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Ayurveda, A Holistic Approach to Total Wellness

Ayurveda, A Holistic Approach to Total Wellness

Learn How to Bring Mind-Body Balance, Health and Nourishment Into Your Life.

Ayurveda states that health is not just the absence of disease; it is physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

What Is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda, the 5,000-year-old healing system founded in ancient India, is derived from the Sanskrit words ayus meaning life, and veda meaning wisdom. Ayurveda, the wisdom of life, offers a proven guide for a life of happiness, vitality, love and purpose.  From the Ayurvedic perspective, human beings are not viewed as mere thinking physical machines, but rather as fields of intelligence in dynamic exchange with the energy and information of the environment.  Health is a state of vibrant balance in which all the layers of one’s life are integrated. Ayurveda provides the tools to enhance your physical and emotional well being through your conscious choices, enlivening the nourishing connection between mind, body and spirit.

How Will Ayurvedic Lifestyle Practices Affect My Life?

Ayurvedic Lifestyle Practices will assist you to easily bring balance and healing into your life.  Ayurvedic practices balance the body and mind, enhance nutrition, reduce emotional turbulence and re-awaken the senses.

Today, doctors are increasingly citing stress as a major contributing factor to most illnesses.  Our bodies and minds react to it by shifting out of balance, which ultimately creates physical challenges and emotional turbulence that impact our lives at home, at work, and at play. In time, we can find ourselves in toxic relationships and non-nourishing patterns of eating, sleeping, and digestion. Ayurveda will help you identify the imbalances in your life, teach you how to correct them, and help you develop a nurturing daily routine. You will also learn to release emotions in a healthy way so that they don’t build up in your physiology. Most importantly, as your stress is eliminated, your mind and body begin to function with maximum effectiveness, creating health, vitality and happiness.

How Do I Get Started?

Learn Your Mind-Body Type

 

In Kay’s 90-Day Turn-Around Program, you will be introduced to Secrets of Ancient Wisdom, basic principles of Ayurveda, Meditation, and Yoga as well as the three  primary mind-body personalities: vata, pitta, and kapha.

You will learn how to select and use the most nourishing foods for your mind-body personality.  These nutritional practices will help you maintain vibrant health, appropriate weight, and optimized digestion.

You will learn to perpetually renew yourself each day by recognizing and eliminating toxins and by performing gentle rejuvenating techniques.

You will learn tools to practice conscious communication to enhance your relationships and help you achieve emotional freedom.

You will be taught how to use your senses to access the power of your body’s inner pharmacy to heal, nourish, and maintain balance.

How Will I Benefit from Ayurveda?

By practicing the Ayurvedic lifestyle techniques program, you will be able to:

  • Reduce stress & balance the mind-body
  • Identify your mind-body personality
  • Improve your digestion and sleep patterns
  • Release emotional toxicity
  • Create optimal daily nutrition
  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Restore Vitality
  • Re-awaken the senses

The pinnacle of accomplishment within the world-renowned Chopra Center is to be certified to teach all three pillars of Ayurveda which includes Yoga, Meditation and the Lifestyle Principles of Ayurveda. Proficiency in—and mastery of—these three disciplines conveys a special designation known as the Chopra Center Vedic Educator. This coveted triple certification represents the highest level of commitment to exploring the depths of Vedanta, Ayurveda and Yoga.

Kay Rice, M.Ed.

Certified Vedic Educator, Chopra Center for Wellbeing

What’s Your Dosha, Baby?

What’s Your Dosha, Baby?

Do You Know Your Mind-Body Type?

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the term, “DOSHA” please allow me to explain. Your “dosha” is your mind-body type, and this term comes from the ancient wisdom teachings of Ayurveda which is more than 5,000 years old. As with MANY ancient wisdom teachings from around our world, the “doshas” are described through the elements. In Ayurveda these elements are described as the “Great Elements” (Mahabhutas): and they are Space (akasha), Air (vayu), Fire (agni), Water (jalu) and Earth (prithivi). I am providing the ancient Sanskrit terms for these principles and elements.

