Photographer: Nadin Mario
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This is the third in a series of posts to introduce you to the Ayurvedic approach to health. In the first post I introduced you to your constitution and explained why it is important to live in balance with this if you want a strong immune system. The second post explained how to recognise when you are shifting out of balance and what remedy to apply.
In this post I talk a little more about why the balance of your constitution is so important – in a nutshell when you live out of balance with your nature the conditions for illness start to be created, and your immune function is weakened. Understanding what to do about this is the basis for your Ayurvedic preventative healthcare plan.
Your constitution is made up of the doshas which reside in your digestive tract and allow for specific bodily functions, while they remain in balance within the digestive tract all is well. But if any of the doshas move out of balance, your digestion will be undermined. If they overflow through the digestive lining into the other tissues of plasma/lymph, blood, fat, muscle, bone, nerve and reproductive, they become toxic to your system, and prevent your cells from functioning properly. Healthy cells are essential for a healthy life.
Persistent digestive problems are a sign that the doshas are moving out of balance creating the conditions where disease will thrive. research has been showing that the severity of COVID-19 symptoms relate to the state of the persons gut health – when the health of the gut is compromised, many systems within the gut can be affected and immunity is weakened.
I talked about the doshas that make up the 3 different constitutional types in the previous two articles of this series. When Vata dosha is out of balance this will affect the body processes that involve movement – nutrients will not arrive in the cells properly. Pitta dosha out of balance effects metabolism – the cells will not be able to metabolise the nutrients that arrive with them properly. Kapha dosha out of balance effects the processes of lubrication and structure – the structure of the cells will be undermined as will the processes requiring lubrication within the body.
And so, when our constitution moves out of balance – dosha imbalance – and this is not corrected, it leads to our cells not functioning properly, and we create the conditions where disease will thrive.
This can happen due to food and lifestyle choices, as well as trauma, relationships, the seasons, the weather, and living out of balance with the natural rhythms of life.
Vascant Lad, an Ayurvedic physician and founder of The Ayurvedic Institute, has said that balance is the natural order of things and imbalance is disorder. Ayurveda views health as order and disease as disorder.
There are specific rhythms that impact the doshas and can help them to remain in balance. For instance, living in balance with the rhythms of the day; the rhythm of the seasons; the rhythm of your years; the rhythm of your meals.
Understanding how to create a daily rhythm for our lives that takes all of this into account can bring huge health benefits – Ayurveda calls this daily rhythm dynacharia. Here is what Vasant Lad has to say about dynacharia:
“A daily routine is absolutely necessary to bring radical change in body, mind, and consciousness. Routine helps to establish balance in one’s constitution. It also regularizes a person’s biological clock, aids digestion, absorption and assimilation, and generates self-esteem, discipline, peace, happiness, and longevity.”
In the next article I will be outlining how to create a healthy daily rhythm – dinacharya. But to get started you could begin with getting out of bed before 6 am, falling asleep before 10 pm and eating your largest meal at midday.
Read the next post to find out why!