wellbeing

DISCOVERING MY DOSHA AND HOW TO BALANCE IT

|| DISCOVERING MY DOSHA AND HOW TO BALANCE IT ||

Tea India reached out to me to try their new teas and to discover more about my dosha in the Ayurvedic system. One I am obsessed with herbal teas so was interested to try their new range and two I wanted to learn more about my body through the Ayurvedic practice. I’ll be honest I am a bit of a novice when it comes to the Ayurvedic practice but I firmly believe through a better understanding of our system we can find greater balance for our bodies. 

For a overview about Ayurveda, click here

I am Pitta-Vata type so have 2 doshas predominant. Tea India are working with, Geeta Vara, a British Born Practitioner and she suggests in her book ‘Ayurveda - A Practice Guide To Optimal Health, Healing and Vitality’, that if you have a dual dosha it is best to manage it according to the season. So in the winter I’d follow a vata-pacifying regimen and in the summer a pitta-pacifying regime. So what does this mean for me right now?

 

  1. Food

Pitta dominant people are advised to avoid hot foods during the summer. Pitta individuals are hot in nature so we’re to eat cooling foods such as leafy greens, fruit and veggies. 

I suppose I automatically eat cooling foods in the summer and wouldn’t opt in for a hot veggie soup, especially with the weather we’ve been having! I’m not sure where that sits with having herbal teas? 

 

2. Cool exercises

Exercising in a way that is too intense, sharp, and heating can aggravate pitta. 

I am lucky enough to live near a park so am able to do my yoga practice in the shade. I would never choose to practice in the sun and I do struggle to practice abroad when it’s super hot. I usually end with some cooling yin poses and a long savasana for practice anyway, but definitely in winter I consciously want to create more heat to warm up my cold hands and feet. However, I have had days this summer when I really crave greater intensity so will decide to run, or do a boxing class.

I guess you have to listen to what your body wants and then give it what it craves. I guess if you’re a Pitta type you can always balance out a HIIT class with cooling foods.

 

3. Relax your lifestyle

If your lifestyle is very intense and on-the-go, with lots of stress and multiple responsibilities and not a lot of time for rest, this can also stoke the fire of pitta. 

Who’s lives are not on the go? Especially if you live in a busy city. I will however gladly take this on board! I do consciously try to slow down and have managed this by not filling up my diary with tonnes of social engagements. I have also learnt to say no to classes that don’t fit with my schedule, as running round London can burn me out. 

I have been trying Tea India’s new range of herbal tea’s inspired by the dosha’s and I am really impressed! The ‘Peace & Calm’ is designed for the pitta dosha with its blend of fennel, camomile, peppermint, coriander and rose petal, but the whole range is blended to perfection. 

I am looking forward to finishing Geeta Vara’s book and to learn more about Ayurveda! If you want to find out which dosha you are click here

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MY JOURNEY & INSIGHTS ON MEDITATION

My journey & insights on meditation 

Someone sat opposite me at a wedding said to me ‘I don’t believe in meditation, it’s the biggest con’. I spent a minute trying to sway her but then thought fair enough. Sometimes I forget what it must look like from the outside if you have no interest. Being told to sit still for 10 - 30 minutes NO THANKS. 

I started meditation when I was 24, 7 years ago. I did the 10 day free trial on the Headspace app and I loved it. It was a profound experience. I realised that underneath everything going on in my life I was happy and calm somewhere within. And it only took me 10 minutes (at the time) to come to the realisation that everything was ok as it is. I was not drowning under the weight of everything going on, I was not treading water, which I often thought I was. I was just fine. I committed to the 10 days and did it each morning before work. I’ve had moments when I’ve struggled with the practice and moments when I could sit for 40 minutes. There have been times when I feel like I haven’t gotten anything out of it and days when it really helps me land in my body and quieten the noise. 

