Category Archives: Kapha
A little match made in heaven: I received this email from one of my dear readers who was curious about inter-doshic relationships. Just as food, exercise and nature influence the doshas, people do to! Here is a sweet story about how a vata/pitta person and a kapha person form complete unity and balance each other. I’ve highlighted areas in orange italics to demonstrate why compliments attract :)
I’ve (vata/pitta) recently gained a very special friendship with someone who is pretty much kapha (everyone loves a kapha). She’s down-to-earth, happy, easygoing, curvy physique, etc. She’s all girly and about clothes and has perfect hair (kaphas love to look nice and have nice things). I’m older and a smaller person who prefers sportswear—I feel I’ve got my shoes covered because I have one pair brown and one pair black (pittas like comfy clothes and keep it simple so their mind can focus on more important things). So we walk along, rather quickly (vata/pitta making kapha move quickly – great!), and we talk about everything under the sun (talking and listening is therapy – tridoshic).
Her Kapha-like personality and my Vata/Pitta thing has made for a few interesting observations on my part. One day I was hovering in the ether, all anxious and stressed (vata problems) about something that, “wasn’t quite right” in my world. (vatas are the most intuitive) I was walking along, waving my arms, ranting and fussing (vata, vata, vata). She let it all play out and then just said something like, “People just sometimes don’t cooperate. Good thing we have you around to keep us all on track.” (kapha, always keeping the peace and giving an ego boost at the same time) Then gave me a big hug (kaphas give the best hugs), which, of course she is very good at, and I, of course, crave (vata is pacified by physical touch). I have to admit I chuckled to myself later when I recalled that episode (laughter is some amazing medicine – tridoshic).
This is proving to be a very great friendship for us, as she’s offered love and nurturing to me (kapha qualities), and I’ve been able to offer objective, realistic advice (pitta qualities) as well as keep her moving with regular exercise, and listen to stories of her past that she still grudges about (kaphas hold grudges if pushed far enough).
Thank you for sharing with us, dear reader! Sounds like a match made in Ayurvedic Heaven :) Anybody else have an example of someone who balances you? xoxo.
Hey guys! Often when people think of Ayurveda, they associate it with the image below. Seemingly magical remedies that really don’t make logical sense.
Am I right? It might seem mysterious, exotic, pretty unattainable, maybe luxurious or elitist, and even a little weird. Like gross, who would put their head under warm oil while it drips all over their HAIR! Eu! And then how do you get it all out?! ;)
Well, shirodhara (SHEE-ro-DAR-uh) is the name of the therapy where the oil flows onto the forehead from one side to the other, almost in an oval pattern. Unlike all the photos you see, there is actually a person (or should be) moving the oil stream from side to side. Anyway, my point is that while this therapy is truly awesome (if you could feel it’s awesomeness, you would BEG for oil to be dripped all over your hair), it’s a teeny weeny part of Ayurveda! Shirodhara is not accessible to most people, it can be expensive for treatments, and it’s not something you can do daily.
I have good news. Ayurveda is so much more than shirodhara, herbs and other “magical” remedies. 90% of all imbalance can be corrected with diet and lifestyle. Do you know what a magical remedy is? Eating really good food that comes fresh from the earth, not from a lab or a GMOed seed. Another magical remedy is getting enough sleep each night and turning off computers early enough so we can unwind. Sleep does magic for the mind to help it rest as the body restores itself. One of the best magical remedies is getting daily exercise (yes daily, discipline!) even if it’s a 20 minute daily walk. Drinking enough water to keep the body supple and flowing is also another magical remedy. It keeps the mind clear and focused, channels flow easily, and our bodies stay buoyant instead of shriveled. My favorite magical remedy is breathing. It’s so magical and easy that we forget it’s even there ;)
Friends, when you think of Ayurveda and talk about it to your comrades and loved ones, remember that Ayurveda is simple. Ayurveda is life. Ayurveda is nutrients, rest, movement, hydration, and taking in enough oxygen. If you don’t have these things, then don’t bother with the fancy shirodhara therapy, the spas, the herbs, or the massages. Start simple. Start with what you already have within your power. And if you aren’t doing those simple things yet, then start practicing :) That is where you will find your results and where you will live your best life. And once you get the hang of that then run, do not walk, to your nearest Ayurvedic spa for an indulgent shirodhara session :) xoxo!! You can DO it!!!