Ayurveda, which is also a Sanskrit word which can be translated as “the science of life” is an ancient wisdom tradition which is more than 5,000 years old. It is one of the earliest documented approaches to holistic and alternative medicine, and understanding ourselves, our health and our body as a multi-dimensional and spiritual being in a physical body.

Back to the “Doshas” … According the Vedic science (Ayurvedic Science), consciousness mainifests the world through the five great elements of space, air, fire, water and earth. Since our bodies reside in the world, they are composed of the five elements. Ayurveda teaches that as the field of pure potential (“The UNIVERSE)” unfolds into living forms, the five elements organize themselves into three essential principles: Movement, Metabolism and Structure. These three principles are known as the three doshas.

Vata is the “Wind” principle & its primary function is movement.

An individual whose mind-body constitution shows a preponderance of the Vata principle will likely possess attributes that resemble the wind.

Pitta is the “Fire” principle  & its primary function is transformation.

An individual with a preponderance of the Pitta principle have a fiery nature that manifests in both body and mind.

Kapha is the “Earth” principle of and its primary function is protection.

Those with an abundance of the Kapha principle are typically grounded and steady, remaining unruffled by, and sometimes even resistant to, change.

This is starting to sound complicated, right?

Well, really, this ancient wisdom system made it very simple. All of life, including us are all just composed of bits of space, air, fire, water, and earth. When we begin thinking about these five basic elements and their qualities, it becomes more simple. 

Western thought divides us into 3 basic body types: Endomorph, Ectomorph, and Mesomorph, and it takes noting into consideration of our mind and our way of interpreting our world.. Ayurveda looks deeper into the complete mind-body type of the individual, which is determined at conception. This is our “psychophysiological constitution” which is a big word for our “mind-body type”. 

Though we come into the world with our own unique constitution, or mind-body type, or combination of the doshas—our experiences and choices in live influence our current state. If one of the doshas is out of balance, it means we have “too much” of that principle active, and once we understand these principles there are things we can do to bring ourselves back into balance. 

Let’s begin by understanding a little more about each of the three dosha types:

In a conflict … 

Vata may ask, “What did I do wrong?”.

Pitta may ask, “What did YOU do wrong?”

Kapha might respond with, “Who cares … I don’t want to deal with it.”

Daily Routines:

According to Ayurveda, human beings are a part of nature and therefore, good health requires that an individual’s internal rhythms be in tune with the natural cycles in the environment. We humans have a circadian rhythm just like all the other animals in nature. The cycles of time during the day and night as well as the seasonal changes through the year influence the doshas. Understanding the effects of environmental changes on the doshas allow you to make choices to enhance balance.

Daily cycles:

Kapha dosha predominates from 6:00 in the morning until 10:00 am and from 6:00 in the evening until 10:00 pm. In the morning, the body feels slow, heavy, relaxed and calm; all of which are qualities of Kapha. The period of peak physical activity and appetite occurs at noon, during the middle of the first Pitta period. Pitta is responsible for metabolizing food and distributing energy throughout the body. Vata dosha, which governs the nervous system predominates in the late afternoon, during which time mental activities and physical dexterity are most efficient.

The second cycle of the day begins at 6:00 pm with Kapha and its tendency to create a slow relaxed evening. During the night time Pitta period, the body is metabolizing dinner, but since the body is asleep during the 10:00 pm to 2:00 am period, the energy is being converted into warmth and the rebuilding of tissues. The early morning Vata time activates the nervous system in the form of active dream sleep (REM or rapid eye movement).

According to Ayurveda, synchronizing your daily routine with the natural daily rhythms inhances health. Awakening before dawn during the end of the Vata period allows you to take advantage of the Vata qualities of alertness and energy. Eating your main meal during the noon hour when the Pitta fire is strongest insures strong digestion. Going to bed by 10:00 pm at the end of the Kapha period takes advantage of the slow, dull Kapha qualities and encourages sound sleep.

