According to Ayurveda, the world’s oldest health system and sister science of yoga (which I am a best-selling author and expert in) we each handle stress differently. Therefore the way to handle stress will vary for each Dosha, or mind-body type. Get to know your tension triggers and how to stop them in their tracks.
Vatas tend to become anxious when they’re stressed. They have a lot of air energy, which keeps their thoughts moving. Their energy is focused on the future which causes them to worry about outcomes that may not even occur. They have trouble sleeping at night because their minds are racing like the autumn wind. They over-analyze situations, repeating responses and going through ways the situation could potentially go wrong, bringing them deeper into anxiety. It’s important for Vatas to practice grounding, become present in the moment and come back to the breath.
Soothe stress by:
1. Spending time in nature barefoot
That way, you can rebalance your energy with the negative ions from the Earth, grounding your body and bringing your energy down to your lower chakras to regain balance
2. Coming back into the moment
Noticing what you hear, what you smell, what you taste, what you see. Get out of your head and back into your body.
3. Returning to the breath
Come back to your home-base: your breath. Every time we are anxious, it’s because we forget to breathe. Simply by returning to the most human thing you can do- inhale and exhale- you re-centre your mind, body and spirit.
Pittas become stressed out the most easily of the Doshas because they are full of fire energy. When a Pitta is stressed, they snap, erupting like a volcano. Because they have so much fire within their bodies, it’s important to cool down. They can be so in the present that they forget about the future repercussions of their actions or their past experiences with that person. That may make them say some things they don’t really mean. It’s important for Pittas to cool down to put out that flame within them so they can regain balance.
Soothe stress by:
- Taking some cooling pranayama
- Sitali is the practice of breathing diaphragmatically with your lips shaped into the letter “O.” To practice:
- Sit comfortably with your eyes closed and come back into your breath into a meditative state for several minutes, focusing on the breath
- When ready, curl your tongue lengthwise and project it out of the mouth
- Inhale deeply across the tongue and into the mouth as if drinking through a straw. You will feel the cooling sensation of the breath on your tongue. Bring that breath into your abdomens.
- Put your tongue back in your mouth and exhale completely through the nostrils
- Continue for 2-3 minutes, gradually working up to 10 minutes
- Practicing Sitkari, another cooling breathing technique. To practice:
- Sit comfortably with your eyes closed.
- Press your lower and upper teeth together and separate your lips as much as you comfortably can so your teeth are exposed to the air.
- Inhale through the gaps in the teeth and create a hissing sound as you breathe in through your teeth.
- Close the mouth and slowly exhale through the nose.
- Continue for 2-3 minutes, gradually working up to 10 minutes.
- Spending time near water
Pittas are naturally hot in nature and do very well when they’re in cooling environments, such as the ocean, by a river or lake. Take a weekend trip near a body of water and notice the heated stress dissipate from your body.
Kaphas are the least likely to become stressed of the three Doshas because they are so Earthy in nature, making them cool and calm. However, when they are stressed, they often hold in their emotions and don’t let anyone know. This can lead to sadness, depression, isolation and emotional eating. Kaphas feel like they have to be there for everyone else that they can’t express any longing of their own and for this reason, people around them may have no idea how they feel. If this relates to you, it’s important to stimulate your mind and body to shake out of the Kapha rut and get your spirits high again.
Soothe stress by:
For Kaphas, sweat is medicine, especially first thing in the morning. Before you eat breakfast, do something that brings up your heart-rate and brings you to a point of sweat, whether it’s hot yoga, cardio workout, barre, boxing, HIIT or anything in between. You’ll instantly feel so much more relieved after a great sweat sesh.
- Trying something NEW
Kaphas are creatures of habits, which can lead to boredom and dissatisfaction. Life was meant to be experienced in it’s full depth. Go somewhere outside of your comfort zone, whether it’s a new city, state or even country. Perhaps a weekend camping in a nearby national park is what your soul needed, trying out a new dance or art class or just a few hours acting like a tourist in your own town. Break out of your routine so you can come back into yourself.
- Eating smart
So Kaphas often take their emotions out on food and often make eating choices based on emotional reasons, rather than because of hunger. Eat three square meals a day and try not to snack in between. This throws off your hunger rhythms, which affects digestion, metabolism and nutrient absorption. Kaphas gain weight the most easily of the Doshas and if they’re snacking throughout the day, they’re only going to feel heavier and more sluggish. Make sure you are getting enough protein in your meals so you don’t feel the need to eat two hours later—especially out of the candy jar.
Discover your Ayurvedic Dosha with my free quiz and learn more balancing them for mind-body balance in my best-selling book Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda with foreword by Deepak Chopra, available wherever books are sold! Follow me on Instagram @IAmSaharaRose for daily Ayurvedic inspiration and stay tuned for my next article here!