My fascination with the ancient science of Ayurveda began as a student at the Institute of Integrative nutrition. It was an AHA moment when I discovered I was a vata-pitta dosha. After studying balancing techniques and ways to calm my vata “constitution” I began to feel more balanced. Over the years I have continued to read books, and take courses and have integrated Ayurvedic teachings in my Private Coaching Program.
I recently had a consultation with Ray Archacki, a certified herbalist and Ayurvedic expert. I asked him to share some of his thoughts on PCOS and how a dosha imbalance may correlate with PCOS symptoms. Next month he will share some balancing techniques with us as well to help reduce PCOS symptoms.
Guest Post, by Ray Archacki, Clinical Ayurvedic Theorist
Ayurveda is the ancient healing system of India. It is based on balancing our energetics, which are the same energetics that compose the entire universe. By studying the flow and grace of nature, along with the mystery of creation, the rishis of India sought to understand why humans suffered greatly amidst a world of wonder and beauty.
There was much enumeration to the science of Ayurveda, but for the sake of this article we will focus on the three most commonly discussed: The doshas, which are the energetics responsible for life. The three doshas are Vata (air,) Pitta (fire,) and Kapha (water.)
- Vata is responsible for the movement of everything in the body and mind. This includes the movement of thoughts, energy, cellular communication, and waste products.
- Pitta is responsible for the transformation of everything in the body. This includes turning food and water into our bodily tissues and organs, as well as interpreting the information we receive into knowledge and wisdom we can apply to our life.
- Kapha is responsible for the nourishment of the body and mind. It is a force of cohesion that literally holds us together, giving us the strength to sustain the challenges of life.
In PCOS we see an imbalance of the hormones. Hormones are the chemicals messengers of our body. Vata governs their movement, Pitta governs their transformation, and Kapha governs their stability.
When the doshas are balanced there is regularity to the hormonal cycle. As we interact with the world, we take in new energetics, which in turn affect the doshas. Sometimes this brings balance to the doshas, other times it brings imbalance. Being aware of how to maintain balance is key to a healthy, satisfying life.
Vata is usually the first dosha to go out of balance.It is also said to be the most important, due in part to its ability to disrupt cellular communication. Any military specialist knows one of the most effective ways to destroy a force, no matter how strong the force may be, is to disorganize it. Vata, when out of balance, has this same effect on our bodie’s intelligence.
This in turn can have a domino effect on the other doshas. For example, in the case of PCOS, which starts as a Vata disorder, we then see symptoms of Pitta as well, such as acne and hair loss, and we also see signs of Kapha, such as diabetes and weight gain.
This is why awareness of keeping Vata in check is so important. Let me clarify more on what is meant by “out of balance.” Western interpretations of Ayurveda commonly emphasize this to mean the dosha is excessive. However, it can also mean that the dosha is improperly functioning, and this is crucial to understand.
Vata, being composed of the air element, is dry, light, cold, irregular, and unstable. When we take in these qualities through any of our five senses, through our diet, and through the personalities we interact with, we increase the Vata dosha. For example, raw vegetables contain much of the above mentioned qualities, and can increase Vata dosha. This doesn’t necessarily mean we need to avoid them though. The emotions of fear, worry, and confusion also have the same qualities as Vata. These emotions need to be worked through, and not repressed.
There are numerous factors responsible for Vata imbalances. Dietary is of course a major one, as is exposure to environmental compounds, both natural and man made. However, it could be argued that emotions are the most important of all.
Feminine energy is the energy of feeling and emotion. It gives beauty and meaning to the world. Many cultures honored this sacred energy; many cultures dishonored it. While modern culture has done both to an extent, society has done something else to feminine energy: It has blurred and confused it.
So how does this relate to PCOS? There is confusion about the vibrant, free flowing, creative, expansive, nurturing, and beautiful energy that is part of the original two forces of creation: The energy I’m referring to is the feminine energy. (The other energy is masculine, which is clear, directed, and pointed/sharp.)
Throughout history, feminine energy has been either honored, suppressed, or confused. The moment we step out of the moment, we have already lost touch with a significant part of it. From here, we are less protected and enlivened by the feminine principle. Suddenly feeling incomplete, we look to the outside world for consolation.
In our modern society, this outside world encourages constant production and activity. Beauty and fulfillment are often defined by unreal markers, such as the car we drive. To return to the inner feminine core is often frowned upon, such as being deemed too emotional in a world where logic rules, or being too vibrant in a cruel, aggressive world, or even being frowned upon as idle in a world demanding results and careers.
The hormones, which are secreted in response not only to our biology, but to the emotional cues our mind feeds our body, are no longer functioning as they should. They reflect the very chaos we have unknowingly embraced. Slowly, masculine hormones increase in response, as well as an imbalance in estrogen. Progesterone, the very hormone capable of creating new life and balancing the feminine core, is now deficient.
With the creative and nourishing energy of the mind suppressed, the body now has become a physical reflection of it. This is nothing to be feared; it is simply our bodie’s intelligence communicating to us. Be with it, listen to it, communicate back with it. Whatever you do, do not repress it.It is the call to embrace your feminine core. Create, love, nourish, appreciate , cherish and enhance the beauty of the world around you. All the production and activity in the world are absolutely meaningless without it.
A man with incredible strength and success will feel absolutely nothing from it without the intoxication of feminine energy in his life. No matter how well fed a baby is, he or she will suffer greatly without the love of his or her parents. Without the inspiration of beauty, the most wonderful painting is nothing but a bunch of colors. Without appreciation of radiance, a magnificent sunset is simply another transition between day and night. Without the joy behind all life, no amount of sacrifice would be worth the struggle.
It is more than your privilege to give your feminine core. It is more than your duty to give your vibrant, flowing, nourishing, and rejuvenating energy to the world. It is your honor and part of your life purpose. Right now, the world is asking for your gift. Will you give it?
Ray Archacki, is a Certified Herbologist and Clinical Ayurvedic Theorist. He attended the California College of Ayurveda. Ayurveda is the longest practiced system of herbology, wellness, and beauty. It places great emphasis on maintaining the purity, strength, and vitality of the body. A pure, strong and balanced body and mind are said to allow us to pursue our four basic human desires: Purpose, Wealth, Pleasure, and Freedom. Ray’s shares his passion for the healing power of herbs and Ayurveda at www.inherentlyyou.com