Ganesha, by The Wheat Field
Last night, as I often do, I took a book to bed with me (I got a sweet stack from the library this week. As my teens would say, SWAG!) and while I was hungrily devouring the words of a certain Ms Sherry Turkle, I accidentally fell asleep. It was pretty early and as such, I still wearing my clothes (I’ve been extra tired lately, which usually means it’s time for a blood test and more medication but that, in turn, means I have to remember to get a blood test and pick up more medication, which is next to impossible because as my energy goes so does my memory and at this point even writing things on my hands doesn’t work. Can I have a wife please?)
Anyway, so I woke up this morning a foggy, groggy mess, book jabbing into my spine, still wearing clothing (and makeup) from last night and guys? I feel SO efficient! I just knocked one step off of my morning routine! We should all start doing this! Let’s just eliminate pajamas altogether, sleep in our next-day outfits and embrace our world of rumpled, drool-stained fashion choices.
This is the future!
Also today, (fittingly, given the above intro) I’m going to try and wrap up loose ends on the waking up early/Ayurveda debacle. In case you’re new here, it’s a constant (and boring to read?) mission of mine to wake up early, but a number of factors collude daily to prevent this from happening, including but not limited to: my torrid love affair with sleep, a job that doesn’t begin till 1pm, chronic low energy and a long and celebrated history of hating mornings.
When we last left off in this exercise of navel-gazing I was going to try and stick a little closer to the schedule dictated by Ayurveda and embrace the designated morning schedule for my Vata-type. Do I sound like I’m talking gibberish? Only half-true. Maybe I should back up a bit.
Ayurveda (pronounced Ae-yur-vayda) is a system that uses the principles of nature, to help maintain a state of emotional and physical health by keeping a person’s body, mind and spirit in balance. it’s thought to have originated in India 5000 years ago and identifies most people as one of three Doshas or mind-body types: Kapha, Pitta or Vata, or some combination of the three.
You can read more about it and see what Dosha you are, here.
I used to eye-roll about stuff like this because it seems a little like astrology- if you read enough characteristics, you’re sure to identify with some of them (“Wow, I am stubborn- oh man, what a Capricorn!”).
But when my friend Chloe started talking about this and then made me take the quiz I became obsessed and read tons about it and did research into it, and gradually it started making sense.
One of the main reasons I’m a fan is the fact that Ayurveda specifically allows for different diets, schedules, and care for different mind-body types. And- YES!
This is one of the most ridiculous things about diets and the medical community in general, we presume that every single human body processes food, stress and environment in the same way. And we don’t.
This is why you see skinny people eat a ton and not gain weight. This is why extreme heat makes some slow and sweet, while it makes me want to rip someone’s head off and suffocate it deep in the depths of my sweaty armpits because AM I IN HELL?! DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH ME!
We can’t approach every body in the same way guys, we are all unique- special snowflakes.
You heard it here first.
SO. I am Vata. Vata people are dry, light and quick. Easily distracted, they benefit greatly from routine because it grounds them, but Vata people are also the most likely to resist routine because they are flighty and easily distracted (SQUIRREL!) .
In the ideal situation according to Ayurveda, my days would look like this:
6:30 am- Wake up. Neti Pot. Full body coconut oil massage, a series of sun salutations.
Throughout the day: Eat warm, heavy, spicy foods to ground my flighty nature. Drink hot water. Avoid things with caffeine, foods with bitter/astringent tastes, or cold foods/drinks as they aggravate Vata.
10:00pm- Bedtime. Coconut oil foot massage. Sleep on my back.
For a Kapha and Pita person, this routine would be totally different, from wake up times, to the type of oil to use for the massage, to which way to sleep. I like having this structure, it makes sense to me and it also explains why different people do so well with different diets and schedules.
My Father-In-Law recently started an Atkins-type diet to reduce his blood sugar and lose weight. The diet basically consists of eliminating carbohydrates and starches, and eating more red meats, fats etc. This is working incredibly for him. His cholesterol is down, he looks like he’s lost 1/2 his total body weight and he says he has more energy too. He’s a huge champion for his diet and I am also a huge champion for his diet but it would never work for me.
He laughs at Ayurveda but, I suspect he’s a Pita that had a severe Kapha imbalance (too much slow, heavy, moist foods) and this was making him slow and thick and heavy. He’s eliminated Kapha-causing foods and so his natural Pita state is prevailing and he is becoming balanced again.
But, conversely, if I were to eliminate those same foods, and eat tons of red meat, deprive myself of heavy, slowly digested foods like complex carbohydrates, I would become even more flaky and light, my Vata would go even MORE out of balance and I would go insane and end up homeless or getting arrested for stuffing someone’s decapitated head into my armpit.
See? It all makes sense!
Anyway this has been a unnecessarily long-winded post about Ayurveda, when all I needed to say was that I am still not getting up early.
BUT, while I was looking through my archives I realized something funny. Most of my daily posts, the big text ones, are published between 12:00pm-1:00pm. And I started thinking about why, and I finally realized it’s because I usually wake up at 10am, do all my massaging and neti potting and get my coffee and sit down to write at 10:30-11:00 and then have a post finished up by 12/1.
Guys, I DO have a routine! It’s just running about four hours later than I want it to be!
This makes me feel good. Does it make you feel I’m crazy?
(RELATED: How do we feel about the “read more” breaks…would it be easier to have the whole post on the front page, or is it nice to be able to skip it when you don’t want to read the whole thing and are just checking in to see if I’ve posted more embarrassing glamour photos?)