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  🙂

Scheduling and Ayurveda — Difficulties of the Vata Dosha

I have difficulties with scheduling.

Those who know me well – or even those who know me a little – will likely not be surprised at this point.

I nearly always show up at things at the last minute, despite my best efforts – or even a minute or two after the last minute.

I almost always find myself rushing.

But I want to talk about another aspect of scheduling, and speak about these vis-a-vis the Indian Medical system of Ayurveda.

doshas and elements small

My predominant Dosha in Ayurveda is characterized as Vata (of the three doshas, Vata, Pitta, Kapha; the dominant elements of these doshas are Wind, Fire, and Earth/Water, respectively);  And Ayurvedic tradition specifically picks out Vata dosha as having difficulties with adhering to schedules.

Vata is the dosha or quality regulating movement, creativity, and change-ability. Its movement is highly unpredictable, like leaves blowing in a windstorm.

Because of this innate quality of movement, Vata generally does not like adhering to a fixed rubric of time or activities.

This can become problematic for Vata. Vata can begin to move around so much, and try to cram in so many things into a day – and sometimes in the stress or anxiety that is created by not having a schedule to fall back on, Vata will end up getting less things done, or get more things done but compromise its own health or mental well-being.

On the other hand, the Pitta dosha, which is of the essence and element of Fire (and secondarily, water), is highly pre-disposed to scheduling. To setting things in a fixed schedule, to boxing things off, bracketing them aside, and getting them done.

Vata is of the essence of Catabolism – of creating new things, of creativity.

Pitta, with its strong element of Fire, burns through things. It is of the essence of Metabolism, or Digestion – Breaking things down into smaller pieces, and getting them done.

Pitta also is strongly linked with the mental attribute of Rationality – Pitta will assess something rationally, and may make a decision to adhere to the schedule even if it means leaving something aside for later. This may be something that Vata may or may not have a lot of difficulty doing, depending I believe on individual personality and work ethic.

I personally find in myself a tendency to perfectionism, and wanting to get as many things done (or started!) as possible.  This sometimes leads me to focus excessively on one thing, to the detriment of other important facets of my life (for instance, when writing a paper, I would ignore things like eating, or other human beings – and inevitably drive myself into “Vata imbalance”)….

Particularly, adhering to a fixed schedule of eating, is something that is said to be very difficult for Vata. For me personally, I find this very strongly.

It tends to just feel “wrong” to me to go and eat when (a) I am not hungry yet; or (b) I have other things that I wish to get done.

An unfortunate side effect of this is that, sometimes by the time I go and eat, my blood sugar has crashed quite low, and I end up overeating, or eating in a hurried and tense manner.

Or while my blood sugar is low, and I am rushing to prepare or obtain food, I may offend people or say or do weird things….

These are very typical elements of Vata Imbalance, and things that I still struggle with.

I am making a concerted effort over the last couple of years (off and on – (in a typically Vata fashion)),  to try to adhere more closely to at least some modicum of a meals schedule.  To at least try to eat at somewhat reasonable times of the day.

This is something that Ayurveda recommends very highly for Vata – in an effort to maintain balance. And as Vata is by far the easiest and quickest dosha to throw out of balance, Ayurveda would suggest this is quite important for Vata types.

It still poses difficulties for me. I am struck and amused by my Pitta friends, who have their meals like clockwork – 9 am, 12 pm, 6 pm – and am impressed by their regularity. Makes me think also of Kant, (the very exemplar of Pure Pitta Rationality!) by whom his neighbours could set their watches on the basis of the time he passed their cottages on his daily walks.

I am curious to hear of the experiences of others. Do you have difficulty keeping a schedule? If you are familiar with Ayurvedic doshas, do you see a connection of this with your Ayurvedic type?

Do you feel better when you do things on a consistent schedule, or when you maintain an “anything-goes” mentality?

Thanks so much for reading. Peace and Love.