What is Self-Care According to Ayurveda? Connecting with Nature and it's Intelligent Rhythm

The universe, the world, the doshas, and all living creatures—including you—are made up of these elements. There is no separation between you and nature.

Your biological functions ebb and flow with the tides of nature. Every moment you are exchanging energy and information with everything else around you. Every cell, tissue, and system in your body operates according to predictable rhythms, with periods of dynamic activity and times of quietness.

Nature around us is all about balance and it functions under cycles of rest and activity, whether that is night and day, winter and summer. Our internal processes are very much the same and this is balance is regulated by the:

Autonomic Nervous System, which is split into

-> The Sympathetic Nervous System: Activity (fight or flight which concerns hormones like adrenaline and cortisol)

-> Parasympathetic Nervous System: Rest & Digest (healing, self-repair and detoxification)

Aligning with the circadian rhythms, which are based on the sun's daily patterns, can help us heal due to a more harmonious relationship with our body. For example cortisol peaks during the day and troughs at night, therefore staying up could lead to a hormonal imbalance.

24 Hour Cycle

In Ayurveda, we have the Dosha Clock, which explains the circadian rhythm using the 3 Dosha types and how to best bring out the energy of each element throughout the day in order to connect with the rhythm of nature.

Seasonal Cycle

We also have seasonal rhythms, as the earth revolves around the sun, that our physiological mechanisms respond to called the Ayurvedic Calender:

Fall is Vata season: cooler, windier and drier season.

Winter and early spring is Kapha season: heavier, colder, wetter, and slushier corresponding to the earth elements.

Early spring and summer is Pitta season: it's hotter giving us more energy or activation and fire.

Early in the year, Kapha is the cool, wet cycle. The next cycle is the Pitta season, which is hot and humid. Then comes Vata's chilly, dry, and windy weather.

The months associated with these seasons correspond to the Northern Hemisphere and may vary based on your location. The length of the seasons can also be altered by your elevation and closeness to the equator. The point is to be aware of the doshic qualities around you and consider how they may be affecting your equilibrium. For example, those living in higher altitudes experience more Vata seasons, as it gets colder and drier.

An interesting fact is that science is also validating that our microbiome also responds to seasonal and circadian rhythms. Just like us, the bacteria in our gut have genes that are activated and turned off depending on what is happening in nature. So, if you're not in tune with nature's rhythm, you're microbiome might feel imbalanced. After all you are their home.

Life Seasons

Ayurveda also divides life into three seasons based on the seasons of the year. Each season has its own strong mental and physical traits that influence our health. Each season includes biological and psychological characteristics that we can harness and maintain in order to flow through life's seasons with grace and ease.

Ages 1-20: Kapha

The Kapha stage of life is all about growth.

Ages 20-50/60: Pitta

Pitta is all about action.

Ages 50/60 until death: Vata

This is the time of expansion and reflection, as well as slowing down.

Lunar Cycle

There are also lunar cycles, which might seem more obvious for women due to the menstrual cycle. However, men too experience monthly hormonal rhythms that mimic the moon. For example, studies have shown that cortisol levels vary depending on what time of the month it is.

In twenty-nine-day periods, the moon orbits the earth. Although researchers are only now beginning to comprehend the impact of lunar rhythms on the human body and behaviour, Ayurveda has relied on lunar cycles for thousands of years.

Lunar rhythms have been demonstrated to have an impact on:

Hormone control

Rates of conception and ovulation

Changes in bodily fluids and blood chemistry that are subtle

Perception of different colours

When it comes to the harvesting of therapeutic herbs and edibles, Ayurveda pays special attention to lunar rhythms. There is a general understanding that plants have varying properties depending on the month.

Tidal Cycle

Rhythms of the tides are also something to make note of. Ocean tides are governed by tidal rhythms. Scientists can accurately anticipate high and low tides based on the moon's gravitational impact on the earth. With these tides, the doshas move in unison. Additionally, the levels of your doshas rise and decrease in uncanny synchronization.

Celestial Cycle

On a macro level, planetary movement cycles are known as celestial rhythms. Celestial rhythms, which are based on the movements and placements of celestial bodies, are the foundation of astrology.

Jyotish or Vedic astrology is an Ayurvedic discipline that examines how planetary patterns affect humans and all other beings, usually around the time of an event such as a birth. Vedic astrology can provide important insights into your life's journey.

These cosmic forces, according to ancient Vedic tradition, can help you assess your talents, capabilities, and abilities, as well as your obstacles, in order to change habitual patterns and awaken to your true self.

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