The Sanskrit word Ayurveda means “Life-Truth” or the “Truth of Life” or “How to Live”, or more simply put: a manual to your body. This manual teaches us how to care for and maintain our bodies. It’s a manual to teach us how to heal our bodies using an energetically mindful approach. Post-ceremony can be an excellent time to learn Ayurveda and begin weaving the practices into your life so you can carry out an intentional, devotional, and loving control of your mind & body through spirit.
As above, so Below; as Below, so above
Ayurveda states that everything in the Universe from the galaxies and giant stars to our planet, our body, and every cell of the body is all made up of the same energies: earth, fire, water, air, and ether(space). These energies work together symphonically to create what we know as all the matter in the Universe. They each possess their own qualities which balance the others like a complex game of Rock-Paper-Scissor revolving like a clock, in a cyclical flow of surrenders and successions.
As galaxies turn their solar systems churn. As the solar systems turn their planets churn. And as planets turn their life organisms churn. And as life organisms turn their individual cells churn. And as these cells turn their organism churns. And as the organisms turn their planet churns. And as the planets turn so do their solar systems, their galaxies, and their Universe. Each of these wheels turns the next which turns the next which turns the next. Each microcosm rotates with its macrocosm and each macrocosm rotates with its microcosms. All are connected and all influence the other.
These rotations might be what we call: seasons. Seasons are a phase that comes and goes. Arises to pass away. Anitya. You may be reading this now in the beginning of or mid-Summer when the temperature outside is brutally hot. Now think for just a moment how the temperature could feel around the beginning of February while we’re in the middle of Winter. These seasonal differences are a reflection of the Earth’s wobble (like a spinning quarter slowing down) as it rotates around the Sun. Around June 21st, the northern hemisphere of the Earth is closest to the Sun, leaving us with hotter temperatures and more energy. From that day until December 21st our Earth tilts the opposite way leaving the Northern hemisphere with colder temperatures and less energy; only to begin the tilt back again bringing in Spring, then Summer, – Autumn then Winter. Again and again. These seasons not only happen throughout our Earth year but also throughout millennia (macrocosm) and even every single day(microcosm).
Surviving Thriving Summer
Summer can be difficult for a number of reasons but it can also be wonderful and magnificent!! Summer is a time of play and relaxation. The hard work of Spring is over and the hard work of Autumn hasn’t started yet. It’s too hot to work outdoors anyway so why not splash and cool off?
This is exactly what Summer time is for. Pitta (fire, sharpness, penetration) is very high in Summer with so much heat and transformational energy. While the sun is high plants are working extra hard to store as much energy into their roots, absorbing the heat of the sun and converting it into cool carbohydrates ready for Winter.
We’re not plants and we don’t photosynthesize so we have to abide by different guidelines to help us through this time of year.
Do more of this:
- Hydrate with water and coconut water, with a squeeze or several slices of lime.
- Eat leafy greens with a bitter, astringent flavor, like watercress, arugula, spinach, & kale.
- Enjoy cucumber, cantaloupe, watermelon, and berries!
- Add Mint, cilantro, and basil to all foods.
- Get your carbs from Basmati rice, wild rice, and quinoa
- Coming around the corner are apples, pears, melons, plums, and prunes. Eat ‘em while they’re in season.
- Reduce intensity in the Mind and Life. Meditate throughout the day. Draw your mind back to your breath and release thoughts as you see them. Same for life. Evaluate what’s important and release what isn’t.
- Wear a sun hat. The heat of the sun and the penetration of UV rays is no joke. Keep your dome cool!
- Wear light-colored clothing. Ever heard the phrase: “Don’t wear white after labor day?” White reflects the most rays, black absorbs all rays. Save the dark tees for cooler days. For now, find fun cool colors to reflect as much light back away from you.
- Take cool to cold showers. This is so important. Let the heat of the day wash down the drain.
- Practice Pranayama like Nadi Shodana (alternate nostril breathing)
Avoid this stuff:
- Salty, oily, fried, and spicy foods, onion, and garlic
- Avoid Caffeine – it’s very stimulating and dehydrating, especially for Vatas & Pittas
- Working outside between 10a and 6p
- (Pittas & Kaphas) Red meat and meats altogether
- Working excessive hours. No flower blooms all year long and neither do you. Take this hot time of year to chill, read a book, vacation, play, and listen. Do you see many wildflowers out this time of year?
- Hot showers. You need no extra heat added to your body.
In the autumn we have pumpkin, in the Winter we have cabbage, in the Spring we have asparagus. Every plant has its season and just because industrial farming has created ways to grow & transport everything year-round doesn’t mean you should be eating everything year-round. Your healthiest life improvement will be to eat fresh, local, seasonal food. Remember, so below, so above. Plants contain the same energies we and the rest of the Universe are made of.