If you want to practice the real deal (it’s accessible, simple and fun!), you might want to check out my book IN YOUR ELEMENTS. It’s a workbook! And I talk like you! Ain’t no mystery or magic, it’s chock full of real life, easy ways to keep you feeling awesome every day.
I got this awesome question and wanted to share it with all of you. Guys, what is the foundation of Ayurveda? One size does not fit all. Yepper. Here is an example of someone who is trying to lose weight by reducing/eliminating carbs. Rather than feeling uplifted, they feel heavy and dragged down. They are not abnormal or doing anything wrong…they just have a unique make up that doesn’t fit the South Beach diet mold :)
Test shows I’m a Pitta (Pitta/Kapha), but my body feels like Kapha. I have been on a low carb diet (south beach) and my belly size has been reduced, I am not feeling bloated as I normally do. The problem is that my body feels so heavy. My movements feels slow and I lack vital energy. What should I eat to reduce the Kapha feeling? I need lots of sleep and I rarely sweat , I prefer warm climate and all these things matches Kapha. But in my mind I feel like Pitta, being competitive, like to be in control, sharp, direct. So there is a mismatch with what my mind would like to do and what my body wants.
It might be that your agni (digestive fire) is low. Carbs are the easiest thing for the body to digest so too many proteins and raw veggies, etc., requires a very very strong agni in order to digest properly. You might have kapha digestion but are eating like a pitta, which will make you feel heavy. Kapha digestion has a tendency to be slow/weak so my guess is that the foods haven’t been digested all the way and the old food is hanging around inside clogging channels and weighing you down. Try checking your tongue. If it’s got a white coating on it, you have some ama (toxins) and need to rid that first. Once your tongue is pink, you should start feeling lighter and more clear-headed again.
Also, it sounds like you have a kapha body/digestion and a pitta mind/emotions. Totally normal to have a combination like that! Many of us have two dominant doshas. So in your case, you would eat a kapha-balancing diet, keeping foods warm, light and nicely spiced so you are satisfied with less quantity. Kaphas don’t need a lot of carbs, so you are not wrong in your approach. However, favor steamed/warm veggies and light carbs (like rice noodles, basmati rice, quinoa, couscous) as opposed to lots of meat and raw veggies. Remember, vegetarian diet or one with very little meat is considered best for kapha. Having lentils and legumes for proteins is best because they are light and much easier to digest.
Stick with it and keep learning about yourself. You will discover so much along the way and as long as you are receptive and open to tweaking your habits, you will find what works for you! Namasté!!
Feeling down? Maybe ungrounded? Hug a kapha. Yep, just go grab a kapha and hug them. I’m serious! They are instant grounding and comfort :)
In a previous post on exercise for your dosha, I stress how important it is to get up and move our bodies, daily. This could not be truer, especially for our sweet, sweet, kaphas. Remember in Ayurveda, like increases like. So, kapha-type people + kapha season = wetness, heaviness, stickiness, chilliness, cloudiness, and an overall feeling of wanting to stay sedentary.
The cure to release kaphas of these qualities is to use the opposite qualities for balance (dry, light, warm, clear, movement). I often advise to my kapha clients that the number one thing they need to do to feel better is move! Sweat! Walk those legs! Dance that tush! Swing those arms! It’s tough to get a kapha person to move but once they do, they will feel glorious! Their happy-go-lucky selves get their glow back. They will glisten. Moving the body increases heat, improves circulation, releases stagnation, and gives agni (digestive fire) a well needed boost. A good sweat releases excess water, salt, and toxins. And if it’s fun enough, kaphas will want to do it over and over again. So the key is, make your moving fun. Grab a buddy and keep it enjoyable. That said, don’t get so caught up in conversation with your buddy that you end up meandering instead of power walking (I know you).
Below I’ve provided some necessary inspiration. And if it speaks to you, shake that booty and fling your arms like a Solid Gold Dancer (does it look like there are batons flying around in the background?! Ha!). Get movin, kaphas! xoxo.