Seasonal Cycles

As with the daily rhythms, the seasonal cycles that run throughout the yeare are matched to the doshas. Kapha season applies to the months when it is predominantly wet and cold, usually during late winter, spring and early summer. Pitta season applies to the hot summer and early autumn. Vata season is during the months when the weather is cold, dry and windy, usually occurring during the late fall and early winter. However, the three Ayurvedic seasons are only approximate and have to be adjusted according to local conditions. In addition, it is not really the calendar but the natural influences that determine how the doshas are affected. For example, any damp, cold or overcast day will increase Kapha to some degree, regardless of the season.

Kapha Seasonal Routine: Generally late winter, spring, and early summer

Favor a diet that is lighter, drier and less oily. Reduce heavy dairy products. Favor warm food and drink. Eat more foods with pungent, bitter and stringent tastes and fewer with sweet, sour and salty tastes.

Pitta Seasonal Routine: Generally midsummer through early autumn

The digestive fire is naturally high during hot weather, so your appetite may be increased. Respect this change by not overeating. Favor cool food and drink, but not ice cold. Favor sweet bitter and astringent tastes and reduce sour, salty and pungent ones. Your body will desire more fluids in hot weather but avoid large volumes of ice cold liquids during or after meals.

Vata Seasonal Routine: Generally late autumn through winter.

Favor warm food and drink, heavier food and a more oily diet than other times of the year. Your food should be well cooked and easy to digest, accompanied by plenty of warm liquids. Eat more foods with sweet, sour and salty tastes and fewer with pungent, bitter and astringent ones. Reduce dry or raw foods. It is natural for your appetite to increase during the Vata season. You may take increased quantities of food during this season but be careful not to overeat.

Vata Dosha: The Principle of Movement

Elements: Space and Air 

Characteristics: dry, cold, light, irregular, mobile, quick, rough 

Vata Constitution: Light, thin frame; active, restless, creative mind; variable diet and sleep patterns; digestive irregularity; dry skin & hair; anxiety/insomnia under stress. 

Responsible for: mental activity, neuromuscular activity, respiration, gastrointestinal mobility/elimination, cardiovascular circulation. 

Vata Psychology: to balance Vata, think “Rhythm” 

Balanced, Vata is energetic, adaptable, has strong initiative and is a good communicator. 

Imbalanced, Vata can become restless, insconsistent, unreliable and overly talkative. 

Imbalances of Vata often lead to dryness of the skin, hair, fingernails and large intestine. One may experience an irregular appetitie, delicate digestion, constipation, gas or bloating. One may become restless or suffer from insomnia. Emotionally, people with an Air imbalance may feel anxious, isolated, fearful or overly sensitive. 

Some general tips for Balancing Vata: Keep warm; Keep calm; Avoid both raw and cold food; Avoid cold temperatures; Eat warm foods and spices and Keep a regular Routine.

Vata Characteristics

Mind: Creative, quick, imaginative

Body: Thin light frame

Skin: Dry

Hair: Dry

Appetite: Delicate, spontaneous, often misses meals

Routine: Variable, spontaneous

Temperament: Welcomes new experiences, excitable, friendly, energetic

Conversation Style: Loves to talk

Shopping Style: Buy, buy buy

Stress Response: What did I do wrong? Tendencey to blame oneself.

Pitta Dosha: The Principle of Transformation

Characteristics: Hot, moist, light, intense, fluid, pungent, sour

Pitta Constitution: Medium fram, keen intellect with hungry minds, strong appetite and digestion (for everything), warm extremeties, perspires easily, irritability and angry under stress.

Responsible for: Transformation and digestion, mental discrimination, visual perception, digestion, coloration and pigmentation, temperature regulation (all the colored body fluids are Pitta).

Pitta Psychology: To balance Pitta think “Decompression”

Balanced, Pitta is intelligent, warm, friendly, courageous, and are good leaders.

