Do you often feel frazzled? Frayed? Scattered, ungrounded, or airy? Or challenged to keep your focus and attention somewhere? Maybe you’ve even been classified as having ADD, ADHD, anxiety, insomnia, etc…?
Personally, I have a really sensitive nervous system and can feel ‘frayed’ pretty easily. I think my sensitivity is a special gift in a lot of ways ~ I appreciate that my awareness is able to pick up on so much. But also, I know I have to take special care of myself. I can easily get overloaded, overstimulated, and feel off-balance.
For those of you who can relate, I’ve put together a simple top ten list of ways to help nourish your nervous system.
Elements: Earth + Water
Qualities: moist, cold, heavy, static, sticky, soft, cloudy, slow and smooth
Governs: Cohesion, Lubrication, Nourishment and Repair
Life Phase: birth to puberty
Season: Late Winter to Spring
Lunar Phase: Full Moon
Daily Cycle: 6am – 10 am and 6pm – 10pm
Kapha arises from the elements of earth and water. It is the energy of cohesion, lubrication, nourishment and repair. Kapha is the feeling of safety, groundedness and well being.
It is the weight, the strength and the juiciness of our body and mind. The refined essence of kapha is ojas.
Kapha is like a swan, an elephant or a whale.
Qualities of Kapha in the Body + Mind:
People with a lot of kapha in their constitution are curvy, voluptuous or strong and hearty. They can have plump, full lips, big dewy eyes and thick lustrous hair with darker tones.
Their joints are usually deep seated, and the body is full or thick.
Kapha energy creates a sense of easiness and relaxation. People with a lot of kapha are more down to earth and like to go with the flow. They often don’t want to ‘rock the boat’ and just want everyone to be happy.
Kapha is nurturing and caring. It supports healers and caregivers. Kapha types are deep listeners, long-lasting lovers, and big-hearted honey’s. Kapha creates compassion, forgiveness, calmness, happiness and contentment.
Excess kapha creates weight gain, mucous, phlegm, sinus congestion, clammy skin, heaviness, lethargy, water retention, swollen joints, a cold body and weak digestion. Excess kapha in the mind brings your attention to the past. It creates depression, attachment, hoarding, fogginess in the mind, a dullness, loss of inspiration, and difficulty letting go. Often times people with a strong kapha constitution find it challenging to express their emotions.
Late winter and early spring are the seasons of kapha dosha. The elements of earth and water are predominate. The spring rains and melting snow make the earth and soil heavy, thick and damp. Everything is wet, sticky and muddy. This can create the feelings of heaviness or dampness in the body, and things like sinus congestion or spring allergies can show up.
After eating heavier winter foods and building extra fat to nourish the nervous system, the build up of kapha in the body is ready to be cleared out for the summer. Clearing out the ama or plaque that might have built up, the heaviness, the extra fat or even the mucous clears the channels for more spaciousness to help the body stay cool in the summer.
How To Balance and Enhance Kapha::
Elements: Fire + Water
Qualities: oily, sharp, hot, light, acidic, spreading and liquid
Governs: Transformation, Conversion, Digestion
Life Phase: Puberty to Menopause, Middle Age, Maiden/Mother
Lunar Phase: Waxing Moon to Full Moon
Daily Cycle: 10am – 2pm and 10pm – 2 am
Pitta arises from the elements of fire and water. It is the energy of transformation, conversion and digestion. It’s like the sun or the fire within our bodies that breaks down and transforms. It creates heat and gives light.
Pitta creates luster, confidence, clear vision, and a strong will. It helps us discriminate, speak to the point, maintain body temperature and adds color to life.
Pitta is like a hawk or a tiger.
Qualities of Pitta in the Body + Mind:
Pitta is expressed in radiant, colorful or piercing eyes. People with high pitta tend to have strong facial features – a sharp nose, strong jawline, or heavy brow bone. They tend to have fair skin that is sensitive to the sun and also freckles, red fiery hair or blonde colorings. High pitta also creates balding or early graying of the hair.
The pitta body is of medium build and medium height, with more muscle tone or a stronger physique.
Strong pitta creates strong leadership – good speaking skills, goal oriented and big visions. It also creates a desire for organization, neatness, and having things “in order.” Making lists, having a plan, and being on time or right on schedule is pitta to a T. Pitta is witty, intelligent, and easily in the present moment.
Excess pitta creates a sharp tongue and can lead to criticizing or hurtful words. It causes irritability, anger, annoyance, frustration and a hot temper.
High pitta creates acid reflux, inflammation, skin rashes, acne, heartburn, diarrhea, infections, excess sweating, sensitivity to heat and light, burning sensations, sharp headaches, migraines, red eyes, and an acidic smell.
Summer emphasizes the elements of fire and water – the energy of pitta dosha.