NEW YEAR just started! Yahoo! Many people choose January 1 as the day to turn over a new leaf and rework their life habits. I don’t think that’s a bad plan. The only bad thing is punishing yourself or quitting all together if you get off kilter. If you made a resolution already, remember to have forgiveness and tenacity. Meaning, don’t beat yourself up for not adhering to perfection (psshhht…who’s perfect afterall) but at the same time, don’t throw your hands up and quit if it’s not easy. There is a fine line. Two steps forward, one step back is still one step forward. Right? Cool.
I put together some DOSHA-lutions that you might like if you are having trouble deciding what to work on. These are suggestions based on your dosha! So, more than a resolution, this is a dosha-lution which is based solely on what will benefit your life and body-mind. The goal is to build upon your dosha-lutions over time so you build yourself new habits and a better way of living healthy! Remember to pick just one thing to work on. Too many things just sets us up for failure, so choose one and give it a go!
Refuse to pay fees at the ATM. Vatas usually fly by the seat of their pants which can have them spending more for last minute conveniences like ATM fees. Refusing to pay fees at ATMs as a dosha-lution will help vatas plan ahead to make sure they have cash in hand and it will help them save money!
Automate your savings. Figure out how much money you need per pay check and set up an automatic transfer to savings, leaving only the amount that you need in your checking. This way, you can spend everything in your checking account (woohoo!) and you’ll never see what you’re saving. One day you will be pleasantly surprised to see how much is in there!
Put yourself second and listen. Vatas can bowl people over with their enthusiasm in sharing what’s happening in their lives. While their energy is usually infectious and positive, they tend to talk way more than they listen which can be a little overwhelming for other doshas. Why not put the focus on someone else first. Before gushing with your stories, ask theirs. Ask how they are and make it a point to listen so intently that you can recite the details the next day (or two) when you talk to them again. They will be flattered and touched that you care so much and your heart will feel awesome that you’ve touched their lives. Bonus for vata too because vatas LOVE to touch lives.
Card stash. Vatas are mega multi-taskers and while their heart is always in the right place, their brain might not be. Birthday cards, anniversaries, baby congrats, shower gifts, wedding cards, thank yous, and other courteous correspondence might fall to the wayside because of their busying and dizzying schedules. Remember, vatas love to touch lives! So, get a stash of cute, blank cards, forever stamps, even keep some birthday cards. When you want to write a note to Granny, you’ll have everything you need without having to run around town like a nutter ;)
Eat 3 square meals. Not 8 tiny ones. I know you.
Leave work on time. Pittas will work and work and work and work and work until their little heads explode and then they get pissy (wouldn’t you if your head exploded?). So why get to that point? If you are supposed to work until 5, leave at 5:00. Stress is the number one killer, people. The work will be there tomorrow and you will still have a job because you ROCK at what you do and people love you. So go home and have a nice night.
Limit talk radio. I know you like to be informed of all things happening everywhere in the world all the time (especially when you can debate about it), but dude, the constant chatter and news will increase stress levels without you knowing it. In at least one direction on your daily commute, opt for the classical or electronica chill station instead.
Volunteer. Pittas can get locked tight in their minds about their personal and professional goals and sometimes they forget there is a world out there that needs assistance. Take a time out once a month and volunteer with something that resonates. Women’s shelters need visitors, animal rescue groups need dog walkers and bathers, psychiatric wards sometimes use therapy dogs (if you have a nice doggie, talk to your local ASPCA and they might be able to hook you up), kids need tutors, or flex those muscles and move some rice bags around at your local food bank. Pittas need to be reminded to live through their HEART to find compassion. Volunteering is a great way to do that. Backbends are good too ;)
Bed by 10. I know you get your second wind after 10pm, but please sleep. Your gray hair and/or receding hairline (pitta traits!) are tell tale signs that you think a LOT. Your brain needs rest and so does your bod. If you got more sleep, you would be more alert and efficient during the day so that you can leave on time (double dosha-lution whammy!!).
Light Dinner. Kaphas digestion is slow so they tend to put on weight easily. Having a light dinner will help keep their bodies and minds light. When dinner is too heavy it sits in our guts all night long, making it tough to wake up. If dinner is smaller and easily digested, you’ll wake up like a spring chicken!