Imbalanced, Pitta dosha can become critical, irritable, headstrong and controlling.

An imbalance of the Pitta dosha creates an excess of heat and acidity in the body. This may create symptoms such as skin rashes and irritations, burning pain in the digestive tract, indigestion or heartburn. Emotions may become inflamed when the Fire principle is out of balance, and the person may become angry, intolerant and hyper-critical. Fire imbalances are more likely to develop when one feels pressured or has “too much on their plate.”

Some general tips for balancing Pitta: Avoid excessive heat, Avoid excessive oil &nd steam; Limit salt intake, Eat cooling, nonspicy foods, Drink cool (but not iced) drinks, Exercise during the cooler part of the day.

Pitta Characteristics

Mind: Sharp, intellectual, direc t, precise, discerning

Body: Medium build, warm, muscular

Skin: Sensitive, flush, acne-prone

Hair: Tendancy towards early graying or thinning

Appetite: Strong. Can eat just about anything, anytime

Routine: Very precise and organized

Temperment: Passionate, driven, courageous, strong sex drive, good leader

Conversation Style: Speaks to convey a point.

Shopping Style: Spends on luxury items

Stress Response: Irratible, tendency to blame others.

Kapha Dosha: The Principle of Protection & Structure

Characteristics: cold, heavy, stable, viscous, dense, smooth, slow

Kapha Constitution (earth & water): Heavy set build, methodical, thoughtful nature, slow steady appetite and digestion, smooth, soft, lustrous complexion, deep, prolonged sleep, withdraws under stress and when imbalanced tends to hold onto things for too long.

Responsible for: Principle of protection, nervous system support, digestive tract protection, respiratory tract lubrication, joint lubrication, water and fat regulation. Kapha body fluids are clear.

Kapha Psychology: to balance think “Action”

Balanced, Kapha is calm, steady, devoted and tolerant. Imbalanced, Kapha becomes boring, inert, needy and and complacent.

An imbalance in the Kapha dosha will make one feel sluggish, congested and lazy. Weight gain, retention of fluids, allergies and sinus congestion all reflect an excess or imbalance of the earth principal. Earth imbalances may manifest emotionally as depression, attachment, sentimentality, or an inability to let go.

General Tips for Balancing Kapha: Keep active and get plenty of exercise; Avoid heavy foods; Vary your routine; Avoid dairy foods, and fatty or oily foods; Avoid iced food and drinks; Eat light, dry food.

Kapha Characteristics

Mind: Detail-oriented, steady consistent

Body: Sturdy, gains weight easily, has trouble losing it

Skin: Smooth and oily

Hair: Thick, oily

Appetite: Loves to eat but has a slow digestion

Routine: Methodical and sturdy, resistant to change

Temperament: Thoughtful, forgiving, sweet, patient, loving, content, slow-moving

Conversation Style: Simple and profound

Shopping Style: Saves

Stress Response: I don’t want to deal with it! Withdrawn

Would you Like to Learn More?

Get to Know your Mind-Body Type. Discover your personal blueprint for achieving perfect health, as we guide you into bringing vibrant balance to your unique mind-body type.

The pinnacle of accomplishment within the world-renowned Chopra Center is to be certified to teach all three pillars of Ayurveda which includes Yoga, Meditation and the Lifestyle Principles of Ayurveda. Proficiency in—and mastery of—these three disciplines conveys a special designation known as the Chopra Center Vedic Educator. This coveted triple certification represents the highest level of commitment to exploring the depths of Vedanta, Ayurveda and Yoga.  

Kay Rice, M.Ed.

Certified Vedic Educator, Chopra Center for Wellbeing

The Layers of Life: Mind-Body-Spirit

The Layers of Life: Mind-Body-Spirit

According to Ayurveda, we are multi-dimensional beings with many layers of life. This is a different concept than Western, aleopathic medicine, has—which treats each individual merely as a bag of molecules. We often hear mind-body-spirit referred to when speaking of a holistic model of an individual. In Ayurveda, there is a model for this. There is a model for this called the layers of life which I explain in this post, the layers of life are also referred to as the Koshas in some branches of Yoga training.

