We are all a product of our experiences in life, on and off the mat, this is what informs our practice and ultimately what we offer our students. My approach is largely influenced by my training from DSY (see below) and from teachers I’ve studied with and worked alongside since, incorporating traditional approaches straight from established Indian lineages alongside a strong matriarchal and shakti approach. Combining these can feel paradoxical at times and challenging! But somehow it seems to all be coming together. On reflection that’s how it works in nature, the strong more systematic approach mirrored by the more flowing feminine than becoming one. The structures and rules of ayurveda combined with the cycles of nature herself. How does this work together, natures cyclical wisdom and ayurveda? We need to understand that although ayurveda can appear very structured and full of rules and natures cycles can seem very fluid and flowing, they are not different, they are the same. It is our way of viewing them that can make these things feel separate.
In nature everything is cyclical, seasons, day and night, sun and moon. In our bodies there are also lots of cycles, breath cycle, sleeping and waking, life cycle, digestion, reproductive and menstrual cycles. We are part of nature, we forget this and have a tendency as humans to consider ourselves superior somehow, but really we are no different that any other part of the cosmos. When we remember this then we can begin to connect to how everything else is cyclical and how we are also cyclical beings. Ayurveda gives us the tools to live in a cyclical way, in tune with nature herself.
Let us use the breath as the point of focus. The breath has four seasons, in breath is spring with new energy, the pause at the end of the in breath is summer, the out breath lets go and is the autumn and the stillness at the end of the out breath is the winter. The breath teaches us everything else we need to know about cyclical living. We just need to sit and listen. When its’s dark, at night or in the winter, we need to rest more, we can naturally feel this in the body, we may feel more kapha or tamasic. When the energy is at its height in summer or in the middle of the day, we may feel we want to be more active and to be out in the sunshine more, so we become more pitta or rajasic. Within this system we learn to notice the energies in nature and in ourselves, we learn to live by these energies, continually rebalancing and adapting as we need.
The primary focus in ayurveda is the daily routine, which goes into detail about what time to get up, what activity to perform at specific times during the day, what time to eat and what time to sleep. This is not only totally in line with modern day research into circadian rhythms and health, it is also cyclical. I would encourage you to look at the rules, then look beyond them and see the cycle. Ayurveda is cyclical wisdom from nature.
If we listen and take notice of the shifting energies of these naturally arising cycles in nature and in ourselves then we can learn to live more in tune with ourselves. This includes adjusting our yoga practice according to the time of day or the season, eating seasonal sattvic food and noticing when things don’t feel balanced so that we can then bring in practices to rebalance and maintain our health and overall well being.
When we don’t pay attention to these cycles, when we get into the habit of not sleeping, or eating food that isn’t right for us, working long hours, not taking time to self care and not having the time to notice the imbalance that is beginning, this is when we would benefit most from these practices and yet this is when we are least likely to use them. This is the human condition, and this is exactly the time that these cyclical practices are designed for. We need to use these practices in our daily life, creating within ourselves an awareness of everyday wellness wisdom. My wish for you is that this book simplifies and makes these practices more approachable so that you feel you can incorporate some of them into your everyday life.
Sattvic Soul is a simple to understand, user friendly and easy to follow guide to how you can begin to help yourself. All the cycles are explained along with the various ayurvedic constitutions or doshas. There’s a recipe section as well as some simple meditation practices and beautiful herbal bath and moon rituals for you to enjoy as well as some thoughts on daily life and how we approach it, so we feel able to maintain whatever we need to continue to self care in this most natural, nurturing and nourishing of ways.