The 3 Stages of life.
STAGES OF LIFE
According to Ayurveda / Self Healing and Rejuvenation’s
As published in our partner’s blog: IbizaSpirit
Author: Liilamaya Liliana Galvis
There is something quite refreshing and balancing about finally accepting our current life's age. Understanding the folds and turns that nature has intended for us seems to add a sense of grace to the ageing process.
Ayurveda as the most ancient art form for natural self healing and rejuvenation, guides us to understand each stage so we can then swiftly make the changes necessary for a more harmonious right of passage.
Interestingly, Ayurveda sees our entire existence elementally through the lens of the 3 constitutions AKA doshas. Once you grasp the concept, it all starts to make sense, equally, with the concept of: LIKE RAISES THE LIKE.
Each stage of life naturally carries the qualities that make it up therefore knowing that certain tendencies, aversions, illnesses and sicknesses will happen with more frequency.
Childhood is the KAPHA age (elements: water and earth constituting birth to puberty) where our bodies are busy in a constant state of building up, creating and finding its natural structure, building new tissue and accumulating body mass, to which is predominant in KAPHA dosha needing plenty more hours of sleep especially during periods of growth and illness. That tenderness, smoothness and softness ever present in babies / toddlers are all Kapha qualities susceptible to kapha conditions such as congestion, phlegm, coughs, runny noses, frequent colds, and excess mucus, therefore a way to support this stage is by introducing more lightness, sharpness, heat, dryness, roughness, fluidity, mobility, subtlety, and clarity into our children's lives.
Lest not forget KAPHA has a tendency to be overly emotional with a hint of slight clinginess.
Ayurveda recommends to invite the opposite qualities of its nature in order to establish balance. For example, Kapha being naturally smooth, dense, soft, gross, cloudy, cold, heavy and slow to balance, IGNITE warmth, lightness and movement respectively.
Middle age AKA adulthood, from puberty up to the age of fifty exudes more Pitta like characteristics (fire and water) such as heat, aggression / rage, mobility, energy and often an over ambitions mind. In the positive sense, during our PITTA years is where we get ahead in life to build our futures, make money, raise a family, start business / companies, run marathons and the like; we have the sharp capabilities to achieve what ever our little hearts desire.
Such heat produces inflammation therefore conditions that end in "ISIS" such as colitis, gastritis, appendicitis, brusitis and the like are all relative to inflammation and heat build up. Besides such conditions, acne, peptic ulcers and acid-reflux as well as diseases related to the blood are all excess PITTA driven.
To harmonise Pitta we draw from opposite sources pacifying with coolness, softness, sweetness,, slowing our breath, with water, slowing our minds with meditation practices and chanting mantras as they were design for that exact purpose as per it's translation from Sanskrit: MAN=MIND, TRA=EXPANSION.
Burn-out is also a derivative of high Pitta. A very common "modern" condition present predominately amongst the middle age stage in life especially in big urban cities, one which in fact could lead to the manifestation of much more problematic conditions / illnesses as it is a state of chronic stress and STRESS can actually kill you!
So if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
physical and emotional exhaustion
cynicism and detachment
feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment...
It is time to take "TIME OFF" and reassess your life and its current status, what ever is not serving you and is disturbing your inner bliss and health, LET IT GO so that you can curb your path and start to make the right changes so to return back to harmony.
BE MINDFUL OF THE CHOICES YOU MAKE.
Easier said than done, burn-out is not healed over night, the appropriate lifestyle to nurture your nature, as in a long term basis, is what is needed to transition to a stress free lifestyle.
Ayurveda recommends for such conditions a term of detoxificaton and rejuvenation known in Sanskrit as PANCHAKARMA. Only an Ayurveda Doctor can actually prescribe the length and specifics of the treatment. Otherwise a RETREAT, change of diet to pacify heat and inflammation, cooling and calming herbs such as aloe vera, fennel as well as:
Button: Bitter, sweet, and astringent buttons calm pitta, so eat more foods like apples, grapes, zucchini, lettuce, cucumbers, cilantro, and fresh organic dairy. Eliminate or reduce your intake of alcohol, heavy meats, and fried, oily, salty, spicy, and sour foods. Instead of salt, use fennel seeds, coriander, fenugreek, and fresh lime juice for seasoning.
