This week we have a guest sharing her knowledge on why you should listen to your body and why she started doing it. Shreshtha Chakrabarty is a Risk Manager at Barclays UK and a strong evangelist of Ayurvedic lifestyle. When she is not working, she is busy reading and hiking in the woods. Let’s hear what she has to say on the topic.
Ever wondered why the miracle herb that your friend cannot stop raving about doesn’t work for you? Or the God-gift-to-humanity tea that your colleague discovered in her yoga studio doesn’t improve your bloating? Ayurveda has one answer to all of this, “Listen to your body”.
I had a severe acne bout about 5 years back. Everybody, right from my granny, to my boss, to our cleaner lady (who only saw me once in a while) – had advice about which herbs can fix it for me. Some advised to take them orally while others were meant to ‘apply it to your skin’.
Now, I know for certain all the herbs or combinations of herbs they asked me to try are known to be good. Some even have certified medicinal properties, yet, they did absolutely nothing for me!
Does all of this sound familiar to you? I am certain we all have found ourselves in similar situations and on multiple occasions.
Be it weight loss, bloat, constipation or chronic issues like anxiety and depression, people will recommend you solutions that worked for them.
This gets one thinking when fennel tea works wonders for your friend, why doesn’t it impact you the same? When neem helped my boss rid herself of all her acne issues, why did it do nothing for me at all?
After years of struggle and tons of research on Ayurveda, this is what I have learned- listen to your body.
According to Ayurveda, each individual is unique. Their bodies, their minds, how they react to food and environment, their emotions are all different.
Why is this?
In Ayurveda, everything in the universe is made up of five elements, earth, water, fire, air, and space. These five elements give rise to Ayurvedic doshas- Vata, Pitta & Kapha.
If you are new to this, this post here should ease you into the concept of doshas & how to determine yours.
These three Ayurvedic doshas define our constitution and personalities.
As per Ayurveda, each one of us can be classed into dosha types– Vata, Pitta, Kapha – or certain combinations of these – Vata-Pitta, Pitta-Kapha, Vata-Kapha, or Vata-Pitta-Kapha.
These doshas determine our body type, our emotional and mental temperaments, and general affinities in life. Very loosely put – right from our metabolism, to our hair, what foods or tastes we are drawn towards (so you’ll now know why you get those sugar cravings).
Here are some other dosha resources you will find interesting,
It even determines your feces type, frequency (no kidding!), or deepest darkest feelings. It can even determine why some people lose their cool at the drop of a hat or why some people stress about almost everything in life.
It determines the way we live our lives – why some people are so organized, why some people make better leaders while others prefer to work alone.
To the extent doshas even determine what kinds of yoga asanas may suit you better.
Easy to understand then, why something that worked for someone else didn’t work the same way for you. Both of you would have been very different dosha types & hence your bodies reacted differently to the same herb.
Understanding doshas is the first step to understanding your body – why it reacts in a certain way? What may upset it and how can you deal with it? Or what can make you feel better and what should you stress on generally?
So, once you figure out what your dosha is, you should have a pretty clear idea about what will work for you and what won’t.
While there are few guidelines that Ayurveda lays down generally for a healthy lifestyle fine-tuning your life, both internally and externally, as much as possible, and the choices you make to suit your dosha will definitely have a very positive impact on your wellbeing.
Now having said that I must stress on the most important thing – my discovery and the reason why I thought this deserves a separate shout-out altogether!
Though I state that Ayurveda broadly classifies us into the basic high-level dosha types, am certain, and you would agree, even two similar dosha types would probably not react to a certain stimulus the same way.
So then, the key here is to listen to your body! I cannot stress this enough.
Your body is smarter than you think or give it credit for. Your body is your own natural compass. It will tell you what it likes or what is going wrong.
Your bowel movements can tell you so much about your health.
Breakouts, bloat, constipation, hair fall – all, among other things, are signals of basic dosha imbalances.
In the initial stages of healing, these can be fixed by making certain lifestyle changes – you just need to listen to your body.
For instance, I love cheese but I know it doesn’t take to my body very well. Once you start listening to your body, trust me you would know what to do or not do.
Still don’t believe me? Listen straight from the horse’s mouth then.
A few weeks back, I was having a casual chat about intermittent fasting with an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner. I wanted to check on the duration for which I could fast. I am a Vata-pitta body type and the Kapha can easily fast for up to 24 hours while a Vata shouldn’t go beyond 12 hours.
She said listen to your body, it’ll tell you when to stop.
Well then, to sum up – Listen to your body. Let it be your guide, your best friend, your mentor. It’ll tell you when to stop eating or when to run that extra mile. Nourish it, love it, for it is your best bet to a wonderful and satisfying life.
Have you ever tried listening to your body? If so, what did you notice about your body?
Chakshu is a US alliance certified yoga teacher, a biotechnologist and an Ayurveda evangelist. Her passion is to help people live a toxic-free life, emotionally and chemically. She loves reading self-help books. When she is not writing, she is busy thinking about life.