An Ayurvedic Approach to Parenting (Part 2)
Date Posted:10 January 2011
Any Prakriti can develop any Vikriti. For example you may have a predominance of Kapha in your nature but due to lack of sleep, irregular meals and dry, windy weather you can develop too much Vata.
Your methodical, calm, easygoing nature is then obscured by feeling spaced out and indecisive. You may start to crave sweet food and find that it is taking you longer to fall asleep at night. You do not feel yourself because you are experiencing an imbalance.
Keeping a Vata Bodytype in Balance
When Vata is too strong we can feel anxious, indecisive and forgetful. Digestion and sleep can be erratic and we can feel fluctuations in our energy levels. Too much Vata can also cause dry skin and eczema as well as wind and bloating in the digestive system. Vata is increased by cold, dry, windy weather, lack of food and sleep, cold food and eating at irregular times. Vata is balanced by bringing in the qualities opposite to the airy, light characteristics of Vata.
Too much Vata in a baby or toddler can create
- colic and weak digestion
- trouble settling and poor sleep
- tendency towards constipation
- dry or flaky skin
- a tendency to be fearful
To balance Vata
- a warm oil massage
- warm food and drinks
- avoid exposure to wind and cold
- regular sleep and eating routines
- gentle, soothing music
Keeping a Pitta Bodytype in Balance
Pitta out of balance can cause anger, irritability and impatience. Stomach ulcers and food being digested too quickly are due to the intensity of Pitta’s fire. Fevers, sweats, rashes and itchy irritable skin are also due to an excess of Pitta. Pitta is aggravated by spicy, acidic and sour food, hot weather, stimulants and missing meals. Pitta is pacified by cooling activities like swimming or being in nature, sweet taste in the diet and also sweet words, and regular meals times.
Too much Pitta in a baby or toddler can create
- temper tantrums
- skin rashes
- feeling hungry all the time
To balance Pitta
- avoid spicy, sour or acidic foods
- favour sweet food such as fresh fruit or milk
- bathing (but be careful that the water is not too hot)
- keeping cool and being in nature
- regular meals
Keeping a Kapha Bodytype in Balance
Kapha in excess can result in lethargy, depression and resistance to change. Congestion, coughs and colds, and sinus problems are all due to increased Kapha. Weight gain and slow digestion also displays too much of Kapha’s slow, heavy qualities. The heavy, stable, cold qualities of Kapha can be offset by warmth, stimulation and activity
Too much Kapha in a baby or toddler can create
- excessive mucous
- excessive weight gain
- coughs and colds
To balance Kapha
- avoid excess sweet, heavy food
- give plenty of opportunities to play or crawl around
- avoid cold, wet environments
- favour stimulating activities, fresh air and rides in the pram
Living in Step With the Seasons
The basic nature of our child can give a clue as to which dosha is most likely to go out of balance. However any type can experience too much Vata, Pitta or Kapha. As well as diet and lifestyle the seasons also create an influence on our doshic balance.
Late autumn and winter display the changeable, dry, cold, windy qualities of Vata. Summer and early autumn have the warmer, intense qualities of Pitta. Deciduous trees take on the fiery colours of Pitta at the beginning of autumn. Spring brings the more stable, heavier qualities of Kapha and exhibits kapha’s governing principal of growth and structure evident in the blossoming flowers and ripening fruit.
We naturally balance the seasonal cycles by adjusting our diet and activities. For example in winter, we favour warm soups and cover up against the dry, windy Vata weather. In summer we pacify the intense, hot qualities of Pitta by eating more salads and fresh fruit, taking holidays and swimming in cool water. In spring we offset the increase in heaviness by spring cleaning our house, going on a diet or starting an exercise program.
The health or temperament of our baby or child is also influenced by that of the parents. Balancing a mother’s Vata can often soothe her child without any actually adjustment to the infant’s routine or diet. This is especially important in the early days of breast-feeding as the baby is relying solely on the mother for sustenance.
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In-Depth Advice from an Expert
Our basic nature (Prakriti) and imbalance (Vikriti) can be determined by pulse reading. The Ayurvedic practitioner determines what is occurring in the physiology by detecting impulses in the pulse. This diagnostic tool is both non intrusive and prevention orientated as subtle imbalances can be felt before they manifest into disorders. Dietary and lifestyle advice tailored to the individuals needs is then given. Knowledge of the doshas can provide a way of keeping your family happy and healthy simply by balancing the physiology with the environmental influences and adjusting dietary and lifestyle habits. Ask an Expert Personal Consultant
The Author of this article, Wendy Rosenfeldt, BA Dip.Health MVHEC, is a Maharishi Vedic Health Educator and Teacher of Transcendental Meditation. For more information or to book a personal consultation click here