How to Stay Balanced During a Big Move
Lately, the idea that we are all a part of a big, cosmic dance feels really true. Changes in how and where people work, fluctuating local guidelines related to COVID-19, and the influence of natural disasters due to climate change have many people reevaluating what’s most important in life and where they want to live.
Sometimes life presents us with circumstances where we have absolutely no doubt or wavering because what we must do is crystal clear. At other times, our choices can be confusing and overwhelming, leaving us wondering whether we are making the right decision.
If you’re itching to move, contemplating it, or possibly even feeling forced to relocate due to work, life, or environmental circumstances, here are some key considerations from an Ayurvedic perspective that can keep you feeling balanced during the transition.
Consider the Climate and Land
Looking at where you live now, do you know what kinds of plants grow there naturally and which animals are native? Do you know intimately how the seasons change throughout the year? Can you predict how each season will start to impact your state of mind, how you feel in your body, and the balance of your doshas?
If you can answer yes to these questions, then you have a skillset you can use when contemplating any new place to call home and what kind of environment will be most suited to your well-being.
If you have not spent time developing your awareness of these environmental conditions and you have the luxury of waiting to move, then you may want to spend a little time understanding your current location and how it impacts you before you make any decisions. The more you know about how your current environment affects you, the more accurately you can evaluate whether a different location is going to have a beneficial effect on your well-being.
Developing an awareness of your local climate, seasonal weather patterns, and the plants that grow locally can tell you a lot about the qualities that you have been exposed to and likely have consumed. Likewise, understanding the animals that live natively in your area gives knowledge of what other species have done to succeed living off the land.
Paying attention to these details can be very informative as you contemplate a new place to live and determine if it is the most appropriate climate for you. For example, if you live in a place that is fairly rainy and you are already experiencing the severe dryness of vata, then there’s a good chance your vata imbalance is going to get worse if you move to a dry desert.
And speaking of water, it’s always a good idea to find out where your potential new home’s water comes from. You’d be surprised to find all the ways humans have moved water around the planet!
Get to Know the People and Lifestyle
Each place has its own culture that is influenced by nature, the people who already live there, the history, and the people-made systems that exist there, such as governments and industry.
It’s also important to acknowledge a place’s local lifestyle and customs create its own rhythm that individuals and families also choose to synchronize with.
Therefore, become familiar with the local rhythms of any place you are considering moving to. What kinds of stores, supermarkets, and businesses are there? Which holidays are celebrated? What time do the restaurants and stores close at night? What is the nightlife like? Do they offer social services for individuals and families? What is the local culture’s relationship with nature?
If you have children, learn about the local schools there. If the rhythm is complementary to your own, you will notice it brings out the best health for you and your loved ones with little effort. If the rhythm is not a match, it will feel like you have to force your way toward a healthier lifestyle.
Of course, culture can always change, especially though turbulent events which have the power to shift perspectives and desires. But change takes time, so don’t expect a place to transform quickly. We all want to love where we live, so pay attention to the culture and notice the signs of change.
The classical Ayurvedic texts support the well-known statement that timing is everything. The word for timing in Sanskrit is kāla, and if we look at moving to a new residence as a form of Ayurvedic treatment—to restore health and balance to the body, mind, and senses—then the timing is clearly very important.
Moving in an untimely (akāla) manner, on the other hand, could make your move more difficult or render the move less effective.
Kāla also implies that it’s important to consider the season in which the move is to take place. Moving during a cold, rainy, or snowy season could prove logistically challenging for travel and transport of belongings, while moving when the weather is pleasant would remove some of these unnecessary obstacles.
Consider the Doshas
Lastly, keep in mind that a move at any time will increase the mobile, dispersing, light, fast and irregular aspects of vata, which can often exacerbate any underlying doshic imbalances for an individual. Because of this, consider grounding, supportive practices in your daily routine.
To balance the busyness and chaos that are inevitable during a move, incorporate stabilizing activities into your daily habits and ensure that you are prioritizing deep, restful sleep.
Moving During Vata Season. If moving in a cold, erratic, or dry season, such as the fall, there is a good chance vata dosha will increase. To pacify the destabilizing aspects of vata, be sure to incorporate warm, grounding foods into your diet and avoid stimulants like coffee.
Moving During Kapha Season. If you are moving in a cool or moist kapha season, such as the rainy spring months, then you’ll want to balance the sluggish qualities of kapha to make sure you have energy and motivation for the move. Exercise daily, eat foods that are light, fresh, and warm, and use warm, dry herbs like tulsi or ginger to bring more ease to your body during the effort.
Moving During Pitta Season. If you are moving during a hot pitta season, such as the summertime, take care to keep cool and balance pitta’s drive with periods of rest and self-care. Incorporate cooling foods into your diet. Turn to herbs like anantamul or rose to keep the fire element from getting out of control in your body.
Tuning in to the Rhythm
Life is a series of different movements—an ever-unfolding dance. Vata, as the energy of movement, is the animator of our lives. If your goal is health and longevity, then consider all the moves in your life, however big or small, that will contribute to ongoing vitality and resilience.
Sometimes we have to move before we feel ready to, and other times we can’t move quickly enough. The best moments are those when we can tune into the bigger picture and simply act in accordance with what is required of us.
That is what it’s like to be living in kāla—in right timing. That’s when we find the sacred space where the whirling mind stops, and we simply surrender to the greater dance of life.