Ayurveda is an ancient form of natural medicine, practiced in India for thousands of years. The word Ayurveda comes from the Sanskrit language, “Ayur” meaning life and “Veda” meaning wisdom. Ayurveda is the wisdom of how to live in balance within one’s self and with one’s environment. You can practice Ayurveda in every aspect of your life. From how long you sleep, to your daily routine, exercise, the foods you consume, teas and herbal medicine that balance your constitution, as well as spiritual practices, yoga, detoxification and massage. Approaching these things with an Ayurvedic understanding will result in vibrant health and greater balance in your life.
The 3 Gunas
There are 3 qualities that are manifest in all forms of creation. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. These 3 qualities give rise to the mind, life force, and form.
- Sattva is associated with the color white and is the quality of light, life and love. This quality imparts virtues of faith, honesty, self-control, clarity and purity.
- Rajas is associated with the color red and is the quality of passion, activity, agitation and twilight. It is dynamic movement and gives rise to emotional fluctuations of attraction and repulsion, love and hate, fear and desire.
- Tamas is associated with the color black and is the quality of darkness, non-feeling and death. It is the lower force that drags us down into ignorance and attachment. It causes dullness, inertia, heaviness and stagnation.
These 3 forces are intertwined in nature and tend to hold their natures for a period of time, such as in the cycle of the day (sattva), twilight (rajas) and night (tamas).
Cultivation of Sattva
Ayurveda states that a sattvic body and mind are less likely to suffer from disease and more likely to continue in a state of balance. Cultivating sattva postpartum by eating a proper diet, getting enough rest, receiving daily oil massage and hot bath, as well as maintaining a meditative atmosphere will help your body and mind stay balanced and strong.
The 5 Elements and the 3 Doshas
In Ayurvedic philosophy, there are 5 elements that make up the outer world of experience. Ether (space), Air (time), Fire (light), Water (life) and Earth (form). They represent the solid, liquid, radiant, gaseous and etheric forms of matter.
- Ether: which is space, is formless and all pervading. It is empty, light and subtle. We need space in order to move, grow, live and communicate.
- Air: moves through space and is dry, light, mobile and clear
- Fire: when air moves through space, it creates friction, which creates heat. It is hot, dry, sharp, penetrating and luminous
- Water: is necessary for maintaining life. It is fluid, heavy, soft, viscous, cold and dense.
- Earth: is solidified consciousness. It is hard, rough, heavy, firm, slow moving and bulky
These 5 elements combine into the 3 basic energies, which are present in varying degrees in all forms of creation.
- Ether + Air = Vata dosha
- Fire + Water = Pitta dosha
- Water + Earth = Kapha dosha
Every person has their own unique combination of all 3 doshas, which is constant from conception to death. This is called the Prakriti, or more commonly referred to as your dosha. When your Prakriti becomes out of balance because of your food choices, lifestyle or other environmental effects, this temporary state of imbalance is called Vikruti. During birth and postpartum, all mothers become imbalanced and need support to regain their original state of vibrant health.
Qualities of the 3 doshas
Vata is dry, light, mobile, cold, subtle, clear and dispersing. It regulates all activity in the body. When in balance it promotes creativity and flexibility and evokes feelings of freshness, lightness, happiness and joy. When out of balance it evokes fear, anxiety, worry, nervousness, tremors and spasms.
Pitta is sharp, light, hot, oily, liquid, pungent, sour and spreading. It is the principle of fire and warmth. When in balance it promotes intelligence and understanding and is crucial for learning. When out of balance it evokes anger, hatred, jealousy and criticism.
Kapha is heavy, cool, sweet, soft, slow, static, oily, damp and viscous. It is structure and provides lubrication. In balance it evokes feelings of love, calm and forgiveness. When out of balance it evokes feelings of greed, attachment, lust and envy.
The vata dosha becomes extremely out of balance during and after birth. It is necessary to take proper measures to bring vata back into balance to have a healthy postpartum recovery. This includes a proper postpartum diet, lots of oil in your food and massaged into your body, a regular routine, belly wrapping and lots of rest. Failure to take care postpartum can result in the seeding of chronic health conditions, postpartum mood disorders, stress on your relationship, among other issues.
Luckily, you have all the information you need to have a healthy postpartum recovery right here in ShaktiCare. Make sure to read all of the posts, download our free postpartum planner and share ShaktiCare with all your friends!