Know Yourself: Dosha Balancing
In last week's health tip article, I mentioned that according to Ayurveda, all disease comes from a build-up of aama, or toxins, which stems from dosha imbalance. You may feel quite certain about the things in life that are toxic: pesticides, cleaning chemicals, hormones found in meat and dairy, fast food, fried food, soda pop, etc. And you're probably doing a fairly good job of avoiding most of those toxins.
But what if I told you that an apple could create aama? What about kale? Organic, local, fresh green kale... toxic?
You see, all of nature is composed of the panchamahabhutas: space, air, fire, water and earth. Each of us is made up of a certain combination of these elements, with one or some being stronger than the others. Some of us are predominantly space and air. Others mostly earth and water. And some are strongly made up of the fire element (if you have a natural blush in your cheeks, or very red lips, you probably have strong fire).
Let's say for example that you're predominantly Vata dosha (prakruti) - that is, space and air elements are strongest in your body - and now you have a Vata imbalance, meaning that the elements of air and space have increased within you, causing a number of symptoms. This could be constipation, gas, bloating, and low back pain (all related, by the way, to air and space).
Air and space have the qualities of being light, cold, and dry. An imbalance of Vata likely means that you have had too much exposure to these qualities - more than your body could assimilate - resulting in an increased and aggravated dosha.
Now take the case of the apple. The qualities of an apple are light, cold and dry. Like + Like = ? More of the same! The apple is going to further increase your aggravated dosha, and it won't be digested properly because you're suffering from constipation and bloating. Thus that one innocent apple will produce aama within your intestines, making your condition even worse. Yet if you're constipated, your doctor will likely tell you to eat lots of apples, because "you need the fiber". Not only that, she'll probably add on more raw foods like salads and greens, all having those same qualities of light, cold and dry, exascerbating your condition to the point of tempting you to turn to drugs for relief. Bad apple.
You need to understand two things: 1) your natural constitution (your dosha type) and 2) your imbalance (maybe you have too much fire element if you're irritable or angry or too much earth if you're gaining weight). Based on this information you can select the right foods that will correct your imbalance and allow you to regain your health, bring back stamina and energy, and feel the vitality and vigor you once used to have.
Now, I can't give so much information in a short article... SO here's what to do to learn more. On Sunday, June 10th at Chinmayam (following morning session at Noon), the yoga class will be holding a one-hour lecture on discovering your dosha and understanding what foods are right for you so that everyone can have a healthy and happy summer. (No yoga asanas will be practiced, lecture only.) Everyone at Chinmayam is welcome to attend. (Due to Annual Day on June 10th, the class may move to one of the lower level classrooms. Please come to the main hall at Noon and we will inform.) In this short class, you'll learn about your specific dosha type and what to do to keep yourself in balance and harmony.