When you're lying awake
With a dismal headache,
And repose is taboo'd by anxiety...
And you're hot, and you're cross,
And you tumble and toss...
Well, you get some repose
In the form of a doze,
With hot eye-balls and head ever aching.
But your slumbering teems
With such horrible dreams
That you'd very much better be waking...
These words from a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta provide a vivid description of what it can feel like to be out of balance. Anxiety, nightmares, headache, irritation, fever...it sounds as if pitta is out of balance along with some vata. The kapha version might go more like
When you're sluggish and dull
And you slumber and snore
And you're heavy and slow and lethargic...
Nobody enjoys being out of balance, yet the truth is, we all believe we enjoy doing the things that can cause us to be 'lying awake with a dismal headache'. All the things we think we like doing but which are actually harmful for our wellbeing fall into the category of 'crimes against wisdom', known in Sanskrit as prajnaparadh. Maybe your body type is vata and you can't understand how you ended up so anxious and nervous, with constipation and aches and pains. Chances are, you've been eating a lot of salads, drinking coffee, snacking irregularly on energy bars and chips and getting to bed late. The dry, cold and irregular qualities of your lifestyle are disturbing to your vata. If you're pitta and feeling as hot and bothered as the poem describes, look at the salt, chilies, fried foods and citrus fruits in your diet. Salty, oily, pungent and sour tastes are very disturbing to pitta, as are alcohol and marijuana. And if you're kapha and feeling sluggish and dull, think about your after dinner ice cream, sugary and starchy foods and heavy meals in the evening. Sweet, cold and heavy foods are very disturbing to kapha. They may seem comforting at the time, but they are not really worth the sluggishness that follows.
Understanding that our own choices have led us to be out of balance helps us appreciate that we have the power to make a positive change. An ayurvedic doctor can assist you in appreciating and reversing the causes of imbalance, so you not only regain your well-being, but also maintain it!
Alakananda Ma M.B., B.S. (Lond.) is an Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is a well known and highly respected practitioner in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.
Enliven your holistic health! Visit Alakananda Ma in Alandi Ashram’s ayurvedic clinic to support the overall rejuvenation of your body, mind, and spirit. In-person and virtual appointments available. Book now!