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Ayurveda, a Sanskrit word, combines the words Ayu for Life and Veda for science. It is the sister science of Yoga. Ancient practitioners designed this wisdom practice to offer precise and individualized support to care for your physical body. Ayurveda begins with the principle that we are a microcosm of the macrocosm. Our entire bodies comprise of the five elements – ether, air, water, fire, and earth. These elements represent in all things in the natural and human-made world. For example, imagine you are holding a glass of water. The glass begins as the sand, which is earth. Fire turns it into the glass. The water in it is, well, water. And notice how much air is a part of the whole. To break it down further, this is a typical way that the elements show up in the bodily form: Ether – hearing, intuiting, space Air – touch, breath, movement, life Water – taste, protection, nourishment, blood, plasma Fire – light, warmth, metabolism, vision Earth– scent, structure, muscles, bones One primary Ayurvedic principle is that each of the five elements is present in everything. The seasons, the times of day, the phases of life, and our physical and psycho-emotional bodies tend to be grounded in this principle. The five elements come together in different “imbalances” to create the 3 Doshas, Vata, Pitta, Kapha. Vata contains both air and ether. It is very much like the late fall and winter – cold, windy, dry, and quick. Vata is also the season of old age. The time of day where Vata is most prevalent is 2-6 (am and pm). We will talk more about Vata dosha as we are now in winter, and knowing how to keep Vata in balance is especially helpful. But first, let’s continue to explore the rest of the doshas. Pitta is comprised of fire and water. This combination makes it hot, oily, light, sharp, penetrating. It associated with summer and young adulthood. Pitta time of day is 10-2 (am and pm). Kapha is made up of water and earth. It is cold, moist, heavy, and dense. Kapha season is spring and early fall and is most present in childhood. The time of day associated with this dosha is 6-10 (am and pm). Vata Dosha¬† As we are in the heart of winter in the northeast, you may notice an abundance of air and ether and the qualities of Vata dosha all around. People whose constitution is predominately Vata may move and act more quickly than other doshic types as well as tire more easily. They are creative, and their appetite, digestion, and elimination may fluctuate. If you notice you are experiencing feeling cold, dry skin, worry, insomnia, restlessness, or difficulty focusing, you may want to pacify Vata dosha. 10 Ayurvedic Tips for Winter:
  1. establish a supportive daily routine. Wake and sleep at the same times every day, ensure you eat regular meals, and stick to a schedule of rest and play
  2. meditate on a word or a sound to focus and calm the mind
  3. eat warm, dense, moist foods such as stew or porridge
  4. sip warm water throughout the day
  5. enjoy warming spices such as cinnamon, clove,
  6. add bitter and astringent tastes to your diet
  7. eat high-quality fats
  8. perform daily abhyanga or warm oil massage with organic sesame oil
  9. enjoy going to bed early, ideally by 10 pm
  10. remember, Vata needs stability, warmth, and regularity to be balanced. Incorporate these qulaities throughout your life as much as possible.
Enjoy these simple, pleasurable self-care practices that help you remain balanced and serene during this chilly season. Let me know how it goes. xo, Jeanette