Touch: Wear breathable natural fabrics that have a cooling effect, such as cotton and linen.
Smell: Treat yourself to a fresh bouquet of tuberose, gardenia, or freesia. Or dab on a diluted essential oil: Try rose, jasmine, geranium, vetiver, or ylang ylang.
Sight: Take a break from work that requires intense visual focus. Gaze at summer's verdant trees and meadows. Surround yourself with cooling hues of pearl white, blue, green, silver, and gray.
Sound: Listen to flute music and devotional songs to calm your heart and soothe your spirit.
Pranayama: Try cooling pranayama techniques, like Sitali and Sitkari, which are done by inhaling through the mouth and exhaling through the nose.
Shirodhara which is a treatment specific to sooth and calm the mind where the ayurveda technician slowly bathes the forehead of the client with aromatic warm oil.
From the age of fifty to death, VATA dosha is the ruler (space and air) inevitably our wise and graceful years AKA elder hood where Qualities of Light, Cold, Dry, Rough, Mobile, Subtle, Clear predominate.
Elderhood is about embodying the Master within, sharing our lives gifts as well as the wisdom acquired in the previous stages. Known in many cultures as a time to fully devote oneself to spiritual development and practices sometimes leaving the household and family duties in order to have the appropriate time and space to attain enlightenment, all of which correlates with the strengths and vulnerabilities of Vata dosha.
Aesthetically, the most challenging part of the Vata stage is the acceptance to the reality that we are not young anymore, the increasing signs of the ageing process are inevitable along the rejuvenate capabilities diminishing gradually.
Slowing down the ageing process is possible however it requires awareness and a conscious lifestyle to help counter the effects of life-long poor habits.
The dry and rough last stage in life can strike us in various different ways, from overly dry skin to poorly lubricated bones and tissues, general muscles and body mass atrophy, arthritis, joint pain, increase of involuntary tics and tremors, digestion issues and sensitivities, insomnia, loss of mental acuity and can decrease the rate of absorption in the sense that the body no longer receives adequate nourishment and begins to experience nutritional depletion.
Supporting this sensitive stage needs love and tender care. Everything in existence has a beginning, middle and end. Once we reach this stage in life, awareness is heightened therefore having the tools in place to counter the imbalances to support a higher quality of life, surrendering to our reserves and honouring our capabilities in body, mind and spirit.
Nurturing aspects of warmth, grounding, efficient lubrication, stability, serving and caring for ourselves as the -WISE ONES- will be most welcome.
In terms of food, vata is most supported by simple, whole foods that are cooked, moist, soft in texture (like soups and stews), rich in easily-digestible nutrients and healthy fats, well-seasoned with digestive spices, and served warm or hot. Favor the sweet, sour and salty tastes as well as vata-pacifying seasonings like black peppe, cinnamon, cumin, fennel and ginger.
Daily care is paramount, a routine would have been stablished during the Pitta stage, if not, START AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. The following practices should help you:
Abhyanga: warm oil full body massage. Video of Self/abhyanga massage
Nasya. Nasya is the practice of applying a medicated oil to the nasal passages. It is particularly calming to vata because it lubricates and soothes these delicate respiratory tissues while easing constriction, relieving accumulated stress, supporting mental clarity, improving the quality of the voice, and strengthening vision. If you are new to this practice, please check before doing.
Pranayama and Meditation. So Hum meditation and Nadi Shodhana pranayama.
Retreat and Serve.
The ageing process is not always a stage we look forward in life however, if embraced with the right attitude and grace, it could be enlightening.
Enjoy the simplicity of just being.