The Ayurvedic Model of the Human Physiology as a Multi-Dimensional Being/The Quantum Mechanical Framework: The quantum mechanical body is a localized concentration of energy and information in a universal field of energy and information. From this perspective, the physiology is viewed as consciousness first and matter second.

According to Adi Shankara, 9th century yogic sage, there are 3 primary layers of life: physical, psychological and spiritual. Although we tend to think of these levels of existence as separate, they are consciousness in different disguises. When we are able to freely access these layers, we achieve balance and integration, optimal health and vital energy.

The Physical Body:  (Stuhula Sharir)

1.)  Anna maya kosha: food or nourishment – our covering made of food. 

2.) Prana maya kosha: our energy body (chakras, nadi’s, electromagnetic field)

3.) The Extended Body or our Environment

 The Subtle Body:  (Sukshma Sharir)

The subtle body exists in time, but does not occupy any space. Transformation fields have a longer shelf life than the physical body. Includes the mind, the intellect and the ego.

1.)Mano maya kosha: the mind/mental layer. This the field where we experience our emotions.

2.) Buddhi maya kosha:  the intellect. The intellect discriminates for us, deciding what is good or bad, safe or unsafe, what we like or do not like.

The Intellect: Ideas, concepts, beliefs.Determines what action should be taken in reaction to the information brought in through the senses; identified by manas (the mind) & evaluated by ahankara (or ego).

3.) Ahankara: The Ego – the aspect of the mind that claims ownership. “That’s my car, my child, my family.”

 The Causal Body: (Karana Sharir)

Ananda maya kosha – individuality; the body of bliss; conditioned bliss.

1.) The personal soul (atman); 2.) The collective soul; 3.) The Universal Soul (Brahman) – Unity Consciousness.

The Layers of Life

The Physical Body – The Field of Molecules

According to Shankara’s model, the physical body is comprised of three layers: the environment, the personal body, and the energetic body.

Personal Body

Recognizing that the vast majority of the cells in your body are derived from the food you eat, Sankara named the physical body anamayakosha, meaning the covering made of food. This idea underscores the need to  pay attention to the food you consume to maximize nourishment and minimize toxicity.

Energy Body

Shankara named the third layer of the physical body, pranamayakosha, meaning the sheath made of vital energy. This vital energy, known as prana, breathes life into biochemicals and orchestrates cells into a vibrant living being.

Environment—the extended body

Although your senses may tell you otherwise, there is no distinct boundary between your personal and extended bodies, which are in constant and dynamic exchange. Each breath that you inhale and exhale is a reminder of the continuous converation taking place between your physical body and your environment.

The Subtle Body—the Mind Field

Shankara identified three layers of the subtle body: the mind, the intellect, and the ego.

The Mind

Within this framework, the mind is the repository of sendory impressions. As the mind cycles through different states of consciousness, your sensory experiences change. Dreaming reality is different than waking reality. Shankara named this level of the subtle body manomaya kosha.

The Intellect

This is the aspect of mind that discriminates and makes decisions. Shankara called this layer buddimaya kosha.

The Ego

According to Shankara, the ego is that aspect of your being that identifies with the positions and possessions of your life. It is ultimately your self-image and identity. In yoga, the ego is known as ahankara, the “I-former.”

The Causal Body—The Field of Pure Potentiality

Shankara identified three layers of the causal body: the personal domain, the collective domain, and the universal domain.

Personal

According to Shankara, every individual has a personal soul with unique memores and desires. These memories and desires guide the course of your life to the fulfillment of your soul’s highest purpose.

Collective

The second sheath of the causal body is the collective domain. This realm calls you to live a mythical life. The gods and goddesses that reside within your sould have one desire—to express their creative power through you.

