I go to a really awesome yoga class once a week which has a ‘yoga teaching’ at the end of each session. A couple of weeks ago we learnt about a particular Asana (yoga position) that is good for reducing the Ayurvedic constitution ‘vata pitta’.
For those of you who think I’m talking in some weird yoga code, ‘Ayurveda’ or ‘Ayurvedic medicine’ is an ancient Indian form of medicine and healing that I guess is similar in a way to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). In Ayurveda, there are three ‘doshas’ – vata (air), pitta (fire) and kapha (water). Everyone is a combination of these three doshas, and ideally the three should be balanced. Often one or two will be out of whack, and will cause disturbances and possible illness in your body.
When you do a dosha constitution test (to decipher what imbalances you have), your predominant dosha isn’t necessarily just ‘vata’ or ‘kapha’, it may be a combination of two, such as ‘vata kapha’ or ‘pitta kapha’.
My yoga teacher told us that the ‘vata pitta’ constitution is the one that ages you the most. This is because of the excess vata in the body (the air dosha). Too much vata is too much energy and restlessness, which to me seems like it just burns you out way too quickly. A good example is Olympic swimmers training. They do way too much physical endurance exercise which is very vata producing. This imbalance of having too much vata will likely age them a lot quicker than desirable. Often you’ll find young swimmers or professional athletes will look older or more mature than their actual age.
I raced home after the yoga class and did an online dosha constitution test to discover my own constitution. I was absolutely horrified when I discovered that I was vata pitta!! All I kept thinking of was how I had to stop this rapid aging process!!! Too much vata in the body can also mean a thin body type with trouble putting on weight, a restless body and mind, dry skin and trouble sleeping at night. I have all of those.
I’ve become a little bit obsessed with Ayurvedic medicine since. I’ve even booked myself in to see a consultant in a couple of weeks time. Who knows, maybe I diagnosed myself incorrectly and I’ve got nothing to worry about. I’m also interested to see what advice they give me, and whether or not they recommend I take any herbs or supplements.
In the meantime, I’ve got my hands on a book and have been doing a lot of research on the net. I’ve learnt that probably one of the simplest ways of reducing vata, is to rub sesame oil into your body every morning. I had my first sesame oil experience this morning and it was really, really fantastic. I felt so great after it.
My sesame oil experience
I tried to find sesame oil at my health food store but they only had the one you cook with, I figured maybe the one you put onto your body, not into it, is a bit different. I found a whole litre of the body stuff at a store local to me that sells oils and waxes to make your own body products. A litre of the sesame oil cost me around AU$25 which I thought was affordable, especially considering I’m in super saving mode at the moment to try and save money.
I did the oiling just before my shower this morning. I sat on a towel and slowly massaged the oil into each part of my body following an oiling guide in an Ayurvedic book I borrowed from a friend of mine. As I was slowly going through the oiling process, I could feel my body getting warmer and starting to relax. I was totally blown away at how relaxed and soothed it was making me feel. I’ve paid AU$80 for a professional massage in the past and didn’t feel anywhere near as relaxed as I did after the oiling. I loved it so much.
When I was oiled from head to toe, I hopped into a warm shower and let the oil wash off by itself. I generally don’t use soap or cleaning products on the body in the shower so I’m sure some of the oil stayed on my skin which I think is a good thing. It would have been bad to get straight into the shower and scrub the oil off with a harsh soap. The whole idea is to moisturise and nourish the skin.
It’s now early evening and I still feel quite relaxed and chilled out. I’m amazed at how good the oil has made me feel.
I’d like to start doing the oiling process every day, but I have to be realistic about fitting it into my daily schedule. I’m finding the more spiritual I get, the more daily rituals I’m accumulating. It’s getting tough to fit in the oiling, netti pot, yoga and meditation every day! But ideally, I would like to try to fit them all in because the benefits I receive are definitely worth it.
I’m happy to discover something so relaxing and nice can help stop the aging process. I may only been in my late twenties now, but the last thing I want is to look like I’m turning 35 on my 30th birthday, or 50 on my 40th. How bad would that be!