How to balance yourself Ayurveda style?
In Ayurveda it’s all about balance.
Strengthening your agni, the digestive fire. Removing ama, the stuff that clogs your system. Bringing balance back when you’re out of it.
But how? What do does that all mean, balance? It sounds logical. Ofcourse we want balance. But then where to start? How do you know that something is out of balance and how do you get it back?
It’s probably a lot more straightforward than you might be thinking, because Ayurveda is like that.
So per Ayurveda everything in the material world can be described by the different qualities it has. In Ayurvedaland these different qualities are called the gunas and these gunas are mainly paired in opposites. Several examples you might be familiar with are: hard and soft, heavy and light, dry and oily, warm and cold, big and subtle, stable or mobile, sharp and dull and there are many more. And the way we work with these opposites is:
Like increases like and opposites balance.
What we mean by that is that if you feel cold and you eat an icecream or take a cold shower, you’re going to feel colder, because like increases like. If you feel cold and you drink a cup of ginger tea or take a warm shower, you’ll feel warmer, because opposites balance.
Yes, it is that simple 😊. You can do that with anything, really. If you feel tired, you rest. If your food or your skin is dry you add some oil. When you burn yourself, you put aloe or something else that’s cooling on it.
The key is practicing paying attention.
With foods it can be a bit more of a study. Obviously a spicy pepper is heating on the body and I believe most will understand that cucumber is cooling to the body. All foods have their properties, which can change with preparation or the form they are in. Like fresh ginger is much more heating than powdered ginger.
The practice is paying attention to how you feel and the effect you notice when you do something. For example: on a hot day when you feel hot, do you go for a run at midday and eat a spicy meal, or do you go swimming in the ocean and stay in the shade and have some cooked rice with veggies and beans or chicken? How would you feel? What would be a choice to bring you more health, balance and make you feel good?
This also connects to your agni, the digestive fire. If your agni is strong, you will be able to digest more difficult foods. If it’s weak you will be better off eating simpler cooked meals with digestive spices, to allow your agni and body to strengthen. Cooked meals for example are easier to digest, meaning that they are lighter for the system. Raw food is difficult to digest and thus is heavier. Also, foods with many ingredients are more difficult to digest than rice with chicken and 2 veggies.
You are probably applying Ayurvedic principles intuitively.
There is a lot to it if you think about it and if you don’t think about it too much, there is probably a lot you already do intuitively. If you already feel good this might not be on the top of your list to start to dive into. But if you’re like me, dealing with an auto immune condition, it might be a beautiful thing to explore. To be able to support yourself, feel better and stronger and maybe even reduce medication.
For me personally it has been a very empowering journey. I’ve been able to incorporate Ayurveda into my lifestyle and see my kidney condition stabilize more. It’s not always easy, because you can’t un-know what you know with the cravings that are sometimes there. Every action has a reaction, so what I choose to do will influence how I feel. So stuffing my face with too much chocolate will never have an ‘I felt great after that’ result.
My teacher always says ‘here is another episode of Ayurveda ruins everything’. You know you shouldn’t eat or do it, but you do it anyway. And there is the sidenote that we always do our best with the knowledge we have. So in my experience it better really be worth it, otherwise it’s an average experience that needs quite some recovery to balance out again.
For example: I know that pizza is challenging for me to digest. It doesn’t mean I never eat pizza, but when I do, I make sure it is a really good one. I tend to feel heavy and a bit bloated afterward. If I eat it late in the evening I might wake up in a sweat, because my body needs to fire up my system to be able to digest it all, but that is what it is. I know this can happen and the next day, I’ll scrape the left-over ama from my tongue and have a day of cooked rice and veggies to bring balance again.
An even easier example is alcohol, I don’t really drink that anymore, because I know that if I do the recovery doesn’t way up to the experience when I drink. You can then think, wow Ayurveda does ruin everything, you can’t even have a drink. But does it really? How great is your actual experience, not what you think of your experience, but really how you feel as you’re doing it and afterwards, and the reaction that creates within yourself? Is the pizza or whatever worth it? And sometimes it’s a wholehearted YES, also to the consequences.
Would you like to learn more?
This autumn I will share a free Ayurveda an yoga therapy webinar. Here I will share what it is all about and some useful tips of how to bring more balance to your body. There will also be time to ask the questions you might have regarding these topics.
Sign up through the button below and I hope to see you there!