Universal

The deepest aspect of your being is beyond space, time and causality, yet gives rise to the manifest universe. This is the universal domain of spirit in which all distinctions merge into unity. It is known in Sanskrit as Brahman.

Discovering Yourself

Now that you understand that you are a multi-dimensional being, let’s take a few minutes to explore your identity. Please close your eyes, bring your attention into your heart, and listen to the answers that emerge in response to these questions:

Who Am I?
What do I want?
How can I serve?

Please take a few moments to jot down the answers that come to you in your journal. We will suggest that you bring these questions and answers into your awareness each time before you quiet you mind in meditation. 

Primordial Sound Meditation

Led by Deepak Chopra & Roger Gabriel

Master The Chopra Center’s signature Style of meditation—natural, efforless, and personalized. Start your dream practice now.

The pinnacle of accomplishment within the world-renowned Chopra Center is to be certified to teach all three pillars of Ayurveda which includes Yoga, Meditation and the Lifestyle Principles of Ayurveda. Proficiency in—and mastery of—these three disciplines conveys a special designation known as the Chopra Center Vedic Educator. This coveted triple certification represents the highest level of commitment to exploring the depths of Vedanta, Ayurveda and Yoga.

Kay Rice, M.Ed.

Certified Vedic Educator, Chopra Center for Wellbeing

Information for this post was created using information provided to Chopra Center Vedic Educators.

The Image for the Layers of Life was used with permission from the Chopra Center.

©Kay Rice, M.Ed. 2019

 

The Five Subtle Elements

The Five Subtle Elements

The Five Subtle Elements of Ayurveda

The Tanmatras

Ayurveda presents a fascinating way of describing our perception of the world. Just as we can organize the material universe into the Five Great Elements (Space, Air, Fire, Water & Earth), we can organize our internalization of the universe through the five Subtle Elements: Sound, Touch, Sight, Taste & Smell. We metabolize every single experience we have through our five senses. 

The First of the Five Subtle Elements is SOUND, the Sanskrit word is Shabda. This is the subtlest element.  Sound is the first vibration that stirs from the field of silence. Sound can be used to balance our doshas, through music, chanting, toning, listening to the sounds of nature.

The Second of the Five Subtle Elements is TOUCH, the Sanskrit word is Sparsha.  Perception of touch is a function of both the receiving apparatus and our attention. The use of touch to nurture and heal can be demonstrated through loving touch from one person to another, contact with another being, and even through daily self massage, or abyanga. 

The Third of the Five Subtle Elements is SIGHT, the Sanskrit word is Rupa. This is our ability to perceive electromagnetic radiation with our eyes.

The Fourth of the Five Subtle Elements is TASTE, the Sanskrit word is Rasa. Our nature has coded information about nourishment or toxicity in the form of taste. Ayurveda recognizes six tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, pungent and astringent. These tastes can also be used to balance the doshas. 

The Fifth of the Five Subtle Elements is SMELL, the Sanskrit word is Gandha. Smell is a primitive sense that allows us to sample our environment at a distance. Think aromatherapy and how we can balance ourselves through the sense of smell. Think also of scents and smells you may associate with a special place in your childhood, such as a grandmother’s home.

Thus concludes a series of posts to explain the Ayurvedic explanation of Consciousness, the three vital principles or Gunas, The Five Great Elements or Mahabutas, and the Five Subtle Elements the Tanmatras. These are orchestrated together in a way that personalizes our Universe through the DOSHAS.

 

The pinnacle of accomplishment within the world-renowned Chopra Center is to be certified to teach all three pillars of Ayurveda which includes Yoga, Meditation and the Lifestyle Principles of Ayurveda. Proficiency in—and mastery of—these three disciplines conveys a special designation known as the Chopra Center Vedic Educator. This coveted triple certification represents the highest level of commitment to exploring the depths of Vedanta, Ayurveda and Yoga.

Kay Rice, M.Ed.

