Winter Season Through an Ayurvedic Lens

Ayurveda is more a way of life, a way of learning how to cooperate with Nature and live in harmony with Her, than it is a medical system. Health in Ayurveda means harmony, and there is really no limit to the degree of balance that a sincere harmony-seeker can achieve. -Dr. Robert Svoboda

To find harmony with Nature we must balance her extremes. Each season reveals different qualities. Our bodies are a microcosm of nature; that which is without is within. A cold + dry winter may translate to a cold + dry body.

This Winter, we have experienced two very pronounced climates in Vancouver. Early Winter was especially cold + dry, characteristics of vata dosha. Whether you have a predominantly vata constitution or not, you may have felt restless, erratic energy.

Vata is combination of the elements air + space. Remember those vast blue skies! During that time, I felt energetic + inspired yet there was a tendency to feel ungrounded – as though I was trying to accomplish too much too quickly.

Vata is characterized as dry, cold, light, irregular, erratic, mobile and rough. Therefore, when Vata is out of balance in the body, our skin is dry + rough, our thoughts can be scattered + erratic and our digestion might be dry (constipation) + irregular. When vata is balanced, creativity flows, thoughts come in quickly yet with clarity, and you may feel light and energized.

The second half of the winter saw a transition from dry + cold to wet + cold. This is classic kapha dosha: damp, cold, heavy, slow, stable. Pretty much the mirror opposite of vata dosha. This change from vata to kapha happened when temperatures rose and the rain melted the last of the stubborn icy snow.

Kapha is a combination of earth + water. As the ground warms up its become muddy and soft, the creeks are swollen with the ice melt. In the body we may notice excess mucus and fluid making us feel heavy and sluggish. If this is the case, we may be experiencing a kapha imbalance. Time to warm up + invigorate! Eat warm, spiced foods (cinnamon, cumin, masala, yum!). Move your body + get the energy flowing EVERY DAY. Dance, flow, stretch, swim, run, walk, bike, sauna, steam.

The characteristics we see in Nature are mirrored in our bodies. Ayurveda teaches that to prevent illness + disease, we must always be fine-tuning our health to balance excess or deficiency. Once you see everything in nature as having specific qualities, balancing your constitution becomes intuitive.

Come learn simple + effective self-care practices to fine-tune your health this winter and learn Ayurveda basics at DMT on Sunday, February 5th 9-11am with Tessa Rowan.

Take one or both of the quizzes below to help understand your Ayurvedic constitution in preparation for the workshop.

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