Friday, February 25, 2011

Congested.. but I don't eat cheese!!!

A friend of mine recently shared her frustration with head congestion, even though she does the neti and doesn't eat cheese on even a semi regular basis. I explained to her that at the change of seasons, when things are shifting, that is exactly what happens.. shifting which means that due to seasonal changes, our body will also make adjustments depending on what dosha is ruling out of balance at that time. So, being vata/pitta by nature, but now vata/kapha imblanced, there is a bit of a challenge. This is where each person needs to be looked at differently. Her vices are daily two glasses of red wine and occasionally with that a cigarette. Well, the wine and cigarettes are causing much heat, which is also dehydrating and depleting to vata, and the sulfites in the wine cause many to become "stuffy" in the nose and head as kapha is becoming a part of the mix to rescue the body from dryness. Also, an allergic reaction to the sulfites is talking place.
My simple suggestion is, of course, to cut back drastically on the wine and do away with the cigarettes! Not an easy task for the wine lovers or the smoker, but to embrace an Ayurvedic change in lifestyle, at first we must gradually move out of destructive routine and replace those with healthful and supportive options. No one said it would be easy..we adopt these vices for a slew of reasons, but to know how it feels to be in balance awakens the awareness of our amazing and beautiful bodies and minds! Once you discover how you feel once in balance, it is easier to bring yourself back if you partake in those old patterns once in a while. I can almost guarantee that those old ideas of "needing" that cigarette, or "having to have" those couple glasses of wine daily will no longer resonate with your daily routine. 

Spring.. Kapha season already?

The kapha season is once again upon us, even though the seasons here in California have been unpredictable for the most part in the past year. Since we have a much less noticeable "change" in season, and ever changing weather patterns during our winter/spring time it can be easy to forget to "remember" how to approach each season with our constitutions in may have noticed some changes in the way you feel during the past few weeks. Many people have complained of headaches, sinus congestion, and a few still coming down with flu like symptoms. Remember, as we pass into a new season, this is transition so just as nature goes through a flux and change we also do. The coming season is the Kapha season which is comprised of earth and water. This is heaviness,and mucous and it has been accumulating in the last parts of the winter season around January and now is showing up as all of the conditions that you may have been experiencing. The cold of the drier winter season is melting.. warming up and flowing out!

This is a great time to have a consultation to cleanse and set yourself for a new beginning..
The implementation of certain routines in this season will keep the stagnation of mucousy kapha dosha to a minimum. If you tend to lean more toward this dosha in constitution then you will want to pay particular attention to the following suggestions!

  • Each morning, make a "tea" of warm water with fresh lemon juice and about a tsp. of grated ginger root or a 1" slice of ginger. Allow to steep for 5 min. This will stimulate digestive fire and cleanse the lymph. Ginger root is warming, and dry ginger is hot, so if you have much heaviness in the body (weight, or copious amounts of mucous), use a pinch of dry ginger instead for the first week and then notice how you feel!
  • Movement is important now! A morning walk or run, and other forms of exercise such as yoga (asana), hiking, and strength training are highly recommended. If you are familiar with your constitution (prakruti) then you will have a better idea of which type of exercise balances you and serves you best without working harder than necessary to achieve positive results.
  • Although the physical aspect is important to relieve heaviness in the body (and for many other reasons) we must also look at the more subtle, mental side of balance.  Taking time for a meditation, which could be sitting in silence, visualization, walking meditation, or whatever resonates with you and focuses your breathing and brings peace to you.