Certified Vedic Educator, Chopra Center for Wellbeing

The Five Subtle Elements

Seasonal Cycles and the Doshas

The doshas have both daily rhythms as well as seasonal cycles that run throught the year. The Kapha Season applies to months when it is predominantly wet and cold, usually during late winter, spring and the early summer. Pitta season applies to the hot summer and early autumn. Vata season are those months when the weather is cold, dry and winddy, usually occurring during the laste fall and early winter. However, the three Ayurvedic seasons are only approximate and have to be adjusted according to local conditions. In addition, it is not really the calendar but natural influences that determine how the doshas are affected. For example, any damp, cold, overcast day will increase Kapha to some degree, regardless of the season.

Traditionally, Ayurveda advises that everyone should follow a seasonal routine to preserve balance as the seasons change. However, the recommendations suggestions should not involve major alterations in your lifestyle, only a gentle shift in emphasis. Note, whatever season it is you favor foods and flavors that are the opposite in order to reduce that dosha type.

Kapha Seasonal Routine

Late winter, spring, early summer

Favor a diet that is lighter, drier and less oily. Reduce heavy dairy products. Favor warm food and drink. Eat more foods with pungent, bitter and astringent tastes and fewer with sweet, sour and salty tastes. 

Pitta Seasonal Routine

Midsummer through early autumn

The digestive fire is naturally hight during hot weather, so your appetite may be increased. Respect this change by not overeating. Favor cool food and drink, but not ice cold. Favor sweet, bitter and astringent tastes and reduce sour, salty and pungent ones. Your body will desire more fluids in hot weather but avoid large volumes of ice cold liquids during or after meals..

Vata Seasonal Routine

Late autumn through winter

Favor warm food and drink, heavier food and a more oily diet than other times of the year. Your food should be well cooked and easy to digest, accompanied by plenty of warm liquids. Eat more foods with sweet, sour and salty tastes and fewer with pungent, bitter and astringent ones. Reduce dry or raw foods. It is natural for your appetite to increase during the Vata season. You may take increased quantities of food during this season but be careful not ot overeat. 

 

Ayurveda teaches there are Six Tastes: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent, Bitter & Astringent.

Sweet & Salty tastes increase Kapha

 

The pinnacle of accomplishment within the world-renowned Chopra Center is to be certified to teach all three pillars of Ayurveda which includes Yoga, Meditation and the Lifestyle Principles of Ayurveda. Proficiency in—and mastery of—these three disciplines conveys a special designation known as the Chopra Center Vedic Educator. This coveted triple certification represents the highest level of commitment to exploring the depths of Vedanta, Ayurveda and Yoga.

Kay Rice, M.Ed.

Certified Vedic Educator, Chopra Center for Wellbeing

The Five Subtle Elements

Daily Cycles and the Doshas

Our Daily Routines and the Daily Cycle of the Doshas

According to Ayurveda, human beings are a part of nature and therefore optimal health means that our internal rhythm be in tune with the nautral cycles in the environment. Human beings have a circadian rhythm as do the other animals in nature. There are daily cycles and seasonal cycles. The cycles of time during the day and night as well as the seasonal changes throughout the year influence the doshas.

When  Dr. Simon, co-founder of the Chopra Center, taught us about the daily routines he was fond of saying, “There is really no such thing as a night person, only a person with bad habits.” Electricity which can keep it light 24/7 and 24 hour a day TV, Internet and other stimuli have made it easy to ignore the daily cycles and rhythms of nature.

The Kapha dosha predominates in the morning from 6:00 am until 10:00 am, and from 6:00 pm tuntil 10:00 pm at night. In the morning during this period the body feels slow, heavy relaxed and calm; all of which are qualities of Kapha. In the evening a major source of traffic accidents are people going home from work who fall asleep. 