I have stuck with the practice (albeit at times with a struggle) because I can feel the difference in how I treat myself, and how I react to situations. If I don’t practice and allow things to build up, and don’t allow things to process and filter through, my tone is much harsher. My practice has taught me to notice when my inner critic is fully engaged and that niggly inner voice is getting the better of me. It’s how we interact with our thoughts that is important, how we allow them to manifest and affect us. How we interplay with ourselves affects how we are with others. 

I was chatting to a friend the other day who was upset as a girlfriend of hers said a flippant and hurtful comment that clearly wasn’t thought through. However it was how the girl dealt with the comment after that was most hurtful for my friend. We might say things and think things out of our control (saying is of course more in our control) but it’s how we grab the moment and react to these things, which is important. 

I have random insecure moments when my mind is telling me crazy things, which I know are utterly insane. I have to work hard to accept my insecurity with compassion and then consciously not allow those thoughts to manifest. It might sound unbelievable but only through my practice have I been given the tools to do this. (Not to say that this is the only practice that works but it’s what has served me).

Giving yourself the time to sit allows us the chance to observe what is going on. You might even write some things down that come naturally after meditation. Writing things down in itself is an incredible process for healing and working through stuff. 

Give meditation ago, it takes time so don’t beat yourself. If it’s not for you that’s ok. Figure out what does help you get out of the mind and into the body and in to the present and do that. 

N:B photo taken on the stunning Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe where I meditated each morning to the sunrise. 

DAILY RITUALS FOR INNER PEACE

DAILY RITUALS FOR INNER PEACE

Here are some of my daily rituals that keep me on track and help me find a sense of inner peace. If I have a hectic weekend or a manic week with work and I find my head is in a bit of fluster I come back to my rituals and check in with myself - they help me see more clearly when my judgement is clouded by my thoughts. 

1.     DAILY INTENTION – We're often telling ourselves what we are not and what we can't do or achieve. Choose what you want to be each day! Whether that's strong, courageous, kind, flexible, understanding, patient... Only when we start telling ourselves we are these things do we start to feel and act that way. The brain is a muscle we can train but it takes time and dedication for patterns to shift. In my daily yoga practice I choose a positive word each day and when my mind goes on a tangent I bring myself back to my word for that day.

2.     MEDITATION/MINDFULNESS: Sitting for 10 minutes a day really does calm the mind and help us see more clearly. However, if meditation isn't for you there are other ways other than sitting still that we can practice to focus the mind. You can find stillness in the mind by being mindful when you eat, walk, brush your teeth, shower, or use colouring in meditation books, which help to ground your thoughts to the very moment. We can then begin to use this skill of grounding the mind when we feel anxious, stressed or negative. As soon as these thoughts arise practice tuning into the body and be as present as you can be. Often we realise that our mind has gone on a tangent and by drawing it back in we can deal with the issue at hand with more clarity. 

3.     TIME OUT: Try and find time to yourself to relax even if it's for a few minutes. In the winter I love to take a bubble bath, light scented candles and chill, maybe watch an episode of my favourite programme. In the summer I tend to sit on the balcony and have a glass of wine or go for a stroll in the park. Treat yourself to time that is not rushed. Time that you consciously choose to unwind. It's so tempting to jam pack our lives but try and slow down, and treat yourself to some chill time that's not necessarily hungover time. 

4.    POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS: Feed yourself daily with goodness. Positive affirmation cards are a great way to start the day on a good foot. Pick one each day, read it in the morning and carry it around with you. Whenever you feel a wobble or need something uplifting or some encouraging words, read your card. It’s so simple but such an uplifting way to start the day. 

5.      LETTING OFF STEAM:  If we feel angry or frustrated and our head is spinning having something to turn to that's physical that will help clear your mind is super helpful. For me exercise always makes me feel better. Whether that's playing sport, jumping on a bike and cycling round the park, going for a run or sweating it out in yoga - flushing it out and moving your body will always make you feel a millions times better. But if you feel absolutely exhausted don't force yourself! 

I hope the above helps at times when the mind begins to spiral, and I completely understand that it can feel impossible at times to slow down the thoughts and calm the mind. But if you keep working at it it will become easier!