This past week I got to practice using the Ayurvedic Wisdom of Opposites since I was flattened by the flu. Yup! The nasty virus going around can take down even those with great dietary and lifestyle practices. Luckily, I bounced back relatively quickly and am here to report that I am so grateful for the training I have in Ayurveda when I get hit with yucky sickness.
While instances like this are the body's way of practicing its immune skills, (which are good to exercise from time to time, as my sweetie likes to remind me), it's amazing how hopeless we can feel in the midst of the misery. Luckily having the tools of Ayurveda in the mix is mighty helpful in feeling empowered even when you're down.
Ayurveda treats imbalances (sickness/dis-ease) through using the wisdom of opposites. Imbalance is any thing that deviates from perfect health. We can look at the qualities (Gunas) of whatever we are experiencing and create a treatment with the opposite qualities. For reference, here is a list of the Gunas (10 Pairs of opposites) used in Ayurveda:
HOT------------------ COLD MOIST----------------DRY HEAVY--------------- LIGHT GROSS--------------SUBTILE DENSE--------------FLOWING STATIC--------------MOBILE SOFT----------------HARD DULL----------------SHARP SMOOTH----------ROUGH CLOUDY---------- CLEAR
As I was mostly in bed for 48 hours I was able to apply the wisdom of opposites in the following ways: 1. (Hot/Cold) Because I had a fever, and was often chilled, I kept myself warm with blankets, crankin' up my wood stove, and using a heating pad to balance the chill from a fever. 2. (Heavy/Light) Because the flu made me feel heavy, I fasted the first day and only drank tea to allow my body's natural ability to burn out viruses to rev up and reinstate lightness in my body and spirit. 2. (Cloudy/Clear) Because my mind was foggy, and I was accumulating some mucus, I made a big pot of fresh ginger and turmeric tea that I kept boiling on my stove. Additionally, this provided some heat internally with spice as well as temperature, but really helped to clear the cloudy quality of my foggy mind and mucus in my head. 3. (Mobile/Static) Because I usually lead a very energetic and engaged life, I stayed in bed, becoming still in order to heal. If I kept pushing myself to work, I would have driven the sickness deeper into my tissues and it would have stuck around a lot longer. 4. (Dense/Flowing) Because my head was at risk of becoming clogged with mucus, I used a Neti pot to clear my sinuses and keep things flowing instead of becoming dense and congested in my head 5. (Moist/Dry) Because I was sweating a lot during the height of my fever, I changed my clothes frequently to remove the moisture from against my body and keep it dry.
I didn't take any over-the-counter, or prescription, medicines during this time. Not even Ibuprofen or Tylenol. I let my body do what it needed to do to get rid of the virus. And...I was over the flu in three days! Yippie!
I am sharing this info, not just for the benefit of helping yourself and others if you get the flu, but so you can begin to see how to find balance in all areas of your life. If you look at imbalances through the lense of the wisdom of opposites, you are empowered to make simple changes that have positive results.
For example, if you feel stuck in a project you are working on on the computer, go outside for a brisk walk, jump on the trampoline, or run around your house a couple times (static/mobile). Or, if the weather is dry and you feel like its hard to stay hydrated, oil your skin, drink teas made from moistening herbs, and eat more beneficial fats to stay hydrated (dry/moist). When you have a cold or are congested, avoid cold food and drinks, dairy, and sweets and instead choose brothy, clear soups and spicy, warming teas (dense/flowing). If you feel anxious and ungrounded, curl up with pillows and blankets in a warm, dark room and get grounded (light/heavy). In the winter, eat and drink warm nourishment. In the summer consume cooler food and drink. This can become a fun game that keeps you curious and healthier year-round! What are other examples you can come up with from your life?
I hope this is helpful as you continue to navigate your journey of radiant health. I am here to support you with upcoming in-person workshops, Clarity Calls, or my year-long program The Vitality Circle. In the meantime, may you stay happy, healthy, curious, and flu-free!