Ayurveda & Karma: Conscious Actions For Better Results In Life & Health

For every action, there is a reaction….

In this blog, you’ll understand how our actions have a direct impact on our wellbeing, and how over time, our everyday habits can build up to create an internal environment that either encourages health or disease within us. Dive in, and perhaps contemplate the reflective questions too.

One of the wonderful things Ayurveda teaches us, is how to make more conscious decisions. By learning from the wisdom of this ancient ‘science of life’, we can shine a light on previously unconscious, unhelpful habits, and by bringing them into the light of awareness, make a decision as to whether we want to continue with them, or make a change. Living more seasonally, being aware of our individual prakriti (your original ‘dosha’ or ‘original nature’), and how each season may affect us, can all help us navigate life in a more present and engaged manner. 

Every action has a reaction

None of our actions are done in isolation or within a vacuum. A lot of what we experience in terms of happiness, sadness, illness, discomfort, wellbeing, weight gain, weight loss, pain and pleasure, are an accumulation and result of our actions. The law of karma reasons that every action has a reaction, and when we observe how we’ve been living over the past several months or years, this can give us a clue as to why we might be feeing the way we feel right now. Indeed, this very moment is a result of every one of your past actions!

Ayurveda understands that even the foods we eat give an accumulative result. It can take around a month for all the dhatus (tissues) of the body to be nourished; from the first layer of the rasa dhatu, or ‘plasma’, to the deepest layer of the shukra dhatu, the reproductive system. Building nourishing Ojas energy (vital essence related to fertility and restoration of the nervous system) requires all layers of the body to be penetrated with good fats, good thoughts, and loving care for at least a month, for example. What we do today will impact tomorrow, and if we want real change to occur, consistency is the key. In the very same way, if we want to remove something from our system physically, mentally or energetically, what we do today will help to gradually clear the space over the coming days, weeks, months and years.  

We can feel the results of our actions most profoundly after consuming too many hot spices, after too much alcohol, too little sleep, or through too much or too little physical activity. Whilst these more obvious sensations can be noticed more easily, recognising the smaller imbalances and preventing issues from occurring in the first place is a more beneficial way to maintain health and wellbeing. The transition from one season to another is a perfect time to reflect upon how you’ve been living for the past season, what you may need to clear from your body, what you may need to bring in, and anything you may want to change. At the end of Winter and beginning of Spring, we will have accumulated more heavy Kapha energy (in the form of cool, heavy, stable, mucus-y qualities), which needs to be ‘cleansed’ from the systems before we enter into Spring (which is already a season abundant in Kapha energy). If we can re-set the body between each season, we’ll be able to prevent issues like seasonal colds and flu, feeling too heavy or too scattered, feeling too hot or inflamed, and will be able to prevent dry skin and digestive issues too. 

All it takes is more attention given to what we’re doing. So try reflecting this week:

  1. How do I feel? What are the qualities I’m noticing in myself at the moment? Heat, coldness, heaviness, lightness?
  2. What have I been doing recently that may have contributed to these feelings? Have I been eating too much hot and spicy food? Have I been moving enough, or too much? Have I spent a lot of time on screens? 
  3. What simple changes can I adopt to clear away what I no longer need in my body and mind?
  4. What qualities or practices do I want and need to bring into my life right now?

Another Note on Karma

A traditional viewpoint within Ayurveda, is the concept of Karma as it is thought of in the Hindu religion. This way of viewing Karma tells us that we are each born with karmic influences ‘attached’ to us from past lives, and also from our parents, and our culture. These karmic imprints within us influence our dosha, and the types of issues we are predisposed to. For example; if you are born with a Pitta dominant mind-body type, it is likely that you’re more predisposed to a job where you have an aspect of power, or a job that is linked to high-pressure, stressful situations that require straight-forward and logical problem-solving. You may also be predisposed to issues such as anger, inflammation, and find yourself stuck in a cycle of stress and burnout throughout your life. Feeling ‘addicted’ to intense exercise and spicy foods, but suffering from their effects later, is also a common occurrence with those naturally high in Pitta energy. 

Whichever dosha you are, and whatever issues seem to manifest in your life, these are said to be products of Karma, and exist because they are lessons we need to learn from in order to overcome, grow, learn and evolve spiritually. Addictions, anxieties, eating disorders and depression may even run through families or entire cultures, if the lessons are not fully learned and ‘digested’. It’s important to consider this aspect of Karma, as it can give us an insight into the deeper meaning behind the workings of our mind and body. Do you feel there’s perhaps a lesson to be learned from your stress or anxiety? Do you feel you need to learn something from an illness that continually causes you discomfort in life? These questions are all part of Ayurveda’s deeper healing methods. 

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