ayurveda

The dregs of winter, the light of spring

Fatigue is cumulative.  Weariness grows.  Think of the way a steady, slow drip of water will erode a mountain or a wall over time.  Or the way you can handle one bad day, one set back, but after a series of setbacks your response is going to change.  Eventually, you yourself change.  There will be a proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back.  One thing more and you might just crack down the middle.

We are, for all our modern gadgetry, primitive beings.  We have bodies that are prehistoric and digestive tracts that precede the agricultural revolution.  We have minds that are older than the industrial revolution, and we're simply not intended to be able to process a constant barrage of information, stimulation, environmental strain.

Ama is the sludge, the build up, the slowly or not so slowly developing layer of grime that weakens our immunity, dulls our enthusiasm, and clouds our vitality.  It's a toxic wet blanket thrown over our cell's ability to communicate, and without clear communication between our 70 odd trillion cells, things go a little haywire.  We'll get sick more often and sickness will linger, longer.  We'll be prone to allergies, including food sensitivities.  Our hormones will back fire and our inflammatory response will alternately spit and roar, roar and spittle. 

Ama is

  • the consequence of inadequately digested food or experience
  • toxins which build up in the body and prevent our connecting with or ability to discern the body's underlying intelligence
  • blockages - weather in our arteries, our joints, our our ability to experience love and happiness
  • improperly digested food - any substance not utilizable by the body as food
  • excess of the bi-products of metabolism (uric acid, components of bile, free radicals)
  • the physical substance of maldigestion which blocks the body's subtle and not-subtle channels

As spring comes in, we're aware of changes in the environment around us.  The skies get lighter, and higher.  The earth thaws.  Something deep in plants begins to move like a white milky pap toward the surface and then breaks through.  Animals are born, the rains come, the heaviness of winter becomes the green wild pulse of spring.  

These are profound shifts.  They are a regeneration process.  And the thing is, something similar is going on in your own physiology at this time.  But we tend to be so disconnected from seasons and nature that we don't recognize the signs, wouldn't know what to do with them if we did, we live more by our newsfeed and our work demands than our body's inner wisdom.  

The ancient vaidyas encouraged people to go through seasonal shifts with a purification process known as panchakarma.  Every April, I go through this process myself and guide others through it online.  It starts April 1 and is four weeks of ritually cleaning out your gunk.  I mean the emotional, and the physical, and the old, and the relatively new.  For $100, you'll get

  • a PDF guidebook with a week by week plan to prepare your body to deeply release, to go through the release, and then to rejuvenate.
  • daily reflections as a part of that guide
  • a weekly 'how to' video, as well as supplementary videos that are all optional (how to make ghee and kitchari, a few asana videos, etc)
  • this year I'm including a series of how-to-meditate videos that will give you a technique for effortless meditation, different than watching the breath or mindfulness.  Meditation is purification.

Stress and strain and less than optimal digestion are part of the world we live in.  But there are things we can do to recover, rejuvenate, regenerate.  You can feel spring, as a thing that is happening inside of you.