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Gems Of Ayurveda: Everyone Isn’t The Same

Everyone Isn’t The Same

Ever get sick of ‘blanket advice?’ Sick of that commercial which is certain that the one point they are making is THE ANSWER to your health problems? One of the fundamental tenants of Ayurveda is a concept that allows for an individual body type. All of us have had the experience where we find sage advice to be horrible for us. Maybe that sage advice is good advice, just not for your body type.

The idea that you are not the same as everyone else makes finding healthy options a bit more complex. But the results, once you learn some basics about what your body type is, are much more reliable. The pearl of wisdom we are looking at today says, “Hey, I am unique. I respond to the world in my own way. I need unique advice about my health.” Pretty decent idea, wouldn’t you say?

What Are Body Types

Understanding body types isn’t all that hard. Basically, there are three primary types. There is a windy type, a fiery type, and a muddy type. These elemental types are metaphors that describe how we react in fundamental ways at all three levels of our being; body, emotion, and mind. The key is to understand that each of us is some combination of these three body types. Each body type has its own set of balancing and healing therapies. For instance, we have all heard advice about putting ice or heat on sore muscles. What’s up with that? They are complete opposites. Why would both completely opposite therapies be good? The concept of body types gives us some insight as to why the advice of both hot and cold packs can be the right advice. Both windy and muddy body types are more often cold and would like heat for balancing while fiery types are already inflamed and cold packs are more balancing to them in general. We just need to find out what your body type is to see how your unique nature needs to be balanced.

 

An Example of How It Works

We will use the example of music, which is not commonly thought of as medicine. Because, once you understand how the types work, you can turn everything in your life into something that balances you or unbalances you.

EXAMPLE:

You are tired and out of sorts from a long week of work. As you sit in your car to head home you go to turn on the radio:

Windy people love motion. They crave and live on the stimulation of new things and bouncy active events. However, that Pop 40 Station, filled with excitement, fast tones and your favorite jams that make you want to sing along and dance is depleting to you. Windy people often are imbalanced because they have spent all their energy. Now is not the time to get your groove on and burn the remainder of your vitality away. Silence would be the best answer, but maybe a channel without so much excitement would be best at the moment. Try some classical or something smooth and slow to help you wind down.

Fiery people are intense. They love lists, order, and can see what needs to be done. This ‘burning through’ decisiveness leads to a Friday drive home that probably has you tense and focused. Very often anger and control emotions are popping up because of all the obstacles keeping you from getting your list finished. The goal of balancing you now is to cool your fire from a raging inferno to a warming glow. Silence is too much of a change for you, so music that isn’t angry or intense is best. No feisty and rough lyrics for you today. How about turning off the rap and adding some country? Maybe some classics from the 50’s and 60’s instead of that 80’s rock. Even your Christian station may not be best today. It is filled with themes that inspire intense feelings within you. Now is not the time to light your fires, but to cool them.

Muddy people are steady. They endure and have consistency. Very likely they are not overburdened by the work week and are ready to roll. These people are typically in a rut and when unbalanced. That rut tends to lead them to complacency and sluggishness. So crank up the tunes. It’s time for the weekend! Muddy personalities can use a good shake up and shake down to get them moving and throw off their sluggishness. Activity and exuberance are what they need. So find your favorite jam and be that crazy person singing out loud and grooving to the beat. If your car isn’t bouncing at the stop lights, then you aren’t dancing hard enough!

To Learn More

Ayurveda takes a little bit of effort to learn. Mostly because our minds are not used to thinking in metaphors, but also because we need to learn how activities can be adjusted to make them less wind, fire, or mud unbalancing. That’s a good deal of detail. Basically, it’s a new way of thinking about our lives and how we do things. We can get very serious about it, and change a lot of things in our lifestyle, or we can take our time and focus on adjusting one activity at a time. As we grow in our knowledge, we make more and more small adjustments to our lifestyle that add up to keep us on track and balanced in a big way.

Back To Bliss offers an introductory Ayurveda class to get you started and often teaches classes on holistic health that utilize Ayurvedic wisdom.  Check our class schedule to see what’s coming up soon!

Balancing Against Extreme Cold

We have arrived at the top of the mountain.  And by mountain I mean crazy extreme cold weather.  This will, hopefuly, be the most extreme cold weather all year.  It is important to understand the implications that this peak weather has for our health.  The good news is that there is plenty we can do to minimize the stress that it puts us under.

According to ancient wisdom there are 10 pairs of opposing qualitys in our physical world.  The opposites of temperature, hot and cold, are the strongest to affect us.  Other qualities come with the extreme cold that we have been feeling, and bringing in their opposites can be greatly beneficial.  To help explain, think of what it would be like to stand on the top of a mountain.  Wild wind would be whipping across the landscape in gusts and swirls.  You could feel the cold and dry wind attempting to freeze, crack, and ravage your skin.  When we pay attention to the qualities of our winter weather, we find it to be full of dryness, roughness, mobility, lightness, sharpness, and coldness.  Those qualities are affecting us all.

To stay in balance, we want to be very conscious about bringing  the opposite qualities of those listed above into our lives.  An example would be dryness.  The more extreme the dryness outside, the more extreme we need to get in our efforts to drink more water and apply moisturizers to our skin and chapstick to our lips.  Pretty simple.  And so, we balance against the mobile wind with regularity and consistency in our daily schedule.  We balance against the rough, sharp and dry qualities of the air outside with things that are soft, smooth, and liquid.  We add warming activities and foods into our diet to combat the cold.   All of these practices have at their core the goal of minimizing the stresses that our environment is putting on us.

Remember: Stress can be defined as any change to homeostasis.  Think about the difference between our core body temp at 98.6 degrees and the current temperature outside?  The larger the difference, the larger the stress.  The same goes for all the above named qualities.

Practices:

Eat more soups.  Soup is hot, heavy, wet, and smooth.  Basically, you can’t do much better at finding a food with qualities so opposite of our weather.

Winter is also the time to add more acidic foods to your diet.  Acids are considered to be heating, and foods like nuts, beans, and meats all have warming qualities to them that are more appropriate in winter than in summer.

Moderate and regular exercise.  The key to this one is that regular exercise warms you, but extreme exercise stresses us.  So be consistent and be nice to yourself with 20 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a day to heat you up.   Also, exercise brings blood to the muscles and skin.  This helps the skin stay moist and healthy.

Stay home and read a book.  The more extreme the weather, the more extreme the stress.  So rest.  Turn off the stimulants and the motion in your life.  Curl up in a warm cave of blankets and hibernate a bit.