prana

Why You Need to Slow Down: Balancing Vata and Creating Prana

Angela Glaz

Ayurvedic Specialist & 500 Hour E-RYT

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 Our society is addicted to being busy. It’s common that multi-tasking and doing more is a sign of productivity and strength, while moving with less urgency and doing less is viewed as less productive and perhaps even unmotivated. When in reality, the exact opposite is true. When asked what surprised him most about humanity, the Dalai Lama answered, “We sacrifice our health in order to make wealth, then we sacrifice our wealth in order to get back our health.” This leads us to the question, “Do we really need to work harder, or smarter? If the latter, how do we shift gears to live a more balanced life? “

 

From Fight or Flight to Nurture

According to Ayurveda, fatigue is caused by one of many things. Primarily, it is associated with a depleted state of our digestive fire or one of the three vital energies; prana, tejas, or ojas. Generally speaking, when a dosha; vata, pitta, kapha, is in excess, disease is manifesting. When the three vital forces are in excess, health is manifesting.

When working with Ayurveda and the vital energies, we are better able to see where our low energy is stemming from, and make the shifts necessary  to cultivate, not only more energy, but optimal health and happiness.

Agni

When we experience fatigue, our body is telling us that a system in our body is not functioning properly. In Ayurveda, everything starts with our ability to digest. To better understand the function of our digestion or agni, we look at the roll of digestive enzymes in relation to the strength of our metabolism.

The best path to restore our digestion is through an Ayurvedic cleanse (Ideally, a cleanse should be guided by an Ayurvedic Specialist). Once optimal digestion is restored, it can be maintained by establishing an Ayurvedic diet that is personalized to our constitution or dosha along with a balanced lifestyle.

When agni (digestive fire) is too high or too low, we must look at our current state of imbalance in relation to the three doshas and their subtle essences. To correct agni, we must work to rebalance the doshas by increasing the three vital energies; prana, tejas, ojas.

 

Need some guidance getting your digestion back on track?

Balancing Vata & Creating Prana

The Vata dosha is comprised of the elements of air and space and is responsible for all movement within the body and the mind. In regards to our agni, when the Vata dosha is in excess, our digestion is irregular. This means that our fire is either too high or too low. When agni is too high, we are not able to properly break down the food that we consume and assimilate that which we need, losing the essential nutrients that our body needs to sustain life. When agni is too low, we are not able to fully break down and digest the food that we are eating, resulting in accumulation and toxins in the small intestine, which commonly creates bloating and gas.

 

To reduce the excess vata that is causing irregular digestion, one must follow a vata pacifying diet and lifestyle, and work to increase their Prana.

 

Prana is the subtle form of vata and it is what allows flexibility and growth, it is directly related to our pineal and pituitary glands, which are responsible for the regulation of vital hormones such as melatonin. Increased prana is what provides the creativity and adaptability that we need to walk down a spiritual path, without becoming depleted. When it is depleted we tend to feel overwhelmed without direction, physically and emotionally uninspired and depleted of any ability to sustain effort. Prana is an essential aspect of the endocrine, nervous and immune system. It is developed primarily through pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation practices that focus on  calming the mind.

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