I felt inspired to share how Ayurvedic principles are logical when think of the five elements functioning together. Air, ether, fire, water and earth are omnipresent in everything.
Too Much of a Dosha
My brother has a dual doshic Vata-Pitta constitution. He lives on a high floor in NYC and his office is also on a super high floor. When I say tall, I mean 80th floor and above. On top of living and working in a high floor, 3 weeks of out the month he is traveling to from and to all sorts of time zones. He hops and skips on flights literally every 2-3 days. Air travel is known to increase vata for two reasons. First because you are literally suspended in air and secondly because you are moving.
I have always joked around with him about how parched and dry his skin is, implying that he might have had a few too many glasses of wine the night before. This was in his early 30’s though and being closer to his late 30’s now, he has slightly become more in tune with his body and rarely drinks anymore. Nowadays, when I see him in NYC when he is home for a week or so at times he looks so vata deranged. I gently try to tell him how much vata there is in his life.
Vata derangement can manifest into many different ways. Basically it is an exacerbation of the vata qualities manifesting in the mind and body. Qualities such as cold, dry, rough, mobile, hard, light in the body can translate as insomnia, anxiety, moody, muscle stiffness, severe constipation etc. If these mild conditions prolong then it becomes a disease.
Stages of Life in Ayurveda
Why is it so bad? For a big reasons. Ayurveda categorizes different stages of life with each dosha.
- Birth until 20s is kapha (the physically and emotional growing stage of life)
- From 20’s until 50′ or around menopause is pitta (the time of being driven in life, achieving, making money, growing a family etc)
- From around 50’s until death is vata (the time when it is known as the wisdom years, slowing down mentally and physically)
This is why we will see a lot of kapha ailments during the kapha phase of life. Pitta ailments during the pitta stage of life. Vata during the vata stage of life. For those like my brother who are in such a super high vata environment and have vata ailments, it is hard to see how serious these can get once in the vata stage of life. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons he has not been that serious to make lifestyle corrections. This is not just him, but the case for many individuals. A coming and going of symptoms is brushed off. This is where Ayurveda would if a correction is not made it will become a disease. Especially, once he is in his 50s transitioning into vata phase of life. In Ayurveda we would not completely agree with blaming old age. The signs and symptoms are already there, but ignorance has led up to the disease.
Change Through Awareness
One view is that we need to change our life altogether and integrate Ayurveda and Yoga. This is wonderful, but it could be that we are following our dharma, life path and need to be doing what we are doing. In my brother’s case, it is his dharma to be traveling the way is and in the line of work he does. As an Ayurvedic Health Consultant, it is my intention to bring awareness in such a way that it is life changing. To start seeing the dynamic between ourselves and our environment, realizing we are just one. Understanding how the elements translate into our body can truly alter the way we think about ourselves and our interactions with the environment. In his scenario, I have suggested are:
- vata pacifying diet, especially root vegetables
- triphala at bedtime, especially when travelling
- a regular schedule of eating and sleeping
- abhyanga (self-massage) as much as possible