a dosha’s balance.

you are what you eat

Photo taken with my Canon SLR: vegetable market in Malaysia, September 2011

Recently, my husband and I went through Panchakarma, an Ayurvedic therapy of eliminating toxins where after a strict diet and 5 different treatments (panch=five in Sanskrit), we were “cleansed”. While we did a shorter version, (the diet for 3 weeks and therapies for 1 week), I can feel the shift within my body. My treatments included abhyanga massage, shirodhara, navarikhizi, (all heavenly), and 2 types of oil enemas, basti, (not so heavenly).  I will say there were moments we got bored with the same spices or same vegetables, (it’s very strict). But it definitely felt good to my gut.

I was always pretty in tune with my body and ate healthy since youth, (my sister recalls how I never wanted soda with my pizza as a little kid, opting for tall glasses of water  instead and my husband jokes about how when he ordered a Jamaican beef patty at my college dining hall, I was ordering a large salad with extra kidney beans and broccoli on top). We have both of course evolved from our college days, but I attribute my most recent heightened awareness of flavors and energy lifting foods to this body purifying process we just underwent and also having a deeper understanding of my dosha, (vata). The dosha refers to the energies or life forces that combine the 5 basic elements each of us is born with, (space, air, fire, water, earth). There is Vata-space and air, Pitta-water and fire, and Kapha-water and earth. We all have all three, but your body type will always have one dominant one which controls how your body works.

What I loved about this specific cleanse was that Ayurveda is so in tune with the external environment. It’s about creating harmony between naure and delicate internal structure of our cells. Ayurveda believes that everything in the universe is connected, and good health is when your mind, body and spirit are in tune with the universe. I learned that it isn’t about just meditating, doing yoga, being raw more that not, juicing all the time, taking random superfood supplements every day or cutting out gluten and dairy. All those things are great to do, but I am learning to modify some of my old “healthy” patterns to fit in my new Ayurvedic lifestyle.

It’s important to listen to your body cues before letting your mind tell you what is healthier than not. For instance, to eliminate cold in the body, eating cooked warmer foods rather than cold salads in certain seasons and according to your dosha, (your body type), is sometimes better.

That “hot” yoga is not the truest asana practice and while it can feel great, (I love it sometimes), it is not for everyone/not to be done everyday. Meditation, on the other hand, is never something you need to limit.

Dairy is okay if it is conjucation with your body type, depending on how it is made or prepared, (raw. organic, grass-fed and usually warmed milk or home-made paneer, not processed cheese).

Gluten is not the enemy for everyone unless you are allergic, just be aware of the type of wheat, especially in this country, (I buy imported wheat when I make roti).

Of course fruits and veggies are amazing, especially if you are vegetarian like me so eat plenty of them. But I am finding the balance of which ones can induce certain emotions due to their chemistry for instance, so will cut out certain ones during my menstrual cycle or when I am stressed.

And it doesn’t mean never have a glass of Russian River Pinot Noir with a chocolate truffle for dessert or never eat a slice of pizza and cold beer when at Pizza Port. What I am finding is that even those indulgences bring me joy in much smaller quantities and the next evening, my body craves kichdhi, (steamed mung lentils with basmati rice).

Growing up, as my grandmother prepared all her Ayurvedic concoctions and remedies in my home, when she fasted or ate at a certain time of the day/certain foods during certain months…I didn’t realize what it all meant until now. And I have never in my life, felt more connected to a completely healthy, happy 80 something year old woman, (age is not a big deal to her, so all we know is she is in her 80’s at this point).

As a yoga teacher, balance, of all types- physical, emotional and spiritual, is what I thrive off of. So I guess this Ayurveda thing is all about this fine balance and awareness…and I am truly loving every bite of it.

Comments

  1. Thanks Puja for the great article. It was very inspiring and well written. I look forward to hearing more of your insights.

    Namaste

  2. Thanks so much Mo!

  3. Puja I loved reading this article 🙂 You are such an inspiration and I feel in my body the same way about following our body’s guidance and connecting with our external environment. So much magic happens this way! Hope you and your sweet family are well 🙂

  4. totally agree and thank you so much kristin! 🙂

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