“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” - Albert Einstein
Nature is our greatest teacher. She offers endless wisdom to those willing to listen and behold her gifts. One of her hidden treasures is Ayurveda.
Ayurveda, a 5000 year old practice, informally known as the sister science to yoga, beautifully demonstrates how we are within nature and nature is within us. Our bodies are influenced by everything around us --we are connected to the natural world and rely on it for our health and wellbeing -- this is especially important in our technology-driven modern world.
The very energy that transforms seeds into a tree is the same life force that lives within you. Because at the root of all, everything is energy.
Ayurveda supports this concept with its governing principles, the Doshas, which connect the elements within us to those found in nature. Those elements being water, earth, water, fire, air, and space. We know that everyone has their own unique doshic constitution based upon characteristics pertaining to the mind, body, and spirit. Those doshas are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
Some of the characteristics that define our dosha type cannot change, like our hair patterns, body build, and eye shape. This is referred to as Prakruti, your doshic makeup at conception. However, there are also aspects related to your dosha that have the ability to shift due to imbalance or in response to seasonal changes. This is known as Vikruti, your doshic makeup in the present moment.
The role of our doshas is constantly changing in response to our environmental conditions - from the seasons in nature to the seasons of life. Ayurveda aims to bring you back to harmony by coming back to Prakruti.
One major way we are able to achieve this physiological homeostasis and spiritual balance is by implementing a routine that supports your Prakruti. Our routines help to support us by keeping us grounded on a daily basis. Through the lens of Ayurveda, it’s also important to shift our routines with the seasons. There are certain herbs, foods, and drinks that, when consumed during specific periods of the year, can ease us back into balance.
Taking Einstein’s advice, let’s examine nature to understand how it plays a critical role in supporting our physical and spiritual wellbeing.
When we observe the fall/autumn season, the air is crisp and dry, nature is vivid as the leaves change color, and we begin to slow down from summer. Fall reflects Vata with air energy ever so present.
This makes moisturizing and nourishing foods more important. Consider adding foods such as oatmeals for breakfast, a nice cup of gold, and hearty dishes that contain whole grains, stews, and steamed vegetables into your diet.
Winter teaches us to slow down and rest. Animals go into hibernation, nature becomes still, and migration comes to an end. Slowing down, and resting is important, but too much of it can cause us to feel weighed down.
Therefore, winter is a Kaphic season with some Vata elements. Just like with fall, consider eating warm, cooked foods to support your body’s needs. Keep a movement practice in place, but consider adding more grounding forms like yoga and walking. Place a high priority on protein, fermented foods, and spices like cinnamon and turmeric to fuel your digestive system. If you’re in need of a grounding, sweet night cap, consider adding in gold to your evening routine. Blends such as balance and pure are also beneficial for healthy digestion during colder months. pure can be served warm with a dash of cinnamon for a healthy dose of digestive enzymes, probiotics, and ACV.
As winter comes to a close, life begins to re-bloom during Springtime. It’s a symbol of renewal, rebirth, and growth. Flowers are budding, bees are buzzing, and seeds are being planted both in nature and life. Internally, we might notice a sense of inspiration within us and a desire to start anew.
Interestingly enough, Kapha is a Sanskrit word that translates to “that which flourishes in water.” Honoring the Kaphic energy, we can appreciate the moisture from rainy days and cloudy skies, slowly liquifying heaviness from winter days.
It’s best to focus on foods that are light and easy to digest - you might notice your own increased cravings for fresh fruits, salads, juices - (green and red juice are both great choices). These support your body with detoxification and renewal. It also helps to include herbs like garlic, ginger, lemongrass and more turmeric.
Summer is Pitta in full force. The sun is out, energy is buzzing, temperatures and our activity increases. We notice this natural ability to balance our internal elements when we crave cooling foods during those hot, summer months. Since the heat is turned up, the priority is placed upon cold foods, loaded with minerals.
As we release toxins in our sweat, it’s important that we replenish our bodies with foods like fresh fruit, juices, herbal drinks like iced teas that are loaded with antioxidants. Specifically, green juice and glow are perfect for the summer.
Leafy greens and crisp vegetables with a crunch such as broccoli, asparagus, cucumbers and hydrating fruits like watermelon are great to add into your diet to balance Pitta within your body.
When it comes down to it, you know your body best, but if you need support in decoding its messages and needs, an Ayurvedic approach can provide you insights to help you realign with your intuition and Mother Nature.
About the Author: Nia Carrillo is a Mind-Body Nutritionist and Energy Healer specializing in helping individuals heal cycles with food, their body, and emotions. Nia believes in a whole-being approach, bridging the gap between science and the metaphysical for physical and spiritual transformation. She received her Master's in Nutrition in 2018 and is also trained in many modalities such as Hypnotherapy, MBSR (mind-body-spirit release) Technique, Emotional Clearing (MER), NLP, Reiki, and Breathwork. Nia is currently based in San Diego, with her husband and two dogs, Boots and Douglas.