In this blog post I want you to take a look at where you live and how to can affect your constitution. Hopefully you did the dosha quiz last week and know your constitution. That’s definitely a starting point in understanding why we behave the way we do and why we may have some of the physical ailments we do, but it’s only part of the picture.
Where you live:
Think about your geography….
Do you live near the ocean or a big body of water?
Is it mostly dry or wet?
Do you experience extreme temps or a more temperate climate?
Do you notice a lot of wind?
If you live near the ocean or a big body of water like the Great Lakes, chances are there is a lot more moisture in the air (kapha) and the temperatures do not fluctuate greatly from summer to winter. If you live inland you will most likely notice the air is a lot dryer (vata) and in the winter it’s cold (more vata) and the summer it’s hot (pitta).
If you get a lot of rain, your environment is most likely heavy on the kapha. A lot of wind makes things feel very vata. Extreme cold is associated with vata and as I mentioned above, heat with pitta.
Our climate can help to balance our doshas or it can exaggerate them. Take a moment to think about the characteristics where you live and how they relate to your constitution.
Note: Things like air conditioning, heating and artificial light are also important but to keep this all digestible we wont’ get into that in this blog post, I’ll save that for later.
Using me as an example:
I live near the ocean but because I have some vata characteristics I am very susceptible to dry skin. When I went to Arizona in June I nearly shriveled up! My skin and even nose became sooooo dry. Between the dry heat outside, sunscreen, the salt and chlorine of the swimming pools and air conditioning inside I really struggled at times. It’s obvious I do better in a more kapha climate. So I’ve pretty much ruled out retiring to anywhere inland!
From a personality perspective, I have a lot of fire and a bit of wind. All of us live very vata lives (which I’ll talk about in a future post) but the wind of where I live can fuel that fire leaving me feeling agitated and ungrounded.
Until I learned about Ayurveda I never really paid much attention to any of this. But now that I know, I have tools that can help me balance out. In the dry climates and when it’s really windy I use oil (coconut, sesame, sweet almond are three great examples) on my skin and my holes (lol, as my teacher Stephanie says “oil your holes”. I also make sure I drink lots of water and when I came back from Arizona, coconut water helped me a lot, it’s really great for hydration. I didn’t know that when I was there, I wish I did cause I would’ve been drinking it all day! I also gravitate towards moisture rich foods like watermelon and cucumber in the heat and soups and stews when it’s cool.
Emotionally I do things to counter the wind and fire like meditating and practicing yoga to help me stay connected to a deeper place in myself. A daily and weekly routine (as I mentioned above I’m a fan of routines) helps me feel in control and doing things like hiking, gardening and going to the ocean keeps me connected the grounding nature of the earth. If I feel like I’m scattered… it’s to the garden or hiking trails I go!
So over to you?
What is your constitution? What are the dominate doshas where you live and in the different seasons?
Are there things you can do to reduce the fire (pitta), calm the winds (vata) or energize the earth (kapha)?
When it’s hot or you run hot… do things to stay cool.
When it’s windy or you are windy… do things to stay grounded and connected to the earth.
When it’s damp or you tend towards feeling sluggish… do things to dry out and create heat.
It’s about balance and connection:
This is not meant to be complicated but actually very innate. Ayurveda is all about balancing and connecting to nature. Look around you.. what’s available in the produce section of the grocery store or even better, at the farmers’ market…eat that food. What are the trees, plants and animals doing? Are they growing and active or are they getting ready to hunker down for the season? How long are your days? How hot, cold, windy, dry, damp is it? Use all these cues and help balance yourself out. Again… not complicated but just doing what comes naturally to you and what feels right. For me, it starts with eating seasonally and I’ve taken it from there.
I’d love to hear what you plan to do. Drop me a line and let me know if this makes sense or if you have any questions!