Ayurveda & Meditation Together
Feb 01, 2018 12:00AM
The ancient art of ayurveda helps us regain connection with our body, life energy (prana) and mind. Meditation is also a process of introspection and awareness of the inner dimensions that exist deep inside us. From this standpoint, ayurveda and meditation go hand-in-hand in promoting a balanced and conscious lifestyle.
Ayurveda teaches us how to understand our constitution and to identify what circumstances, such as weather, seasons, social and work atmosphere, alter our state of balance. On a daily basis, we need to make conscious choices to maintain or restore this balance. This applies not only to our food intake, but also to our emotional intake, and thus our relationships with family, friends and co-workers.
According to ayurveda nature, manifests through three laws or doshas: vata (air and space) rules movement, growth and decay; pitta (fire and water) rules transformation, creation and destruction; and kapha (earth and water) promotes sustainability, strength and stability. On a large scale, these are associated to the seasons: fall is vata season, when wind and decay dominate; the cold and damp winter is kapha season and summer, with its scorching heat, is pitta season. As we become aware of these doshas acting in and around us, we can strive for a harmonious balance of the doshas within ourselves. This balance can be achieved through correct nutrition, dietary supplementation and by going deeper within through meditation.
At the individual level, vata rules the movement of prana in the body and of ideas in the mind. Freshness and enthusiasm, but also nervousness and fear are associated with vata. Pitta promotes digestion of food and of ideas. Pitta people have a sharp intelligence, but can be critical, perfectionists, and become easily angry. Kapha rules the musculoskeletal system and the holding of ideas. Contentment, balance and harmony are manifested by kapha, along with attachment and greed. Together, the three doshas govern all our metabolic and mental processes. Each individual has different amounts of vata, pitta and kapha in their constitution
Ayurveda views the mind as a storehouse of the impressions we access through the senses. For example, pitta is connected to the sense of sight. Too much overstimulation of the eyes affects pitta. Similarly, too many noises or very strong winds affect vata, which is associated to the senses of sound and touch.
In ayurveda, the three doshas are reflected at a higher, non-material level by the primary qualities of nature, the three gunas: sattva – pure consciousness, rajas – motion and action, and tamas – the inertia which resists them. To enhance sattvic qualities and create a better world, we should follow the lifestyle promoted by ayurveda, which includes the daily practice of meditation to get in touch with the deeper part of ourselves, calm our emotions, focus the mind and bring to the fore the qualities and capacities that are stored deep within ourselves.
Dr. Kapila Castoldi is an instructor at the Sri Chinmoy Centre. For more information, visit MeditationAnnArbor.com.