Daily walk. Incorporating a 20 minute brisk walk each day before or after work will make kaphas feel light and happy. Just 20 minutes! If it’s tough, come home and immediately put on your walking pants and shoes – and out the door! Not enough exercise results in a slew of health problems including weight gain, lethargy and depression, especially in kaphas. One of the very best things kaphas can do is to move their bods regularly!
De-clutter. Come on kaphas, you don’t need to keep the lucky socks you had in college. Okay maybe keep those but toss out the four pairs of back up lucky socks you have ;) When kaphas clean and de-clutter they feel instantly light, fresh, and renewed. Choose small, frequent projects and begin to get rid of stuff you don’t use. One project might be a junk drawer. Next project might be under your bathroom sink. Just do one tiny thing a week. If you try to tackle too much, it will take an entire day and you will hate it. If you break it down into small 30 minute bits, you won’t think it’s a pain. Before you know it your dwelling will be sparkley clean and you’ll feel like clickin your heels!
Once a week, do something new. Kahpas love routine and rarely stray from it. In fact, it makes them downright uncomfortable to have to try something new. However, branching out is a great way to infuse light and energy into a stagnant kapha. So once a week, try something new to stay on your toes. Go to a new coffee shop, take a different walking route (double dosha-lutions whammy!!), go do a different Walgreens, taste something new, even stir your tea in the opposite direction. It could be anything! Just make sure you aren’t buying something new because that will lead to more stuff that you are already trying to de-clutter. ;)
If you have any suggestions for specific dosha-lutions, I would love to hear them! There are GOBS of ideas out there and the more we come up with, the juicer life gets! Yeehaw! xoxo.
I am now 58 yrs. old with many, many more life experiences and health challenges than in my 30’s. I have a definite vata dosha now but if I had taken the quiz in my 30’s the results would have been different. Does a person’s dosha change generationally? -Deb
Ahh…”Does my dosha change?” is a great question. A person’s prakruti (natural balance of doshas) never changes. It’s innate from the time of conception. BUT what does change in our life are…seasons, jobs, relationships, food, eating habits, exercise, daily routine, emotions, etc., All these things can alter our doshas and that is where we get imbalanced. So it is safe to say that if you maintain your prakruti throughout life, you do not have any imbalances or health issues. That is perfect health. So in Ayurveda, we need to figure out your prakruti first, to understand where you started and who you are naturally. Then we examine where you are today and in how you’ve shifted from your natural state. THEN we begin to advise food, lifestyle, herbs, treatment, etc., to try and get you back to where you started. So! While your natural doshas stay the same as when you were in your 30s, you have added many more life changes which could sway your doshas from your natural state. Also, after menopause, we all enter vata stage of life, which is where you are now. So you will feel much more vata-like than you may have when you were younger. Does that help?
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.
Okay for those of you who think kaphas “can’t eat anything,” that’s just not true. Kaphas have a very large variety of foods and spices that they can enjoy and all of it is mighty tasty! It does take a little creativity (no grabbing for a bagel with cream cheese, guzzling a frappochino or fast food), but hey, isn’t life more fun with creativity anyway?!
So, all day I’ve been thinking about all the lovely things kaphas can eat and while I am a terrible recipe person (I like to concoct and don’t always know how I end up with the final product), I do have a ton of ideas and ingredients you can pull from to make some awesome dishes. There are a couple websites, The Joyful Belly and 101 Cookbooks where you can find some nice kapha-balancing recipes too. 101 Cookbooks is not Ayurvedic necessarily, but she IS health conscious and a great user of tasty spices (kaphas have to be leery of salt) and vegetables. ALSO! Try The Kind Diet, book by Alicia Silverstone. She is vegan but don’t let that scare you – she’s got great recipes that might help shift your idea of what “good” food is :)
Maybe these resources will help my kapha friends become more creative. AND above I’ve included my brain dump of kapha-balancing foods and ingredients. BE CREATIVE! See what you can create! If you create a brill recipe, send it my way and I’ll post for others. I love you kaphas!! You’re super!!
