Ayurveda in Spring
I've long been an advocate of the ancient Indian Ayurvedic philosophy. It works at all times in life, but in my experience comes into its own during our middle years when the body dries out and frankly we need all the help we can get. In our super-frantic-stressed-out-world more and more people are taking Ayurveda's sage principles on board and it is finally having its well-deserved moment. Hardly surprising really as the practice is so easily integrated into everyday life - think more herbs and spices in cooking (simply adding turmeric to food - see here and here for ideas), living and eating in sync with life's daily rhythms and doing more yoga and meditation. Not rocket science eh?
I've written about Ayurveda many times but this piece on the indigenous beauty secrets for Asia Spa magazine is a good starting point. At the heart of the vibrant philosophy is the concept that our bodies are a microcosm of the universe with three governing forces (or doshas) at work: Vata (air), Pitta (fire) and Kapha (earth). And just as each of us has an individual face or thumbprint, we also have a unique pattern of energy, or combination of physical, mental and emotional characteristics that corresponds with these doshas. We are said to be in good health when the doshas are balanced and the key to health and beauty, Ayurveda style, is treating the body, mind and spirit as one to maintain this balance.
Spring is the perfect season to get into the Ayurvedic rhythm and no better guide to set us on our way than Sunita Passi, Ayurvedic teacher and founder of the world-class Tri Dosha skincare range (which you will see listed amongst my favourites). "Focus on bringing the kapha dosha into balance for a healthy, happy Spring," Sunita says. "Kapha endows our bodies with its earthy-watery qualities and after a sluggish winter, you may have weight gain, water retention, or heaviness in your limbs. Kapha accumulates during winter and can create challenges in your health by the time Spring arrives because of its earthy-watery nature, it’s very dense and heavy, and it can stick like mud."
Try Tri-Dosha's kapha-rebalncing Energise body oil (£23.00/€27.00/100ml) to invigorate a sluggish system and reawaken springtime energy and the Face scrub (£23.00/€27.00/60ml) overflows with forty-three Ayurvedic herbs to cleanse and refresh lacklustre skin.
Tips for rebalancing an out-of-sync Kapha
- Move more: High-impact exercise helps boost metabolism and release endorphins.
- Mind power: Set daily goals for visualisation to combat bouts of laziness and further a positive mentality.
- Breathe easy: Pranayama or controlled breathing (often called ‘bellows breath’) deepens the quality of your breathing, while meditation helps to further rebalance kapha as it purifies the respiratory system.
- Food: Eat more fresh, seasonal, cooked and easily digestible foods. Cook with spices including turmeric, cumin and others. Choose grains like barley, buckwheat, couscous, oatbran and seeds. where possible, avoid mucous producing foods like dairy products and very fatty foods as these can aggravate the system.
- Touch therapy: Kapha constitutions thrive on energising treatments so scrub your body daily with a body brush and enjoy a deep massage with a qualified therapist.
- Gem therapy: The appropriate use of gems helps to balance the aura and harmonise the body. Ruby and red garnet help reduce excess kapha, while Lapis Lazuli (known as he heavenly stone) helps increases internal vibrations and boost energy.
In essence, Ayurveda provides a pattern for a whole way of living which many people are craving now. According to author and wellness expert Deepak Chopra 'the guiding principle of Ayurveda is that the mind exerts the deepest influence on the body, and freedom from sickness depends upon contacting our awareness, bringing it into balance and extending that balance to the body.'
Finally, if you happen to be anywhere close to Nottingham on May 13th check out Sunita's Unplugged Space - a mass meditation in Old Market Square and the first of many we hope......