Right understanding of self and right understanding of environment can help us live a healthy balanced harmonious life. In fact, according to ayurvedic philosophy, recognizing our true nature as our spirit is the first step toward living a healthy balanced life! When we see ourselves through our innate spirit, we can let go of all the every day dramas that surround us and live our lives according to our true nature. You may be asking yourself, “so really, what is my true nature?”
True nature is your self without all of the material, emotional and physical disturbances of the world around you. In simpler terms, it is that state of complete calm that washes over you during a really present yoga practice and or meditation practice. The time you were practicing pranayama and you were saturated in your soul, immersed in your inner landscape.
During the change in seasons, it is especially hard to find this balance of holding true to yourself and not be challenged by all the transitions surrounding you. This year in particular! We are in the middle of winter and buds are sprouting from the earth, the jasmines are beginning to bloom and the temperature around us is unseasonably warm. On the one hand, it’s lovely to feel the surprise of an early spring, on the other, not so much. Here is a little ayurveda background information: While ayurveda sees living your life according to your true nature as a way of preventing disease, ayurveda also presents 3 main physical, emotional and behavioral constitutions (dosha’s) including vata, pitta and kapha. These dosha’s are a mirror of our true nature, our imbalanced nature and the surrounding environment. For example, Vata is made up of the elements of air and space. People with this constitution take on the qualities of dry, light, cold, rough, mobile and subtle. Interestingly enough, these are fall and winter qualities too. Kapha is composed of the elements earth and water. People of Kapha nature also present with earth and water and take on the attributes of heavy, slow, cool, oily, thick, smooth, stable and cloudy. The Kapha season is spring. Pitta shows as fire and water. People with pitta constitution present with fire and water and take on the qualities of oily, sharp, penetrating, hot, liquid, and spreading. Summer is pitta season.
Now that we have the background information, lets get back to the change in season and how it affects us physically, emotionally and behaviorally. We now know that winter is vata season and takes on the qualities of cold, dry, light, mobile, rough and subtle. When there is a quick transition to spring or kapha season, we see the opposite qualities including oily, heavy, slow, smooth, stable, sticky, thick and cool. These qualities are not only surrounding us, they begin to manifest inside us. In simpler terms, the soft, thick, sticky mud we feel under our feet, translates to excess water, mucus, and congestion in our body. What use to be cold, dry, light and windy days outside, has become, warmer, more stable, slower and heavier in nature. Our minds will also take on these characteristics. Hence, it is common during change of seasons for us not to be completely on our game. We may experience heaviness, fatigue and lethargy in both our minds and our bodies.
Luckily, Ayurveda gives us tools to glide through these transitions feeling happy, healthy and prepared to embrace each new season. Here are a few suggestions for moving into Spring:
- Start your day with a cleansing warm glass of water with a few slices of fresh ginger
- Move toward a lighter, more cleansing diet, green smoothies, berries, legumes and salads are perfect this time of year
- Gravitate toward more vigorous, flowing yoga practice
- Twists, heart openers, warriors are all excellent poses to stimulate Kapha
- Incorporate ujjayi pranayama into your daily yoga practice
- Try adding 5 to 10 minutes of Kapalabhati breathing into your morning routine
Embodying just these few changes should make a considerable difference in how you feel physically, emotionally and behaviorally during this seasonal transition. In addition, remember to invite your spirit to be your true nature. As you move through this time of change, try not to get ruffled by all the material, consuming drama that will try and disturb your authentic self. Hold on to what is occurring inside, your innate nature, your true spirit!