Christiana Lang, 126
No, it’s not phonetic Thai. It is the phonetic for a Sanskrit word: Ayurveda, meaning life-knowledge. This funky word encompasses a 5,000 year old medicinal Hindu practice that is still revered as the main healthcare many rural Indian people choose over western medicine options. Instead of treating a symptom after an illness occurs, Ayurveda seeks to prevent ailments or sickness by understanding what our body is lacking, what it is kicking ass at already, and what it needs less of to remain healthy (aka: balance). Essentially, this ancient knowledge is the science behind the practice of yoga and the mother of preventative healthcare.
Now for the fun stuff.
According to Ayurveda, all humans fall under one of three categories or “Doshas”. For those of who who detest any form of labeling, don’t worry, you are able to be a duel or tri-dosha as well. Much like your hair-color, your Dosha will change at different points in your life. Sometimes it changes on its own, though most times it will change due to environment, life experience or relationships.
Here is a short description of the Three Doshas:
Pitta Dosha (Governed by: Fire and Water)
Pitta Doshas are typically of medium build, good muscle mass and usual maintained weight. Due to your eternally hot body, Pitta Dosha can enjoy sweaty armpits at least 90% of the time. Despite the armpit sweat, you are a good leader and skilled with organization and concentration. Pitta Dosha has a strong appetite prone to irritability if a meal is missed. You can look forward to early grey hair and are inherently more prone to hair-thinning and balding. Pitta Dosha is passionate about pretty much everything.
Kapha Dosha (Governed by: Water and Earth)
Your Dosha is known for luxurious hair, thick skin and large, wide eyes. Kapha Doshas tend to favor comfort over wanderlust and slow, steady projects as opposed to quick fixes. Tong sia isn’t usually an issue for you as digestion remains steady even through the gnarliest of papaya salads. Personality traits lean toward the loving and supportive side, or at worst, complacent indifference. If you were an Aesop’s Fables character, you would be the Tortoise that wins the race.
Vata Dosha (Governed by: Space and Air)
Typically a free spirit with a fluttering mind that though may lack concentration, Vata Dosha makes up for with ample amounts of creativity. Travel suits you and you run after it, unless there is a squirrel, then you might run after the squirrel with on par agility. Vata Dosha typically has dry skin and a thin frame with a difficult time gaining weight. In real life (aka back in America) you are always cold with not much circulation running to your hands or feet. Your Energizer-bunny drive makes sleep light and newness both exciting and anxiety filled.
Take this short, free quiz to identify your Dosha: Dosha Quiz
Okay so, you know your Dosha. You kind of understand what this weird word Ayurveda means. And, you are wondering why this is something you should spend brainpower on knowing. I have an answer for that: ASEAN is coming. Just kidding, not ASEAN, hot season. Hot season is coming, and if like me, you are a Pitta Dosha, this means bad news bears. Pitta Doshas during hot season can turn into time bombs ticking with each cup of coffee, peppery Pad Thai, or Tamarind pod. When ones Dosha is out of balance, sickness ensues. It’s that simple.
If you are a Vatta Dosha and find yourself stuck in a rural Thai village without vacation days to travel, you might need to research Kapha Dosha best practices to help your restless self feel grounded. If you are a Kapha Dosha and the copious amounts of white rice have you rolling around in wallow, it will help to check into what foods Vatta Dosha recommends. This is where Ayurveda can get a bit complicated (that’s why they have schools and research centers for this).
Here are some tricks I have conjured up to keep your Dosha balanced during the hot season in Thailand. As the weather shifts from hot to rainy, then rainy to winter, check in with your body and then your Dosha to see what you might need to feel more balanced. Let’s be real though, its hot season all the time in Thailand so…
If you are Pitta Dosha, during summer season:
-Chill out on: gluay-tot, gai-tot, anything “tot”, really. Fried foods are not your friend in hot season.
-Reconsider the scoop of prik in your guay tieaw. No need to add heat to your internal heater.
-Buy a blender and sa-mootheyyyy it up. Or, buy some awesome fruits/veggies, take them to your local coffee tent/shop, ask them to blend them up, then laugh at their confusion and disgust. #icedcoffeesubstitute
-Decide on a calming down tactic to turn to when you feel like punching someone in the face (ex: a mantra, a cold towel compress, exercise regimen, lock yourself in the bathroom….the list goes on)
-If you’re gonna get buzzed, do it at night and avoid things like Guinness, Fireball and other alcohol items that Thailand usually doesn’t have anyway.
If you are Kapha Dosha, during summer season :
-Take an early morning walk with your coffee or ginger tea with lemon before your day begins.
-Take a trip to Tetco Lotut, purchase good black pepper, tumeric or ginger in any form and Googun some recipes. Most spices will boost your energy when the heat seems to have killed it.
-Don’t snack on nuts.
-Try and limit sweets, heavy cooked meals and salt. Salads or raw prepared meals are a better option (unless its meat, obviously don’t eat meat raw…duh).
-Gin Pet Dai Ka. Spicy food in summer time shouldn’t create any problems for you.
If you are Vatta Dosha, during summer season:
-Hot season shouldn’t bug you too much…in America. Thailand’s hot season is like Summer on crack so don’t be surprised if you are suddenly enemies with your once favorite season.
-For the summer, take a break on the vigorous running and take up some Vinyasa yoga instead.
-Snack on nuts.
-Stick to a similar bed time and wake time or routine that you love.
-Sweet, sour and heavy fruits (Oranges, Bananas, Grapes, Pineapple, Papaya) are a better choice than apples or dried fruit.
-Lay off the Prickly Heat. Try using coconut oil instead of lotion or powder.
If that basic explanation on Ayurveyda wasn’t enough to quench your now burning desire to learn more,, feel free to dive into the websites listed below. Or, if you have specific questions on the art and science of living/eating/living according to Ayurveda, please reach out to me. If your question is complicated or you don’t like me, feel free to email Ms. SaraJean Shakti Rudman, a dear friend and licensed Ayurvedic practitioner hailing from New England: AhimsaAyurveda@gmail.com Web site: BalaStrong.com
Categories: Healthy Living