I Am Fascinated by Understanding My True Nature. How Can I Find Out What My Ayurvedic Constitution Is So I know how to Stay In Balance?
I loved Greek mythology when I was little. My favourite place to fantasise about was the Temple of Apollo in Delphi with its in-house Oracle. This magical structure on Mount Parnassos, where people would go to hear prophecies from a high priestess. “Know Thyself” was the inscription above the temple’s entrance. These words the starting point for anyone’s journey into finding out about where they had been; where they were, and where they were going (according to the Oracle).
Know Thyself: Finding Your True NatureThe Sanskrit word for health is swastha. Swastha could also be translated as ‘to be properly rooted in yourself’. The best way of knowing how to stay in balance is by knowing who you are and what you are like. Then you can anchor yourself in yourself and your experience. How does your mind work? How do you react to things? Are you sharp fiery or slow and brooding? What makes you trip up? The mind and emotions are the epicentre of our experience, so the best place to start. The body and how it responds could be seen as offshoots of this. We get out of balance because of years, decades and lifetimes (lol) of not truly knowing ourselves. We also have a cascade of planets pulling us in different directions at the time of our birth (this is why a good astrological reading can be useful).
But What Does It Take To Know Yourself?As I see it, we need to learn how to deeply tune in to ourselves at any moment. We need to find the clear light of awareness inside of us, that can see and feel what is really going on. Confusion can come from a toxicity in the outside world as well as in our bodies and mind. This is why I talk so much about clearing the channels of the body and mind. Then we know that what we are feeling is really what we’re feeling, rather than just the sludge and toxicity of last week’s food, or yesterday’s bad conversation with our boyfriend. We have to know ourselves, so we can define where we stop and the outer world begins, this might sound very ethereal but it isn’t. Even so, most of us are wondering around with little to no understanding of our boundaries. When we can say I end here and the outside world begins here, we can accurately judge how our environment might effect our inner landscape. Ayurveda is all about how we navigate the outside world while staying in balance inside. It is about how gracefully we can allow these two envronments to meet.
Your ConstitutionIn Ayurveda, we are each born with a constitution created at conception. This is your Prakruti, and your innate place of balance. Then through a lifetime of wear and tear we deviate from this. This place of imbalance is called your Vikruti. So when you say that you can see some pitta traits in yourself, as well as some imbalanced aspects of kapha and vata, this is great, because you are feeling your feels. But we need to work out if this due to imbalance over years, or is this your natural state you’re feeling?
How to Get to Know Yourself a Little Better
- Firstly I would go and see an Ayurvedic doctor, they can sit with you and work out what your constitution is, as well as doing a reset cleanse to clear some of the peripheral sludge that might be distorting your vision. They can tell you which bit is your natural state and which is the imbalance. I do online consultations so get in contact here if that feels like a good fit.
- One you have cleared the decks a little, got rid of any subtle addictions and toxicity, you will have room to see more clearly: what is yours and what isn’t. Then you are in a space to go into that awareness and build up your confidence and intuition.
- This can be heightened by setting up a regular meditation practice, in the name of raising your awareness. I would recommend the teacher Burgs, he is amazing at training people in awareness and meditation and is now also teaching online.
- Once you’ve attuned yourself, it is time for you to respond to your needs, according to what is happening outside. We are given indicators by the natural world as to how the environment might be shifting and how we should therefore respond: the seasons, the time of day or night, the day in our menstrual cycle (if we are women), the movement of the moon, our stages of life.
- Then we have the fluctuations of the weather and how we can respond to this: if its cold and windy then it is a vata day, so we want to keep warm and grounded. If it is super hot and sharp outside then it is pitta and we want to consuming cooling foods as well as noticing any frustrations as they rise up.
- The season now: we are just entering kapha season in the Northern hemisphere. So the sap is starting to rise up the trunks of trees, meaning that sap in our body (phlegm) might be rising and getting stuck in our noses, leading to a cold or feelings of lethargy and stuckness. We need to respond to this by clearing our channels, and eating foods and living life in a way that will cut through this kapha.
- I shy away from telling people their constitution until I am sure they will not be rigid with this information. For even if one has a dominant pitta or kapha constitution, they will have days of vata imbalance. Meaning they will need to be able to respond to their moment-to-moment needs. But this takes self-knowledge, understanding and confidence...
So take strength dear heart, for you sound like you are on the road to self-understanding and deep knowing.
By Selina Van Orden