Sense

Hola! For the past two weeks on the HeyMonicaB radio show, we we’ve been talking about the 5 senses (episode 24 & 25): sound, touch, sight, taste and smell (Don’t ask what’s up with the bunnies in these old posts. I am meaning to fix them –  I created them when I was a wee young blogger ;) Also, I don’t think I wrote one on smell…um, yeah).

As mentioned during the show, Ayurveda uses therapies on specific senses to balance specific doshas. I thought you might enjoy a little recap on that because visual (pitta!) aids help us make sense of the information (also pitta!). See there? Perfect example. When we see something we remember it far better than when we just hear something. Why? Because seeing (sight) is connected to pitta dosha, which is the link to our intelligence and retaining of information. We don’t remember quite as much when we are simply listening (sound). Why? Because sound is connected to vata dosha, which captures information quickly, but doesn’t retain it for long.

Don’t forget that these doshas have personalities and qualities, as well as functions. This is how we reach the mind-body. Let’s get to it.

In Ayurveda, we balance vata through touch and sound. That’s why we use massage so often in Ayurveda. Vata is a dosha that quickly goes out of balance (and quickly back into balance) but a good hug from a loved one or friend can bring the ourt-of-sorts vata person back to center. A warm oil massage will balance and calm vata almost instantly, whether you do it yourself or go to a massage therapist.

Vatas are also very sensitive to sound afterall, there’s not much in the ears except air and space, which is what vata is made of! Lots of vata lives in the ears, so if the wrong radio station or tv program is on, vatas will feel very uncomfortable and distracted quite easily. Construction noises and garbage trucks will also drive them crazy. Also because of the connection with the ears, when vatas travel by plane, they should take special precautions prior to their journey to make sure they stay balanced.

Some vata imbalances related to touch and sound include: constipation, insomnia, joint pain, anxiety, depression, worry, mood swings, lack of concentration, ringing in the ears, headaches, general aches and pains.

We balance pitta through sight therapy. Whether that’s cleaning up a cluttered house, a messy desk or a disorganized closet, pittas love to organize. They will feel sort of “out of control” if what they see is a mess and they will quickly look to start cleaning it up. This organization and cleanliness is because pittas are very sensitive (and critical!) to what they see. Pitta folks often have corrective vision wear too because those eyes are usually on overdrive. To soothe tired, red or irritated eyes, we can light a candle or look at a blue sky (anything in nature). We can walk barefoot in the cool grass in the evening (cool and dewey grass soothe the eyes!) and one of the biggest therapies is to lay off the computer for a while! :) One of the major therapies in Ayurveda is netra basti, which is where we build a dough dam around the eyes and fill it with melted ghee. The client then opens their eyes and the ghee penetrates and soothes the eyes (you say “eu” or think it’s a wack-a-doo therapy, but if done routinely and corretly, it can return most people to 20/20 vision!!).

Some pitta imbalances related to sight include: red or itchy eyes, tension headaches, insomnia, pink eye, dizziness or lightheadedness, irritability

Kapha is balanced through the senses of taste and smell. Taste is a really important sense (and it’s a HUGE topic, so I will do my best to sum up) because not only is it a sense, but it’s closely related to the building blocks of our entire physical beings (food!). Kaphas love to eat! They love to taste foods and make foods and serve foods. The combination of a kitchen that smells divine and food that tastes even better is irresistible for kapha.

In Ayurveda, we have to make sure a kapha person’s diet is not too salty, sweet, or heavy (fatty). This is a really tough challenge for kaphas who a) love foods of all kinds and b) tend toward weight gain. The best thing kaphas can do is fill their plate with tasty, spicy vegetables and have small portions of the other foods. That way they can still taste, savor, and enjoy their food without ending up with a kapha imbalance. This is not an easy task for kapha but if they stick to it, they will notice immense changes in their body-minds.

We can balance kapha through smells as well as taste through aromatherapy. All doshas can be balanced through aromatherapy but kaphas have a special affinity for it because we can instantly (and kaphas are typically slow) invigorate a kapha simply through scents.

Some kapha imbalances related to taste and smell include: weight gain, lethargy, cloudiness of mind, greed, excess attachment, low self worth, depression, high cholesterol,  and ama.

Tip: Cooling Cucumber Water

Is it getting warm outside where you live yet? In America, we are approaching pitta season, which means that it’s heating up both outside and on our insides. One of my favorite treats to beat the heat (that was a lot of ‘eats’) is to float cucumber slices in a pitcher of cool water. Delicious! And the water doesn’t get bitter like it does with citrus fruit. You’ll instantly feel like you’ve been transported to a luxury spa on the beach. Ahhh…

You can also add mint! mm!

Prana Potatoes!

LOVE this little girl!! Great way to sum up organic foods. Notice the variations in prana (life energy!!) in the potatoes! Folks, food is what we are built from. Lifeless foods = lifeless body-minds. Take in that PRANA and become more mindful about the foods you choose. XOXO! My Potato Project; The Importance of \”Organic\”

I’m a vata craving exercise!

I got this great question from one of my lovely readers and I thought it was important enough to share with all of you. Below is his question and below that is my answer.

I am quite disappointed to finally realize I am a vata. I get sick whenever I train more than 3-4 days a week. What can a vata do if their passion is exercise? Even now at 40 I have re-discovered road cycling and like to get out for 40-60km. I find the runners high addictive and being out in beauty almost meditative. I feel alive out there yet the cold wind whistling by my ears….I can tell it’s not good for my dosha. Seems a little cruel that it is ultimately not good for me? Perhaps I am being immature about it. Any suggestions? Maybe overcompensate when home with nice warm slippers, quiet night etc.?

AH! Thank you so much for your question. It’s a beautiful question because…pittas often crave really spicy foods (not good for them) and kaphas really crave to be mostly sedentary and often cannot kick a sweet tooth to save their lives (both not good for them).

In a nutshell, when our dosha is imbalanced, we crave imbalancing habits. So, vatas will crave more intense exercise if their vata is increased. I don’t know if you can relate, but it feels like constant motion…and the only thing that satisfies that craving of motion is more motion. Do you ever feel like that? That said, there is a balance. You can still do nice cardio exercise, but I would suggest you balance that with yoga a couple times a week. That will help. Also, make sure your food is very grounding, warm and well oiled. I might even suggest trying a week or two of “feet on the ground” exercises (elliptical trainer, stationary bike, power walking, yoga, pilates, weight lifting) instead of having too much “air” under your feet. See if that urge to keep moving calms down.

Overall, an awesome question. I feel like I need to address this on a larger level because you are not the only one to ask this. Don’t be disappointed you are a vata…vatas are wonderful. Please remember to embrace you. Namasté, Monica