How Ayurveda Can Make You More Adaptable
The saying is true, change is the only constant. If this year has taught us anything, it is that outer stability can be elusive. How we relate socially, politically, and environmentally is all shifting more quickly than we can cling onto, and in this turbulent time of change, it’s clear we don’t have complete control over what lies ahead.
Yet, we do have control over one thing: our perception and how we choose to relate to the world around us. This is the brilliance of Ayurveda—beyond strict regimens or rules, Ayurvedic wisdom gifts us a timeless and time-tested set of tools for knowing ourselves and our true nature.
Ayurveda teaches us how to listen, how to observe, how to feel, how to identify our feelings and needs, and what to do to nurture balance and inner stability—so we can feel strong, safe, and rooted in ourselves, no matter what storms we may face.
Honoring the Dynamic Forces of Nature
At its essence, Ayurveda teaches us that we are a part of nature and understanding ourselves begins with understanding the five elements and the three doshas. Everything within nature, including our body and mind, is composed of these five elements—ether, air, fire, water, and earth.
We can observe the elements in their interplay by looking out the window and watching the way in which nature dances dynamically around us. Notice the wind dancing in the leaves, the stable tree trunk as it roots down into the earth, the fiery warmth of the sun, and water as it flows steadily in a cool stream.
These elements are mirrored in our own bodies—the bones and dense muscles create the stability of our physical structure, the waterways transport blood and other fluids, the fire in the belly transforms the food we eat into energy, and the nervous system stimulates movement and connects body to mind.
These dynamic forces come together in different combinations to create the doshas, which are always at play within us and around us. If you are curious to learn how these elements show up in your own body, you may want to take the dosha quiz.
In the Ashtānga Hridayam, Sutra 1.6 states that “the three doshas both maintain and destroy the body,” and “Vikṛtā’Vikṛtā deham” refers to the body as “constantly undergoing balance and imbalance.” Both of these statements confirm that just as nature changes, so does the balance of the doshas within.
The goal of Ayurveda is not necessarily to achieve a static state of balance, but to be aware of the ever-changing nature of the doshas and how to live in a dynamic state of inner alignment.
Adapt Your Routine to the Time and Season
The movement of time, known as kala, plays an important role in our well-being and inner alignment. Ayurveda observes the passage of time primarily with the movements of the sun and the moon.
The sun is observed through the course of a day as it rises and sets, and also through the course of a year as it moves through the northern and southern hemispheres. The moon can be observed through the course of a night as it rises and sets, and through the 29.5-day cycles as it waxes and wanes.
Ritucharya, meaning “seasonal movement,” describes the cycle of the seasons and the practices that connect us to them. Each season expresses characteristics of a different dosha, which means we may need to make shifts in our diet and daily habits in order to maintain harmony within that season.
Dinacharya is the Ayurvedic practice of a daily routine. In Sanskrit, dina means “day” or “sun,” referring to the practices we do during the daytime to align with the rhythms of the sun and the movements of the doshas throughout the day.
These movements of time and the doshas also relate to our stages of life, meaning what is right for us at one point in our lives may not be right at another. With this knowledge of time, we learn how to eat, breathe, move, and sleep in greater alignment with the macrocosm, gracefully adapting to the natural changes happening within and around us.
“By learning about dinacharya, we will live in harmony with nature and with the cosmos, and that will unfold the inner secret of healing the body, the mind, and consciousness.”
Daily routines are a staple of the Ayurvedic lifestyle, and can provide a wonderful sense of balance and nurturing to start your day off right. If you're not sure where to begin with establishing your own daily routine, be sure to check out Banyan's Daily Routine Bundle.
Finding Peace in the Present Moment
As we learn to pay attention to our inner rhythms, we refine our ability to be intimate with the present moment. When we are intimate with the present moment, we become intimate with reality, which allows us to find a sense of inner peace no matter what is happening externally.
Dr. Svoboda, a renowned Ayurvedic scholar, speaks often of the term “living with reality.” When he says reality, he’s referring to what is tangible and objective in front of us. Not the musings of what may happen in the future or what has happened in the past, but what is magnificently in front of us right here and now.
This present moment awareness can ease the discomfort of change. Through daily practice and careful self-observation, we learn to live gracefully with the dynamic and ever-changing nature of reality, through the many seasons and stages of life.