The Counter-intuitive importance for Vata Dosha of *Scheduling*

Hi friends,

It is an interesting principle of Ayurveda that, the doshas inherently tend to have preferences, or to take action in directions that,  are often contrary to what might actually contribute best to the good or well-being of that dosha.

 

So for that reason, Vata dosha always seeks freedom, movement, being unfettered by all bonds of space and time, including very prominently, restrictions of Schedules.

 

Vatas love a free and unhindered schedule! (for the most part).   Very Vata people will want to have the whole day open and free, so they can freely explore various options and make use of their time in the way that they feel is best in that moment.

 

Brief Illustrative Contrast with Pitta (Love of Schedules)

This contrasts largely with the Pitta temperament, which is inherently metabolic (likes breaking things, or events, or appointments, or plans) down into small and digestible pieces, to be completed and carried through in a rational, scheduled way.

People of strongly Pitta temperament with respect to mind and scheduling, tend to be those who love to block off their day-timers,  to have things set,  to eat lunch and dinner at precisely the same times every day, and to know what will come next and what has been completed.

 

According to Ayurveda, Pitta people could actually gain a bit more balance by loosening up this rigidity of schedule.

 

Vata is aided by “Schedules”

But Vata people may actually be aided by bringing a bit more scheduling into their lives.

 

Why?  As many Vata-dominant people have told me,  they tend to lose all bearing, and often wind up getting less things done, rather than more (as they initially hoped) from a totally free and open schedule.

 

This may be expressed physiologically also as anxiety, uncertainty, and bowel issues (diarrhea, or much much more commonly for Vata, constipation).

 

Many Vata people have had this experience of Constipation, seemingly chronically in their lives,  and know not precisely from whence it comes….

 

But many of them find, seemingly miraculous, that when they are forced into, say, a kind of Day-job where they have to wake up in the morning, eat something, and go into work at the same time each day,  that miraculously their elimination/excretive processes are fixed up, and they find themselves having a (mostly) regular bowel movement ever single morning,  just as “clockwork” as the Pitta person.

 

(Indeed, the phrase, “like clockwork” might be revealing in this sense — it denotes regularity, and the Vata person who is forced onto the clock, may find that their Physiology responds very well to this scheduling, in the form of (not only getting more things done),  but also a reduction of Anxiety,  frazzled-ness, and a remedy of constipation/digestion/ elimination problems).

 

Now, this should be taken in moderation — of course, the Vata person will still find it useful (and important) to maintain some good degree of freedom in their lives (especially doing work that they find not a Drudgery but something personally Meaningful.)

But on the scheduling side of it, it is often advisable for Vata people to try to set themselves a good schedule, some way some how,  usually against their own original intuition/will,  and see if this brings their physiology and digestion into better alignment.

 

Summary of The Key Point:

  • If you are of the Vata dosha, and find yourself frequently unmoored, or suffering from a lack of direction in your life (very common for Vata), or having Constipation/Digestion issues (extremely common for Vata!),  then a strong recommendation of some Ayurvedic practitioners is to try to develop a Schedule and stick to it.

 

Final note —  This may seem difficult at first, but search online for various methods to make and keep schedules.  You need not be rigid as a board,  but at least having some positive scheduling in your life, to have appointments a bit more clearly delineated, is very likely to help your physiology and psychology as a whole.    Try it and see.  Good luck  🙂

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Vata Issues — IBS, Hyperglycemia, Constipation, and relationships with Vata’s inherent Anxiety

In connection with my earlier post regarding some issues facing those whose predominant Ayurvedic dosha is Vata doshaI would like to briefly discuss some other things Vata very often has to deal with: in particular, constipation, IBS, and Hypoglycemia/Hyperglycemia.

*(Discussion of bowel issues is indeed taboo in most Western society: issues of “the Bathroom” are often thought off-limits to discuss in the parlour, or (god forbid) the forum. That said, I tend to believe these taboos may be less than helpful to our lives; for little is more natural than these natural functions, and it seems singularly unnatural to suppress advice or discussion of problems regarding them — in just the same way as it is unhelpful to suppress the functions themselves!)

I raise this issue not at random either; previously I blogged about scheduling difficulties facing many Vata dosha people, which is a problem I face every day in my life, and so too with this one — generally poor movements of the bowels (and hyperglycemia) are issues that have plagued me for much of my life.

Such bowel issues may be diagnosed, in Western medicine, as “IBS,” or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Irritable Bowel seems to be largely a catch-all for those with various bowel issues. This can manifest as chronic problems with diarrhea, or with constipation, or with both (I have friends who speak of having IBS manifesting as both extremes).

One thing that interests me, is the strong Vata tendency towards constipation and bowel issues, as well as the Vata tendency towards blood sugar problems such as Hypoglycemia/Hyperglycemia.