Okay peeps. Kapha season is not that hard, it’s just different. THIS might help you. Think of a kapha diet as Asian cuisine. Spicy soups, rice/soba/udon noodles, lots of veggies, edamame, spicy, warm, brothy sauces, ginger+garlic. Seek out Asian-inspired recipes, just be mindful of the salt content. Does that help!?
‘Elo! So, understanding this dosha balancing thang can be a little confusing. I get lots of emails and questions that my readers have about their own unique balance. Sometimes I even get vatas saying, “I wish I was a kapha!” Doesn’t everyone? ;) Just kidding. Oh come on now, kaphas have their problems just like every other dosha, but sometimes we do wish we could become something we are not. Maybe we wish we were more organized like pitta. Or maybe we wish we had more creativity like vata. And of course, we all wish for more peace of mind and compassion like a kapha.
Friends I have some news…YOU are always going to be YOU. You cannot become a different dosha if it’s not in your nature. I’ll break it down for you. Quite simply the doshas can be represented by animals :)
Back to my point, none of these animals are wishing they were something else. They all embrace who they are and live by focusing on their strengths and positive qualities rather than their weaknesses. So remember that. While you are discovering who you are, embrace the way you are unique. XOXO.
Kaphas like to shop the sales. And they tend to buy multiples of the same thing because once they find something they like, they stick to it. Now as I unpack the Christmas box, I find 11 stockings (eleven!) and 6 are the same. I’ve been told there was a nice sale last year.
I get this question all the time, “I’m two doshas! How do I know which one to follow?”
(If you’re like, “Wait! What’s a dosha?” – Here is some help)
First, don’t panic! It’s aalll good. Many of us are more than one dosha and sometimes we are two doshas in equal parts. I’ll use myself as an example. I am an equal split of pitta/vata. I have a vata mind; creative, scattered, multi-tasking, inventive. I have a pitta body; medium build, straight slightly oily hair, sharp tongue. I have vata digestion: bloatey, tending toward constipation. I have the typical pitta “I want it my way” desire for control. They play together to make me who I am. Because I know a lot about the doshas, I can pick out where they live in my body and balance them that way. For example because of my weak/variable digestion, I know that I have to follow mainly vata guidelines for food.
So what does one do when they are a combo of both doshas but the tools that balance them are sorta opposites? There are a few things you can do, but first you REALLY understand what each dosha needs to stay balanced.
In a tiny nutshell
vatas need: grounding, moisture/oil, heaviness, heat, and stability
pittas need: soothing, cooling, a bit more dryness, sweetness, and serenity
kaphas need: movement, heat, dryness, invigoration, and spices
Great so what do you do when you are a pitta/vata and one is telling you to stay warm and the other is telling you to stay cool? Or what to do when you are a kapha/pitta and you are supposed to eat hot spices to jumpstart digestion, but hot spices aggravate pitta? THIS is where Ayurveda gets a little complicated and becomes a WHOLE science. This is where the combination of YOU comes in (and probably a good practitioner ;).
There are several ways to manage two doshas but for you to keep it simple, stay in balance with the seasons. Please see the seasonal chart for a happy visual aid. Seasons are the larger nature and we are smaller, so we are governed by them. If you are a pitta/kapha and it is summer, monitor and balance your pitta by having cooling, astringent foods like veggies. Don’t exercise in the hot sun or drink too much booze (heating). But also, mind your kapha by not having “sugars” as your sweet foods (kapha increasing), rather choose fresh fruits to balance both doshas.
I hope I am not making your head spin. Really it will all make sense once you start to know yourself. I know that salads (vata increasing) make be bloatey (vata problem) during fall and winter (vata season). I also know that I might get heartburn (pitta problem) during summer (pitta season) if I have a glass of red wine with spicy food (both pitta increasing).
So my suggestion is, read up about vata, pitta and kapha. If you have questions, ask them and I will do my best to answer. Once you know the three, you will begin to see where each one shows up in your body-mind and you can make food, exercise and lifestyle decisions accordingly. It will take time as your discoveries unravel, so don’t be anxious, just start to notice your patterns. You will begin to notice how certain foods affect you and maybe how stress affects you at different times.
Take this as the start of getting to know yourself. Hooray for two doshas! It’s fun to watch them play together and flip each other over as the seasons go by. Use this new knowledge to your advantage so you can keep yourself healthy. xo!