During the Summer you have:
- Green Beans
- Bell Peppers
- Bitter Melon
- Summer Squash
- Summer Seasonal Fruits
Use your intuition and trust yourself.
Seasons of the Day
There are times of the day, even during Winter when it is hotter and more energetic. Likewise, there are times in the millennia that are hotter and more energetic as well as cooler and less energetic. For our purposes here, let’s focus on these seasons throughout each day so that we may incorporate practices into our daily lives rather than spend precious moments thinking in unfathomable timelines.
For practical and personally applicable purposes, the five energies of the Universe have been categorized into three doshas, or “weaknesses”: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
It should be understood that “weakness” is the word used because Ayurveda aims to bring us into alignment and balance with the micro- and macrocosms. Therefore, our own personal “weakness” or “fault” is where we can most easily identify where & when we’re out of alignment and balance. More on this later but for now let’s explore these categories of energies and how they revolve throughout each day and year:
Vata is the combination of air and ether(space); the energies of movement, space, and exploration. Each day this energy is highest between 2 a.m. and sunrise giving us the ability to dream deeply and broadly as well as to touch the spirit realm. The next time Vata’s energy is highest is after 2 p.m. until sunset. This is why you may daydream, yawn, or feel the urge to leave before 5 o’clock. This is natural because Vata’s energy is high during this time.
Following Vata is Pitta energy: fire and water. Pitta is the energy of transformation and change. It’s highest in the middle of the day and the middle of the night: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. & 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. This is why test takers are recommended to start testing at 10 a.m. and why it’s important to settle into bed before 10 p.m. We are at our most alert and active in the middle day and in the middle of the night is when our bodies are more gamed to heal during rest.
Anchoring both of these energies is Kapha: earth & water. Kapha is the energy of grounding, foundation, and steadiness. Kapha is most prevalent in the hours after sunrise until 10 a.m. and after sunset until 10 p.m. Kapha is a relaxed doer energy making mundane tasks easier in the morning but creating easy family time in the evening.
Knowing these categories of energies and their prevalent times of day let’s look at ways we can “go with the flow” to align and balance our own energies while making our lives easier:
First Rise (Vata: 5 – 6:30a)
- Rise with the sun or slightly before the sunrise during Vata hour to take advantage of the lightness of your body.
- Scrape your tongue to remove “ama” built up from the Pitta hours of the night.
- Wash your face to bring in clarity and prepare yourself to be seen by God.
- Drink warm lime/lemon water to ignite the digestive system.
- Pray to let your wishes be known.
- Meditate to listen to what you’re being told.
- Stretch, Walk/Exercise to enjoy the extra movement of your body.
Mega Morning (Kapha: Sunrise – 10a)
- You’ve been healthfully fasting since supper. Now, sit down and break-fast with a light meal. Kapha energy is not for digestion so keep this meal light.
- Do the mundane, the tasks, the things that need to be done to get the things done:
- Daily job checklists
- Cleaning, laundry, “chores”
- Errands (things that don’t require thinking)
Empowered Midday (Pitta: 10a – 2p)
- Time to strategize. Use this time to figure out complex problems.
- Sprint/Planning Meetings.
- Most challenging work that requires focus and thought.
- Sit down and eat a hearty meal. Pitta energy is great for digestion so take advantage to eat a strong meal.
Airy Afternoon (Vata: 2p – Sunset)
- Exercise, walk, stretch, move!
- Any thoughts and imaginations – write them down. You won’t remember them later.
- Things you want to do – write a checklist for Kapha to take care of in the morning.
- Do something creative: write, draw, paint, sing, play
Cooling Evening (Kapha: Sunset – 10p)
- Relax and converse with people
- Eat a light dinner between 6p & just after Sunset. Again, Kapha is not a great digester.
- Stretch to loosen tension built up during the day
- Abhyanga (self-massage) with coconut oil before bed to give appreciation to the body.
- Pray & Meditate to calm the mind
- Scrape your tongue and brush your teeth
- In bed before 10 p.m.!
Transformational Midnight (Pitta: 10p – 2a) This is the hour of great gains. Make use of this time.
Spiritual Dawn (Vata: 2a – Sunrise) After the body has healed, it’s time to listen and learn. Spirit speaks loudest during this time.
Our society’s current norms have built a system that relies on artificial lights, 24/7 fast food, instantaneous worldwide communication, non-stop media “feed”, and work weeks that never end. All of these adaptations have been in an effort to wield our imaginary control over the world, the Universe, and its cycles. Perhaps after your ceremony, you see the illusion has been wreaking havoc on your body and your mind, and our society; but now, armed with this intuitive and fundamental information you can now approach your life in a way that’s pleasing to you, harmonious, and rehabilitative to all.