When I was first introduced to the art & science of Ayurveda, it was foreshadowed by my preliminary knowledge of panchakarma (which recommends methods of elimination that I had found unnerving given all my schooling of Western medicine), aromatic and pungent spices, and recipes that I almost always mispronounced (kitchari rhymes with stitchery, I’ve since learned!).
In time, it became evident that Ayurveda was the medical science that I craved in my search for holistic and integrated health care delivery, as it has proven to focus health and wellness on the whole, utilizing the five senses.
The Five Elements manifest in the body in the form of energy within the five sense organs, namely Space (ear) , Air (skin), Fire (eyes), Water (tongue), and Earth (nose).
Ayurveda draws from tridoshic theory, that there are 3 primary body constitutions, or prakriti,and combinations therein. Vata symbolizes that which moves, ruled by the elements of ether, air
and wind. Pitta is the metabolic force of change, cradling earth and water, while Kapha holds true with steadfast weight in earth and water. While an individual has a primary prakriti which carries forward inclinations in body, mind and spirit, imbalances may manifest during seasonal change, or during times of stress.
The brilliance of Ayurveda presents with the opportunity for a person to identify these traits, and therefore a daily or seasonal plan of care that involves nurturing all five senses for optional
wellness. I have always felt largely attuned to the four seasons, being a Michigan native, and a Connecticut transplant, and have accepted the fact that I would not do without the seasonal variations.
During the Winter, vata is highly prevalent, as winter is blustery and dry. (Cracked skin, anyone? Fidgety in body? Fluttery in thought? Constipated like mad? Thirsty as all get out?!)
In order to reign in our wind- blown souls we have many tools that nourish from inside out:
Massaging the body with warmed sesame or coconut oil, with a few drops of essential oils for further grounding (try woody amber, green vetiver or frankincense) not only warms the body, but increases circulation and provides some well-deserved self love and connectedness. Enjoy warm meals and beverages with warming spices like cinnamon, black pepper, and ginger, as well use ghee (clarified butter) in dishes like roasted yams and carrots to further lubricate your joints, as well as to keep the gut smooth and happy.Take time for meditation, and let your self be lulled into peaceful presence with the sound of your breath, a mantra or a recording of soothing melodies or vibrations.
Lastly, give your sweet eyes a rest. My favorite part of the morning is splashing cold water on my face and holding my hands there for a moment or two, taking some breaths in preparation for the busy day ahead. Throughout the day remember to take frequent breaks away from reading materials and electronic devices. As an extra midday treat, vigorously run the hands together to generate warmth, and then rest the palms on your eyes for a quick pick me up and hug.
There is wisdom in the senses that communicate our deepest needs, if we are keen to listen. I invite you to reconnect with yourself in this manner to become deeply attuned to your inner intelligence and divine gift of body, mind and beloved spirit.