I’m a big fan of rhythm. I love to dance, to make love, to find the pattern in a day.
Last night I watched a 007 movie with my 87-year-old dad. James Bond was poisoned and in true Bond style ended up saving his own life by defibrillating himself. Whatever his drink had been spiked with caused his heart to go out of rhythm, a fatal arrhythmia.
As an R.N. I spent many years monitoring patients for cardiac arrhythmias. We used pharmaceuticals and electroshock to get hearts back in rhythm. When we couldn’t, sometimes people had strokes, or died. A less serious arrhythmia like atrial fibrillation results in exhaustion and spaciness. Sound familiar?
When I became a student of Ayurveda my life was arrhythmic. I wasn’t sleeping well, I was carrying an extra 10 pounds, I was notoriously moody (ask my kids) and I wasn’t particularly happy. At the time I was an enthusiastic yogi, a seasoned R.N., ate organic food, and got my healthcare from a naturopath. But there was a lot I didn’t know.
Ayurveda changed all that. I fell in love with simple Ayurveda right away, but I didn’t know why. I just knew I felt GREAT, dropped that 10 pounds, and my kids liked me more. Turns out it was because Ayurveda was teaching me to reclaim my rhythm, to synch up to Mother Nature. I’m devoted to Ayurveda because it gives me a methodology to stay in rhythm. This rhythm gives me positive momentum and I’m happier and healthier as a result.
According to Ayurveda, each day, season, and life has inherent rhythm. You can feel it right? Try this. Feel into the energy of the day at dawn. It’s light and clear, expansive and potent. Now sense the energy at 9am. It’s heavier, more demanding and cluttered. Which would be the better time to meditate? To pray?
According to Ayurveda, from 2 a.m.–6 a.m. the elements of vata predominate. Vata is the energy of air and ether so it’s spacious, expanded, and light. This is perfect energy for meditation, prayer, and other contemplative practices. This spaciousness is also why so many of us spontaneously wake up in the wee hours. My friend Evan calls his 3 a.m. wakings “an involuntary appointment with God.” As air and ether dominate, we lighten up and may leave the heaviness of sleep.
If you don’t want to get out of bed, try a guided relaxation like Yoga Nidra. I keep my iPod at my bedside with earbuds. If I wake up before 5:30 am (which I consider getting up time), I often practice Yoga Nidra. It’s time well spent in a spiritual way, allowing me to rest or fall back asleep without stress.
Brain and sleep science explain this cycle as Circadian Rhythm and they refer to the biological clock. If you Google this you get to learn about the suprachiasmatic nucleus, the pineal gland, and melatonin. It’s correspondent with the Ayurvedic clock that we study right off the bat in Ayurveda. So modern science and Ayurveda agree; we are inherently rhythmic beings, there are patterns we are a part of, and staying in rhythm with those patterns gives us a smooth ride through the day, and through life.
Like I said, I’m a big fan of rhythm. Ayurveda teaches the Rhythm Method really well. More energy, a deeper sense of connectivity, a stronger immune system, and balanced hormones are among the benefits of living in rhythm. My next blog will include more tips about the Rhythm Method. Like how to have a job and not get arrhythmic. I’ll speak from my own experience, as well as the wisdom of Ayurveda. In the meantime, sweet dreams!
Sarah hosts Yoga Beyond the Poses, an free online telesummit dedicated to how the yogic sciences improve our lives, happening live, September 14th–18th, 2015. This year's Summit is dedicated to “Easy Ayurveda for Health and Happiness”. Click here for more info!