By LeLa Becker
200 Hour E-RYT and Tantra Life Coach
Ayurveda is acknowledging and adjusting the elements within us to energetically align with the elements outside of us and in our environment. Imagine we our microcosms within a massive macroscosm. In Tantra-a study/practice deeply rooted in Ayurveda- it is called “purna”, meaning “whole’. We chant “this is whole, from the wholeness comes the whole. If the whole is removed the wholeness remains.” Meaning we are one in the same. We are connected to the environment around us because it is us and we are it. So obtain optimum health and live a balance life we must learn how to pacify and balance ourselves within the universe. There are three pillars to Ayurveda: Ahar (diet), Swapna (rest and relaxation), and Brahmacharya (control of desires). There are also three doshas: Vata (Air), Pitta (fire), and Kapha (earth) Know your Dosha by taking this test (http://www.ekayogaseattle.com/doshatest/).
It is important to adjust ones rutacharya (daily routine) to what is happening within our environment and then within our lives. It is a practice much like taking ahimsa (ending harmful deeds and thoughts) learned on the mat and into our worlds. Life is a practice and we can only do the best we can to be happy, healthy and free. Shishir (winter) Cold increases in this season. The weather becomes more dry and rough. In this season you have to follow a regimen that gives attention to the cold and Vata. It is currently the Shishir (winter) in Seattle. It is cold and wet. This is very Vata environment. For the purpose of this article I will address each dosha in a vata environment.
If you tested Vata for your dosha and you are living in a Vata environment, then you have the potential to get extremely “vata-ed” out. You may find yourself unable to concentrate or sleep. Spinning in circles and not being able to catch your footing. Balance these days with warm and grounding exercise and food. Quinoa cooked in organic Beef Bone Broth. A hearty, spicy, and spice filled potato stew. Add Ghee to your coffee or morning tea. Use cinnamon, cardamom and ginger when ever possible. I advise rubbing warm sesame seed oil into your skin, especially on the bottoms of your feet. Wear a scarf around your neck and cover your ears when going outside.
Northern India Vata Chai recipe: Add dried herbs to a dry sauce pan: 3 whole cloves, 1 bay leaf, 1 Star of Anise, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 tsp of cardamom seeds, and 1 tsp of peppercorns swirl in pan until you can smell the essential oils seep out of the herbs. Then add about 5 cups of water. My favorite part is when the cold water hits the hot pan coated in the herb’s essential oils and the fragrant steam bellows into the air. Bring to a boil, then immediately turn off, stir in loose black tea and a generous amount of crushed fresh ginger. Allow to seep for 5 minuets then strain out herbs and add water to 5 cups of warm Hemp, Cashew, Almond Milk, or Whole Raw Milk. Add Honey or Stevia to sweeten. Add 1 tsp of Ghee if you are extra cold.
If you tested Pitta and you live in a Vata environment this is your time to shine. It is cool enough where it could balance your firey pitta. Although there is still a potential of being “vata-ed” out depending on how well you are maintaining your pitta. Pittas are fire and water. The water element in a Seattle winter could throw your dosha in one way or another. The best thing to do is acknowledge how you feel that day, maybe even retake the dosha test on the website to see where you register at that moment. If you are cold and showing symptoms of being “vata-ed” out: a lack of concentration or running around in an unproductive circle, then you may need to raise your pitta. Focus on eating plates that are similar to steamed kale, garlic and red lentils add a small amount of ghee and paprika. If you are noticing that you are getting angry easily and having more internal upset such as heartburn then take a break from red meats, spice and fermented products (ie: beer and sauerkraut). Think about eating foods that are cooling like chic peas, plain yogurt, cilantro, and cucumbers. Use an extra bit of salt when ever possible. I advise rubbing coconut or sweet almond oil into your skin, especially on the back of your neck. Drink warm water with a fresh ginger slice and fresh mint leaves.
Pitta Chai recipe: Add dried herbs to a sauce pan with 5 cups of water: 1 tsp of Cardamom Seeds, 2 tsp of Fennel, 1 tsp Licorice Root, 1 tsp Coriander Seeds, 1 tsp of fenugreek seeds, 2 strains of saffron (opt) and generous amount of crushed ginger Bring to a boil, strain out herbs and add water to 5 cups of warm Coconut, Almond Milk or Skim Milk. Add a ½ tsp of Rose Water. Add Raw Cane Sugar or Stevia to sweeten.
If you tested kapha and you live in a Vata environment. Be careful it is very easy to hibernate during this season. Kaphas are the earth-cool and moist-because our environment is cold and most it might tilt our kapha to excess. It is important to watch your kapha tendencies in this season. Rub Toasted Sesame Seed Oil all over the body, pay special attention to the belly. Get up and go for a walk.
Southern India Kapha Chai Recipe: Add dried herbs to a dry sauce pan: 3 whole cloves, 1 bay leaf, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 tsp of cardamom seeds, 1 tsp of peppercorns, ½ vanilla bean pod and 3 mustard seeds Swirl in pan until you can smell the essential oils seep out of the herbs. Then add about 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then immediately turn off, stir in loose black or green tea and a generous amount of crushed fresh ginger. Allow to seep for 5 minuets then strain out herbs and add water to 5 cups of warm Almond, Coconut, Rice or 2% Milk. Add Stevia to sweeten.
Stay warm, eat right, meditate, practice love.