Growing up we all probably saw things like the food pyramid, telling us what to eat. Food is only one aspect of health however, as we have our mind and our body to deal with when it comes to health.
So what is most important then? Diet? Exercise? Meditation? Aromatherapy? A picture is worth a thousand words:
The Health Pyramid:
We start by building a solid foundation:
Daily Routines – Are we going to bed on time, waking up on time, living an orderly and sattwic lifestyle, doing neti, doing abhyanga, etc?
Food Habits – Are we following the Healthy Eating Guidelines?
Food Choices and Spices – Are we eating according to what will pacify our doshas?
*Any herbal formulas we take just help to support this step of the pyramid.
Next, we want to work on the emotional/mental aspect of our health:
Balancing the Mind – Do we have a meditation practice we are following?
Breathing Practices – The bridge between the mind and body is the breath. Are we aware of it and practice it?
Exercise – Are we doing yoga asanas (poses) to pacify our doshas?
* I would add one more aspect here, and it’s to spend more time in nature. You can accomplish all of these three practices if you take a walk outside and sit by a tree.
Finally, with these solid foundations in place, we can work on other senses to help support our health:
Stress comes at us in life from all angles. For a vata, they might feel fear and anxiety, worrying about fantasies they create in their mind that aren’t actually happening. Pittas may feel anger, competition, intensity, jealousy, judgment. Kaphas may become melancholic, stubborn, refusing to change as stress accumulates.
The great thing about this pyramid is that it applies to all doshas!
It can be so easy when we are in stressful situations to fall into a vicious cycle.
“I have no appetite and that’s stressing me out so I can’t eat!”
“I do my best work when I am stressed, therefore I wait until things are at their worst so I can fuel myself!”
“I am stressed because I am overweight so I eat more to feel better and become more stressed!”
These are all signs of vata, pitta, and kapha types expressing their stress. If you can recognize when this is happening, and that the vicious cycle is occurring, all you need to do is refer to this pyramid.
Start with your daily routines. I promise you if you are stressed and you try to meditate, eat proper foods, and do aromatherapy before getting proper sleep and cleaning your cluttered living space, that it just won’t stick. So start simple, start small. Work with your daily routines and feel as you become more organized externally that so will you internally in body and mind. From there, now you have the clarity of perception to work on how you eat, then what you eat.
The best thing you can take from this is to stop the vicious stress cycle and change your internal dialogue to this:
“Man I am stressed right now. I should look at my daily habits and routines and change something.”