I’ve been sitting here all night trying to come up with a brilliant Ayurvedic…something, to write about. I’ve gone through old notes and looked through my books, only to get distracted. And then I think, “Shoot! I have to write something on my blog for tonight!” And I’ve spent an hour and a half in my little “writer’s block” struggle rather than grabbing a good book and reading just to relax.
So. What if I stop struggling? Ah! Lovely. Suddenly I find I have something to write about :)
When we can’t get ahead or achieve the results we are looking for, maybe it’s time to just surrender. Sometimes I forget about that lovely tool, surrender, because it’s just so easy. When there is no relaxation, there is no rest. Yet the only time we get stronger is by resting! So often we push and push and push only to find ourselves exhausted and going in circles. Only once we stop can something else come in and change our perspective to help solve our problem. So before I hit the sack, I’ll leave you with this:
Relax! There is more strength in surrender than there is in forging ahead.
HeyMonicaB.com turns two today! How fun. Any guesses on what the first post was about (no cheating by going to the archives)?
Come on guess!!
OK I’ll tell you.
It was GHEE!
haha! I think there are even non-working links on that page. What a rookie. All I wanted to do two years ago is tell people how fabulous ghee was. And look! Things have expanded and hopefully you are learning lots while being mildly entertained.
SO! That brings me to a question. What do YOU want out of the next two years (and beyond…!) from heymonicab.com? Advice column where you can ask questions? Product advice? Seasonal health guides? Tell me! I have some things in the works all ready but I want to hear from you. Afterall, Ayurveda is ALL ABOUT YOU anyway, so bring on your wishes! Let’s incorporate them. Let’s make this thang even better.
THANK YOU for your support and great questions. This is just the beginning, my sweet friends. I hope you continue to enjoy and share Ayurveda with your friends and family. First we heal ourselves, then we heal our loved ones, and then we can heal the masses…that’s MY goal anyway ;)
To start it out with a bang, I’ve created some summer pitta artwork on little cafe press store: www.cafepress.com/heymonicab
There are two designs to choose from and a bunch of products (I think they’re kinda fun). I will create more artwork for other doshas as the seasons change. I hope you likey!! Enjoy my friends and thank you from the bottom of my heart. Here’s to TWO! *clink* (that was a cup of chai btw). Namasté sweet ones.
Woohoo! An Ayurvedic posting on coffee! Yesssss. Who knew such a happy thing existed?! When advising my clients, I don’t usually make them rid their coffee. Why? Because depending on the person’s dosha, coffee might not be that terrible of a thing for them.
Authentic Ayurveda says that we should not have coffee, not because of the coffee but because of the caffeine. Caffeine constricts flow, it makes you pee (diuretic to be fancy), it can make you manic/anxious, and it’s addicting. Yes, we all know that. And there is a Starbucks on every corner! THIS is why I write a little post about coffee. I know you. I know you’re going to have your coffee regardless of what myself or Ayurveda say. So! I’ll work with ya a little bit and give you the best coffee -making combinations for each dosha, to keep you balanced and happy.
Coffee’s Ayurvedic Qualities
Coffee has a bitter (cold, dry, & light qualities) taste, which is imbalancing for vata, but balancing for pitta and kapha. The bitter taste is a blood purifier (blood ruled by pitta), detoxifies the body, liver tonic (liver ruled by pitta), depletes tissues (kaphas tend to have excess tissues), especially reproductive tissues. In simple terms, bitter increases vata because it will increase the cold, dry & light qualities. Vatas need to stay warm, unctuous, and heavy, so too much coffee will be their worst enemy. The manic, scattered, jittery folks that drink coffee are most likely high vata. On the flip side coffee will cool pitta, while it dries and uplifts kapha! See the beauty of how this works?
Customize Your Cup O’ Joe!
VATA COFFEE: Vatas need lots of warm milk in your coffee to balance the bitter qualities. Start with at least 1/2 mug of warm milk and add brown sugar, stir, then add the coffee. If the coffee is strong, add warm water (use the office water cooler/heater!) to your milk and then a splash of coffee. Coffee should amount to no more than 1/2 mug. This way you get a taste of the coffee, but overall this is a nourishing, calming drink for vata without sending anxieties through the roof. As a MEGA-BONUS, vatas can add ghee to their coffee. Their coffee should always be hot.