Summer is hot, bright and colorful. During the summer months, the intensity of pitta creates more pitta within you.
In the beginning of the summer people often feel motivated, exuberant, and charged up for the months ahead. By the end of the summer and long, hot days, the build-up of pitta can create burn-out, exhaustion, a hot temper, irritability, or any of the signs of pitta imbalance from excess heat. Summer season, pitta season, is a time for everyone to be more mindful of balancing their pitta.
In the lunar cycle, pitta is strongest during the waxing to full moon. Goddess Artemis is the perfect archetype to represent the energy of the waxing moon, or pre-ovulation. Strong, fierce, pulling back the bow to unleash the arrow for her target personifies the feelings for the pitta lunar phase.
How To Balance and Enhance Pitta Dosha ::..
Elements : Ether + Air
Qualities : dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, mobile
Governs : Movement, Change, Mobility
Life Phase : Elder, Crone, Old Age
Season : Winter
Lunar Phase : Dark Moon
Daily Cycle : 2 am – 6 am + 2 pm – 6 pm
Vata is the first and most subtle dosha, arising from the elements of ether and air. It is very light, changing, ethereal and quick.
Vata governs all the movement within the body and nature. It is the energy of action and transportation. It is the wind. It is constantly on the move. It is light, strong and expansive.
Vata is like a hummingbird.
Qualities of Vata Dosha in the Body + Mind:
Vata is all about movement in your body and mind. It is the movement of food moving from your mouth, down your throat and all the way through and out your colon. It moves menstruation down and out, moves your breath, and moves the neurological functions of your brain and nerve impulses. Vata is the beating rhythm of your heart and the action of blood flowing through your veins.
Just like the wind, vata can be quick, changeable, and a powerful force that can move fire, water or earth.
Vata in the body has a light, dry, subtle and quick influence.
People with a lot of vata energy can be very tall, thin, and kind of lanky. Or they could be very short and petite. Their bones tend to be long, thin, and more protruding. Hair can be rough, dry and light. Curly hair or thin, dry, or coarse hair is vata hair. The same with the skin – it is dry, tends to be more rough or very subtle and might even have a translucent quality to it. There will be more coldness to the skin. High vata also creates coldness in the extremities.
People with a surplus of vata energy love movement and action. When they tell a story, it can appear they are talking with their whole body and or they might make a lot of hand gestures. Or they might move around, pace, tap their feet, or have trouble sitting still.
Vata people love to travel, love to be on the go, love spontaneity and random schedules.
In the mind and emotions, vata creates: excitement, joy, creativity, inspiration, intuition, imagination and amazement.
Vata is strong in artists, dancers, writers, poets, luminaries, psychics and energy workers.
High vata, or an excess or blockage creates mental imbalances. Too much vata contributes to: worry, fear and doubt. It creates ADD, an inability to focus, a feeling of being ungrounded, insomnia, dizziness, light-headedness, anxiety, OCD, and most mental disorders.
High vata in the body creates: restlessness, dry skin, dry eyes, constipation, bloating, gas, thinness, weight loss or a lack of healthy fat (also seen as a lack of self-love), varicose veins, tremors, coldness, poor circulation, tightness, twitching, pain, and insecurity.
The fall and early winter bring forth the qualities of vata. The air is cold, light, and windy. The leaves are dry and rough. The wind is variable and moving. Fall is a time of harvest – business or extra movement to get things done in preparation for the upcoming winter ‘hibernation.’ The dryness, coldness, strong winds and rough weather increases vata energy in everyone.
Ojas – the essence of kapha dosha
The subtle dosha Ojas arises from the dosha kapha. Kapha is the energy of earth and water. It is the stabilizing, building, physicality of the body.
Ojas is the pure essence of all the bodily tissues, the refinement and nectar that is created when the dhatu agnis (tissue metabolism) is prime and tejas is balanced. Ojas is the gel of consciousness, the container.
Tejas ~ the subtle essence of pitta dosha
The subtle dosha Tejas arises from the dosha of pitta. Pitta is the energy of fire and water. It is the transformative power within the body.
Tejas is the burning flame of pure intelligence, the luminosity of awareness, the spark of consciousness.
Prana - the subtle essence of Vata dosha
The subtle dosha Prana arises from the dosha of vata. Vata is the energy of space and air. It governs all movement in the body.
Prana is the flow of intelligence and the pulse of consciousness.
Agni is Sanskrit for “fire.”
Agni, the fire within, is responsible for the digestion, absorption, assimilation and transformation of food and experiences into energy. Ayurveda classifies 40 different agnis, or fires, within the body. The largest, and most significant fire is jāthara agni – the main digestive fire where the stomach meets the small intestine.
A strong, balanced agni is fundamental to good health.