In Western medical science, we would have a tendency to divide these up into separate and distinct issues — (say, IBS and Hypoglycemia) — but it often strikes me that Ayurveda tends to see them as all holistically linked — highlighting interdependent issues of body, mind, predominant doshas, lifestyle, psychological problems, diet, etc., etc.

Which is to say, that someone with Vata issues, both of the body and of the mind, is likely to have problems with Hyperglycemia, as well as a tendency to Constipation.

These may largely come from, or be closely related to, the leading “psychological” or “psycho-spiritual” issue facing Vata, that being the experience of Anxiety.

Dealing with Anxiety for Vata, as relates to IBS and Hyperglycemia

I know that the times I have anxiety or uncertainty in my own life, personally, are the same times I tend to experience the extremes of Hyperglycemia, Hypoglycemia, and issues with IBS/Constipation.

Maybe this is an obvious one — it sure seems obvious now that I read what I have written — of course the body works holistically, and of course our mental issues such as anxiety or uncertain situations, will impact on our physical organism.

That said, I think that this can be something useful for Vata in particular, to keep in mind — viz.:

*Vata must remember the importance of a (so far as is possible) calm and peaceful environment and lifestyle.*

Ayurveda highlights that Vata people, especially when they are experiencing problems with digestion, evacuation, or with metabolism (blood sugar), would do well to look at their problems not only from a physical point of view (e.g., look for physiological reasons and take medicines or supplements that address the issues of symptoms), but also from psychological, environmental, mental, emotional, or “psycho-spiritual” viewpoints.

This means, for Vata, in particular looking at what kinds of experiences, or elements of their lifestyle, may tend to make them feel scattered, nervous, over-stimulated or over-worked, or anxious.

And to consider these lifestyle elements carefully, and to consider whether it might be possible to eliminate them (or reduce their deleterious impacts) from their lives.  

My own experience: It is times of upheaval in my life (or, in particular, pertinent to earlier discussion, times when I have no set schedule and everything is uncertain…) that I experience the greatest issues with IBS/constipation, as well as Hyperglycemia.

Why should this be the case? Psychological elements of Constipation:

Psychospiritually, it may seem surprising that one’s body might react to times of uncertainty with Constipation. It might seem instead, that diarrhea should be the result — that so much “movement” is occurring in the consciousness of the organism, that this movement should also take manifestation in the physiological functions.

That said, we might cite a tendency of Vata anxiety to “hold on tight” to things — to try to keep everything held onto and “packed in,” in the primal anxiety of the organism for its own integrity and wholeness — and this can be seen to perhaps manifest as the organism (including the bowels) clutching onto everything, not releasing anything, largely as a reaction to this primal fear.

Vata — avoid stress during Meal Times! 

Perhaps I have already written far too much here.

But I wanted to make one further point, which is perhaps for me personally the most important point in this direction — which is the need for Vata, particularly for people with tendencies to Hyperglycemia (blood sugar spikes) or even Diabetes, to avoid stressful feelings during meal times.

Though it is of course difficult to avoid stressful feelings (though positive self-talk, and relaxation and particularly simple meditation techniques can be of great help — just prior to and during a meal) — what is (or can be) well within the Vata person’s control is the environment in which they eat. 

I find that it makes a world of a difference towards my physical well-being, how (relatively!) calm and peaceful is the environment and setting in which I take my meals.

(I could have a meal that would spike my blood sugar through the roof in a cacophonous, raucous setting, that might seem quite relatively easy to handle, physiologically, if I am eating somewhere that is tranquil, comfortable, and un-challenging.)

Eat Lunch or the Mid-day meal, in particular, in a calm and peaceful manner.  

Ayurveda recommends in particular, that Lunch or the Mid-day meal, be taken by Vata in a preferably calm, peaceful, and un-stressed way. Perhaps because this is the meal whose energy we partake of throughout the whole afternoon; (and much of the afternoon partakes of so-called “Vata time” (i.e.– the time when difficulties with Vata are most likely to arise).

Ayurveda speaks of the benefit of eating dinner perhaps in a more social way, with family and friends (it can be nice to have this camaraderie, and to look forward to a dinner with close ones, in the evening) — but Lunch, Ayurveda recommends for Vata (and also for other doshas, particularly Pitta), should be taken as peacefully and quietly as possible — even alone, and in silence, if this might be most comfortable for the individual.

Ayurveda recommends this as a good strategy for avoiding that whole constellation of Vata imbalances — issues with Blood sugar and with IBS/constipation.

Issues which Ayurveda sees as not merely physiological, but as informed by the major psycho-spiritual issues facing Vata, those of Uncertainty and Anxiety.

Eat peacefully; and avoid excess stress, Vata friends! 🙂