I am a Kapha/Vata, I have been experiencing depression for a long time, I have read a book about Depression and Ayurveda, this books explains that my Depression is a Vata (a lot of anxiety) Type depression. I also have a fair bit of weight to lose, I’m not sure what to do, should I follow diet for Kapha or Vata, I’m soooo confused! – Rebecca from Australia
This is a great question Rebecca and thanks for bringing it up. What to do when you have two doshas that are out of balance? How do we know which one to balance first? Well, remember that it all goes hand in hand. So if we balance vata depression, chances are we’ll feel better and will want to get moving to relieve some of the kapha. And, if we relieve the kapha heaviness, we will feel better and the depression will start to lift. Does that make sense? They go together, so if you treat one, you will be affecting the other as well. So since it encompasses more than just diet, I’ll expand on your question a little bit.
Let’s get into specifics. If you have vata type depression you will want to work on several things specifically for vata.
Some things to help relieve vata depression are:
• Incorporate a consistent routine/schedule. Anxiety tends to happen when we have no plan. Once we have a plan, it provides a sense of security and reliability so that our brains don’t have to reinvent the plan each day.
• Breathe. So hum so hum so hum, a lot!! Daily! Nightly! This is a beautiful reminder that we are all we need! We have everything within us to feel peaceful and harmonious. It’s a good reminder to let everything on the outside melt away for a bit. And physically the nose is the quickest passage to the mind so when we breathe easy through the nose, the mind feels easy too.
• Eat clean. Keep your diet free from meats (we carry the energy of the animal, however it was treated), alcohol, refined sugars (big jolt, then crash & burn) like candy, soda, and sugar drinks. These foods carry no prana and are highly processed. Eat foods that arrive close to the source.
• Exercise. Yoga and walking are best. Yoga for sure because it touches on the subtleties of the body and stimulates marma points to open channels and promote flow. Walking will get you outside in nature and will bring in nice prana (and a little sweat!).
• Nature. Get outside and enjoy some nature. Even if you are blue, going outside will give you a nice lift.
• Herbs. Some herbs will help but talk to your Ayurvedic practitioner first :)
• Kindness. The best thing you can do is be kind to yourself. Treat yourself like a child and be extra nurturing and nice. No judging, no “shoulds”, no bad talk about yourself.
• Gratitude. Make a list each morning of what you are grateful for. It could be small things, like having a great hair day. Or it could be big things like having a loving family. Seek out the positives and highlight them so they become more of your focus than the negative things.
• Keep Good Company. Don’t hang around with people who make you feel like crud! Consider releasing bad relationships. You deserve to be surrounded by people who love and support you, and no less!
Obviously the treatment is going to depend on the person and the root cause of the depression, but incorporating some of these will definitely help lift the cloud! That said, even a kapha type person (or pitta for that matter) can follow these guidelines! Definitely kaphas should be exercising every day. Yoga and walking are perfect for kaphas (and pittas!) too.
Ok so let’s talk diet. The common link kaphas and vatas have is they both need warmth and digestive spices. Choosing warm foods like soups, stews, cooked and spicy vegetables, baked apples or pears, will be great for kapha and vata. Keep a regular schedule with meals at set times (3 meals for vata), but if you are not hungry for dinner, then skip it (this balances kapha). Both vatas and kaphas have low agni, so they should have foods with nice spices digestive spices like garlic, ginger, black pepper, cumin, ajwan (caraway), and cinnamon. If you have kapha weight gain, be mindful of oils we suggest for vatas. You will not need as many oils because it could make you feel heavier. If you get your digestion jump started, your agni will grow, therefore lifting kapha and clearing channels for your vata’s positive qualities to shine through :)
Important!!! I highly recommend a kitchari cleanse for 3-5 days for depression. It’s a mono diet of the finest stuff and it’s easy to digest. It clears the body and mind of toxins and will leave both vata AND kapha feeling lighter and more clear. It works pretty fast and in just three days, you should start to feel much better.
Hopefully this helps, Rebecca!! Thank you so much for your question. It’s easy to think that kapha and vata are opposites and in a lot of ways they are. But remember that it all goes hand in hand. Once you place one piece of the puzzle, the rest gets easier and easier :) Namasté.