PITTA COFFEE: Pittas can also make vata coffee because pittas will benefit from the sweet taste from milk and sugar. Pittas can handle a slightly darker coffee with a little less milk. They won’t get as anxious as vata with stronger coffee because pittas are more sturdy. Pittas are sort of in the middle. The people who are angry or crabby before their morning coffee are likely pitta people, because they need the bitter taste in coffee to “cool” them down. Pittas can also have an iced coffee during summer. Also…as a MEGA-BONUS, pittas can add ghee to their coffee too!
KAPHA COFFEE (how fun is that to say): Kaphas will actually feel uplifted from drinking coffee, rather than manic like vata. Kaphas need a little kick in the pants because they don’t like to move. They can enjoy a stronger coffee, but it should be pretty dark with less milk. Milk and sugar are NOT friends for kapha. The heaviness and sweet taste will have them craving sweets all day long. If kaphas need a sweetner, they can use honey (drying, scraping, heating)! Mind you, kaphas would love to tip the sugar shaker and hold for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5+ seconds until their drink tastes like candy. But if kaphas use the bitter taste in coffee to their advantage, they can get the energy they need without the sugar crash.
Pinch of cardamom – reduces the effects of caffeine, warming, digestive. Good for vata & kapha
Cinnamon – super spice! Tri-doshic (heating, no for pitta in summer)
Brown Sugar – saweeeeet. Good for vata & pitta
Honey – sweet, but qualities are drying, heating, and scraping. Good for kapha.
Nutmeg – aphrodisiac, heating. Good for vata & kapha
Hey! For those of you practicing or those who have been wanting to try yoga, I found this great list of 40 ways yoga heals! I got it from a super yummy book, Yoga As Medicine by Timothy McCall, MD.
Yoga and Ayurveda are ancient sisters and they work hand in hand. To put it simply, yoga is the practice that gets our minds ready for meditation. You might say, “But hey, yoga is physical, not really mental.” Well, in a nutshell (a very tiny nutshell) the physical poses in yoga work to calm the mind, so the spirit can open.
And, Ayurveda is the lifestyle that compliments yoga practice. Vice versa one could say that yoga practice completes an Ayurvedic lifestyle. Ideally in life, you would do both of them together because they sort of rely on each other. Ayurveda will encompass diet, lifestyle management, cleansing (panchakarma) therapies, herbal recommendations, pranayama (breathing techniques), and massage therapies. Yoga is the asanas (poses) that touch on the subtle channels of the body, to promote flow and help the mind calm down. Hopefully this wee nugget of info can help you understand the difference between these two lovely sisters.
Hey! One of you inquired about a kapha balancing spice mix to help clear excess kapha. Indeed I have one!
For those of you who want more information, here is a thorough article from Maharishi Ayurveda with their perspective. Note: remember in Ayurveda we do not treat “cholesterol” because a) it’s a medical term and that’s a no-no b) we treat the person, not the disease c) Ayurveda looks at the whole diet and lifestyle. I can help with b) and c).
If you want the short version, here is my summary of the article: Basically cholesterol (which Monica B did not say) is a kapha imbalance. Remembering that kapha is lubrication and structure (it sticks and holds things together), in the case of cholesterol, kapha has created an increased “collection.”
This “collection” reflects too much meda dhatu (fat tissue), which is also caused by a kapha increase. Why does kapha increase in the first place? Could be several reasons (mental, emotional, stress factors), but the main reason is likely low agni (digestive fire). Malfunctioning agni is responsible for 90% of all disease, which means if we don’t digest our food properly, we’ll eventually get some kind of imbalance. The key is to digest, assimilate, and eliminate foods properly (golden rule!) and you won’t get sick.
It’s also important to follow a kapha balancing diet and lifestyle if you have high cholesterol. Split lentils, mung dahl, garbanzo beans (hummus!) are good. All veggies are a big YES! Greens like kale, spinach, collard greens. All would be great sauteéd in a little ghee and add the spice mix below. Fruits like apples, pears, prunes and figs are also helpful for cholesterol because they help clean the bowels. Proper pooping is very important because it is directly connected to healthy agni. So pay attention :)
Avoid salts, cheeses, red meats, heavy breads, potatoes, goopy oil foods, fried foods, and yogurt. And as always, the fresher the food, the better.