Pitta predominates from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm, and then from 10:00 pm until 2:00 am. The period of peak physical activity and appetite occurs at noon, during the middle of the first period of Pitta. Pitta is responsible for metabolizing food and distributing energy throught the body. Pittas need to eat by around 1:00 pm or the fire burns out of control, and then emotions tend to erupt.

Vata dosha predominates from 2:00 am until 6:00 am, and again from 2:00 pm until 6:00 pm. Vata which governs the nervous system, predominates in the late afternoon, during which time mental activities and physical dexterity are most efficient.

The second cycle of the day begins at 6:00 pm with Kapha and its tendency to create a slow, relaxed evening. During the nighttime Pitta period, the body is metabolizing dinner, but since the body is asleep during the 10:00 pm to 2:00 am period, the energy is being converted into warmth and the rebuilding of tissues. The early morning Vata time activates the nervous system in the form of active dream sleep, or REM (Rapid Eye Movement).

According to Ayurveda, synchoninzing you daily routine with the natural daily rhythms enhances health. Waking before dawn during the end of the Vata period allows you to take advantage of the Vata qualities of alertness and energy. Eating your main meal during the noon hour when the Pitta fire is strongest insures strong digestion. Going to bed by 10:00 pm at the end of the Kapha period takes advantage of the slow, dull Kapha qualitiies and encourages sound sleep.

2 am to 6 am – Vata Period

Nature is awakening at this time of day. Get up by 6:00 am and no later than 7:00. Most dreaming occurs in this period. Get up and meditate with the alertness of Vata. During this period of movement, toxins get moved into the elimination tiessues & channels of the body you can get rid of them when you get up. 

6 am to 10 am – Kapha Period

This is a heavier period of the day. If you stay in bed for too long you will feel dull and heavier. If you experiences stiffness in the joints, it will help you to get moving before the Kapha period begins. Eat a lighter breakfast, and this is the best time of the day to do vigerous, heavy physical exercise. It is also the best time to take chemotherapy, because at this time of the day the healthy cells are at their least active; cancer cells are over-active all of the time.

10 am to 2 pm – Pitta Period

This is the warmest time of the day and the sun is at its highest. Digestion (Agni) is it’s strongest at this time. Many cultures used to take a rest during this time of the day to keep from over-heating. This is the best time of the day to eat your main meal.

2 pm to 6 pm – Vata Period

During this Vata period you will be more light and alert. This should be a period that we are mentally alert, fresh, and creative. It is a good time to meditate. If you tend to experience that mid-afternoon slump, look for what may be out of balance.

6 pm to 10 pm – Kapha Period

This is a slwer, heavier time of the day. Animals quiet down, the sun sets and dark sets in. Take advantale of the quietness. Use this time to go to bed by 10:00. To stay in tune with the circadian rhythm go to bed between 9:30 and 11:00 pm at the lastest. Eat a light evening meal early in this period, from 6-7 pm.

10 pm – 2 am – Pitta Period

Pittas wake hot and throw off the covers. We will get hungry again if we are awake, and it may cause you to raid the refrigerator at night. Often pittas gain weight by eating late at night. Most people will notice a dip in energy around 10:00 pm. If you sleep during this time, agni metabolizes at this time. The body rids itself of toxins during heavy sleep.

When I spent time at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastary, I noted the monks kept their daily routines in line with these daily cycles. They were up by 4:00 am for the first service of the day of chanting and meditation, a second service at 8:00 am. Then in the evening another service at 4:00 pm, and the last one of the day, just before retiring was at 8:00 pm.

The pinnacle of accomplishment within the world-renowned Chopra Center is to be certified to teach all three pillars of Ayurveda which includes Yoga, Meditation and the Lifestyle Principles of Ayurveda. Proficiency in—and mastery of—these three disciplines conveys a special designation known as the Chopra Center Vedic Educator. This coveted triple certification represents the highest level of commitment to exploring the depths of Vedanta, Ayurveda and Yoga.

Kay Rice, M.Ed.

Certified Vedic Educator, Chopra Center for Wellbeing

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