Last weekend I went to the most entertaining all-day lecture with Dr N G Kostopoulos and Vaidya A Barot on the Principles of Ayurveda. Laughter flowed freely. They also give their knowledge freely but ask that we, in payment, “leave 1% of yourself for others. Open your heart by giving to others”.
Dr Kostopoulos began by telling us that Ayurveda is very specific, nothing is vague. It is 10 times more precise than modern medicine which is too general. Ayurveda gives us easy access to information about ourselves, both physical and mental. Ayurveda views us in terms of our physical energies, Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These are our ‘doshas’, our blueprint for health and fulfillment, telling us about our type, our leaning, our disposition and vulnerabilities. When these energies are out of balance, certain diseases can be explained.
To illustrate Vata, Pitta and Kapha he used animal examples. Look at the monkey, he said to illustrate Vata - which derives from the elements of Space and Air and translates as “wind”. The monkey has a lot of kinetic energy, a lot of Vata, moving erratically, constantly and aimlessly. Vata is prominent in his brain and in his genetics. Survival comes from moving fast to escape predators. They eat banana, a settling, Kapha food. They can’t eat more Vata foods, not chillies! They would be flying! This is how nature works.
Vata people can’t make up their minds about doing this or that, preferring to go here or there. If you have a lot of vata kinetic energy your body will be a little thinner, fast moving, and your ideas will be fast moving as well. Enthusiastic but you can also lose your enthusiasm easily. You go for something but you can also withdraw from something as well.
Pitta derives from the elements of Fire and Water and Dr Kostopolous illustrated this dosha with Tiger energy. This is a Pitta animal, representing aggression, concentration and combustion. They have penetrating eyes, very careful movements and they hunt and kill for food. (The monkey doesn’t have to hunt, bananas don’t run away! This food needs a totally different mind-set to the food-hunting tiger). The tiger is total Pitta. They have so much Pitta, they can consume raw meat. Pita people are precise and have an intense, sharp, fiery nature. They know exactly what they want. They know exactly when the need to eat and when they are hungry they get irritated.
Kapha derives from the Sanskrit word ‘shlish’ meaning ‘that which holds things together’. This type is about strong structure. Look at the elephant which is very strong, smooth, deliberate movements, plenty of reserves of energy, stoic. He can survive; he is difficult to attack. Kapha people are patient, grounded, heavier... they love to eat. They should do more dynamic yoga. They love Savasana, sleep, not exercising, community and family.
We are all slightly different, different percentages of these three qualities which is why modern medicine loses its grip because it needs the average person to have effect on the biggest percentage of the population. Yoga and Ayurveda are targeted processes to bring an imbalanced state back to balance. You can google quizzes to check your dosha type. At the very least this can give you clues about what foods to avoid and what type of exercise to do.
November is here but we can still heat up the studio with our energy. There’s plenty of room in class next week. See attached for class availability.
Tonight, I’ll be at Triyoga from Charlie Merton’s gong bath workshop: 20 minutes of working with mantra, 20 minutes of breath and mudra, 40-45 minutes postures and 40 minutes of gong bath. It’s at 19:45 - 21:45. Come with me!
Yoga in the News
Kent Online Iswar Sharma from Sevenoaks wins Euro yoga gold. ‘Ten-year-old Ishwar Sharma from Sevenoaks travelled to Bordeaux to represent the UK in the European Yoga Championship - and came home with a gold medal in the Boys 9-11 category!’
The Hindustan Times has: Mudra an obscene gesture? UK court dismisses complaint. ‘A British court has dismissed a case against an Indian-origin woman whose daily Yoga practice by a beach near her house in Sussex infuriated a neighbour-couple, who believed her hand ‘Mudra’ to be an obscene gesture aimed at them and complained to the police.’
Glamour UK has: Your ultimate guide to chakras and how to optimise your daily performance with them. It’s a nice little article. The writer says: ‘Each chakra also concerns itself with more direct emotional and physical symptoms, so along with the colours I want to teach you how to use these powerful energy centres to benefit your daily life’.