It’s eye-opening how much weight and importance we place into the labels for ourselves. I like labels; they make everything neat and tidy. But all too often, people, events, life, love, etc. are messy, raucous, and brazen, and seem to bust out from those labels just for the sake of it.
This little gem of realization was made abundantly clear to me today at my very first Ayurvedic assessment ever. What’s Ayurveda, you ask? Why, I’ll humbly tell you: Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine that, based on your dosha (body-mind type), determines how to best stay in balance via the food you eat, activities you engage in, and your day-to-day routines. That’s about as Ayurveda 101 as I care to get, because I’m not an authority on it. I’ll include a little list of my favorite Ayurveda books and resources at the end of this post. Or you could, you know, Google it.
Now, I’ve always thought I was a kapha-pitta. I’ve take all the little online assessments and they all say I’m earthy kapha predominant with sprinkling of fiery pitta. It made sense to me: I feel I have a kapha body (kinda chubby, great hair, gorgeous and luminous eyes…haunting, maybe?) and pitta mentally (intense, driven, ambitious). Being the knowledge-hound I am, all of my reading and info-acquirement about Ayurveda has been through this kapha-pitta lens. So my world just about turned upside down when the brilliant and magnetic James Tennant (of Tejas Yoga) took my pulse, peeked at my tongue and the whites of my eyes, and declared that I was a) borderline anemic, b) vata-pitta, and c) have a vata imbalance and a bit of a kapha one too. Hold on to your tongue scrapers, people.
Now what does this mean for me? I definitely feel the vata imbalance in how meandering my head has been the past couple weeks, and my anxiety has suddenly doubled down like there’s no tomorrow. James suggested that one imbalanced dosha can throw another out of whack, which is probably where the kapha imbalance comes from. So here are a few of his suggestions to help with that vata imbalance:
Create a routine
Any routine, really. I’m starting with a morning and evening one that includes a hot shower, some meditation, tongue scraping, etc. Doing these things mindfully and diligently with help pacify vata.
I was assigned a very cool nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) visualization technique that I’m excited to incorporate into my meditation seshes.
For the first time in my life, it has been suggested that I cut back on salad. Let me preface this by saying I eat a whole lot of salad. Lots of raw greens and veggies, which translates to lots of vata aggravation. So I’m cutting back to one every other day. This is a little scary, since salad is my go-to for pretty much every meal in every situation. Raw foods are also vata aggravating. So that 70% raw deal I’ve been involved in is really just causing me grief. So! I plan on switching out raw veggies and salad with warm roasted root veggies and lots of soups and stews. Ah, I feel warm and toasty already.
This deficiency runs in my family. My mom is always accusing my sister and I of being anemic. Now I officially am. Well, almost. I don’t eat meat very often, so I plan on lots of…beets! I’ve been all about beets lately, so I’m using this as an excuse to experiment with that gorgeous garnet tuber in ways it’s never even dreamed of. Also, kale has lots of iron! In fact, calorie for calorie, kale has more iron than beef. Who knew.
So I’ll give these little adjustments a try, and meet back up with James in three weeks to see how it’s going. I’ll keep a little journal of the changes I notice, and dutifully blog about them as well. Wish this V2 P3 K1 luck!