Also, don’t forget about exercise! Kaphas don’t like to move much, but it’s exactly what they need. They need to get their sweat on at least 20-30 minutes daily. For kaphas who are lazy, try kapalbhati pranayam :)
Below is a recipe of spices that all have kapha reducing qualities. Together they will heat, dry and move excess kapha out. Sprinkle on toast in the morning. You can sauteé with cooked veggies and stir frys or sprinkle on rice or pasta (rice and pastas should be the smallest portion on the plate for kapha, veggies should be more).
Kapha Balancing Spice Mix
You can make a nice sized batch and keep in a lidded jar. Sprinkle on foods like rice, barley soup, veggies, savory toast or english muffin. Use to also sauteé vegetables or make an “Indian-ey” fried rice. Share with loved ones!!
3 parts ground turmeric
6 parts ground cumin
6 parts ground coriander
6 parts ground fennel
2 parts ground fenugreek
1 part dried powdered ginger
1 part ground black pepper
Ok folks, vata has left the building and it’s time to make way for the graceful entry of kapha season, spring! March 21st officially marks the start of spring when nature starts to wake up and become alive again. If we live in a climate with harsh winter we might feel REALLY refreshed when the snow melts and we see tulips or crocus poking out of the ground. Our first glimpse of grass might feel like heaven (I used to live in Wisconsin and I know their winter pain :). Rain nourishes all that was sleeping all winter. And after the rain is the sweet reward of buds on trees, flower beds, and the fresh smell of cut grass. And if you notice…peoples’ moods start to improve. Right!? Don’t forget that the weather makes a huge difference on us because weather (nature) governs our beings.
Kapha is the energy of lubrication and structure which nourishes our bodies just as it does in nature. Contrary to vata energy that is dry, light, cold, mobile and rough, the nature of kapha is wet, heavy, cold, static and smooth. It is a heavy energy responsible for creation and renewal. Unfortunately kapha season also brings spring colds, allergies, asthma, to certain people. If these things affect you, that’s a good clue that you have some kapha in you. The heavy, wet, sticky energy of kapha will grab onto particles in the air and “hold” them, which might cause excess mucus in the chest or nasal passages.
Here are some tips to stay healthy and balanced in spring, especially if you are a kapha person. If you’re not sure, take the dosha quiz!
Like increases like. To stay balanced in spring, we want to incorporate all things opposite of the wet, heavy, cold, static and smooth qualities of kapha. Eating foods that are dry, light, warm/spicy, liquid and fiberous will help kapha move so that it doesn’t get stuck in places! Ginger is great
Lighten up. Since kapha energy is heavy, this is a great time for lightening our load. Choose lighter foods, incorporate daily exercise (to keep bodies light), or donate clothes we no longer wear. Keeping light is key for kapha.
Clean it out. It’s not weird at all that we feel AWESOME when we’ve done some spring cleaning. It’s because nature wants us to! And that’s not just for the house either. Consider doing a spring cleanse for your bod as it will remove toxins due to sluggish winter digestion. Fasting is a form of cleansing and kapha types should fast by skipping dinner one night a week. Their metabolism tends to be sluggish and fasting will help their digestion catch up!
Neti Pot. The neti pot is the magic cure for all kapha allergies and sinus problems. I swear it works and have had numerous clients sing it’s praises. If you are snotted up or have pollen floating around in there, rinse it out! ;)
Light and Small Food. Because kapha is naturally heavy, it easily gets weighed down. Having small meals will be key. Really pay attention to your hunger so as no to overeat. Overeating is the quickest way to imbalance kapha.
No Yogurt. Yogurt has identical qualities to kapha and it’s a channel clogger which can make allergies, colds, asthma much worse.
Aromatherapy. Bergamot, citrus, lavender, basil.
So the basic rules are, if you are a kapha-type person stay light, dry, and warm. And keep moving! Enjoy the graceful, peaceful and refreshing entry into spring!!