Episode 036 Doshas and Stress
I wanted to let you know that I am teaching a donation-based yoga class at Laughing Lotus (Chelsea) on June 26th at 2:30 pm. If you have ever wanted to come and practice with me now is your chance. $1.00 minimum on the donation and a mat is included! Come chant, move, and play!
So two weeks ago I dropped Episode 035 on Stress and you guys really soaked that one up, and as promised I am sharing this next episode as a continuance of the last one. If you haven't listened/read Episode 035 stop and go back to get the building block for this episode.
Today we are going to talk about stress and how it shows up for each dosha, and some ways to deal and cope with the effects of stress in your body.
Let's start with a story. As I said in the last podcast, my husband was leaving for the summer and I was super bummed about it. So to give myself the medicine I needed I went on a road trip to NC to visit my sisters. I was ready to leave the stress behind and have a few days to sit by her pool and completely relax.
Well, that did not happen. The stress stalked me all the way down 95 South. My husband was stressed as hell about his new job and was NOT liking it at all. I was getting these frantic calls a few times a day and didn't have the relaxing weekend I had hoped. On top of that, one of my jobs that I was expecting fell through at the last moment. Needless to say, the stress was abundant, and I was just trying to stay afloat.
Even if you are not actively creating stress, stress can sometimes still find you.
Let's start with Kapha dominant folks. Kapha people tend to have a lot of earth energy around them. They are slower moving, earthy, loving beings. I also tend to find that Kapha people are more sensitive to other emotions and the emotions of others. Because they are caretakers at heart, kaphas tend to give until there is nothing left for themselves if they are out of balance. When in balance they can be the most trustworthy and strong person you know.
Kaphas can be hit with stress in any form, and events that throw Kaphas off their center cause them the most stress. Events like moving apartments, family issues, losing a job, anything that breaks their core needs can really send Kapha people into stress mode. Remember that Kapha people seek and thrive in stability. They are also slow to change so when life throws them off course they can react by pulling into the opposite.
To cope Kaphas can tend to turn into themselves. They want to hide under the covers and sleep forever. They will tend to binge watch TV. Kaphas can also lean into food and emotional eating as a way to find comfort from stress.
Kaphas have huge hearts and love endlessly, and to do that Kapha people tend to hold onto their problems rather than share. From my experience, Kaphas are great at taking care of others and not so good at taking care of themselves.
If this sounds like you let's talk about 3 ways your Kapha dosha can deal with stress.
1. Let someone take care of you
Share what is going on and connect with someone who can at least be a sounding board. If you trust them enough let them weigh in on the situation nd help if they can. You aren't a burden to anyone and sharing your story allows you to release some of the burdens off your shoulders.
2. Dinner with friends
Like I said earlier, Kaphas can use food as a coping method. Trust me, I've done it. When it all becomes too much I am on seamless ordering whatever take out I can for dinner. Now food does have a wonderful comforting effect, so I'm not saying give it up. What I would say is to eat with your friends. Try and avoid eating or overeating alone in your apartment. Invite a friend over for pizza. Order takeout for you and your person. Make ice cream sundaes with your roommate. The point is not to do it alone. Kaphas can tend to lean toward isolation, so even if you need to take a moment, make sure you send that text and invite a friend to join.
3. Move your butt
Now, we have heard time and time again that exercise beats stress. I find that exercise or movement of any kinds works especially well for Kaphas because it provides them with fresh energy to break up the stagnation brought on by stress. Book a class at flywheel, or a dance class at steps. Take time to move your body and give a boost to your hormones.
Let's move on to my Pitta people. Pittas are fast paced, ambitious and the life of the party. Pitta people to have boundless energy and love a challenge. When Pittas are out of balance they can be bossy, sharp, and even aggressive. Pitta is a fiery dosha so when stress land in a pittas way their fire ignites.
When any stressful situation arises Pittas can react a few way. First Pittas really love a challenge or a puzzle so pitta people might even thrive or at least respect the challenges that arise from stress. Think of the person who works best under pressure; that is most likely a Pitta person. Giving a Pitta person something they need to work on will actually pull a Pitta into balance. It keeps their minds strong and their energy focused.
Think if a Pitta person loses their job they are probably on LinkedIn/Craigslist before the end of the day. Pittas thrive with a challenge.
Another reaction to stress could be anger or aggression. Because the fire is strong, Pitta people are quick on their feet. They could get and stay in an argument for ever. If the buttons of a pitta are pressed they will argue until their phone battery dies.
Physically Pittas will get headaches, rashes, inflammation, and even acid in the belly when they are super stressed. Pitta is a more physical dosha, so stress tends to manifest in their physical body, whereas Kaphas manifest emotionally.
So as a Pitta what can you do to deal with stressful situations in balance?
1. Walk away
Give yourself time to process before you react to whatever is happening. Your quick nature can sometimes get you into hot water and taking even 10 minutes can give you some space from the situation.
2. Cool down
Your fiery nature and quick wit are always with you so find a way to cool your body down. Go to a yoga class. Breathe. Meditate. Journal. Anything that provides you with a sense of cooling down and dissolving your firey will really help in stressful situations.
Pittas do not function well when they are hungry. Don't make any decisions until you have a full stomach.
Lastly, let's look at Vata dominant people. Vatas lead with their minds, they love new ideas and are connected with their spirit and intuition. Vatas dream big and are constantly creating options and opportunities for themselves. When out of balance Vatas can be flighty and unreliable.
Vata dominant people feel stress in their mind because that's where Vatas spend most of their time. Their thoughts are their treasure.
Being Vata dominant myself I get really into my thoughts. What's going on? Why's this happening to me? What's the universe saying to me? Should I? Shouldn't I? All the thoughts and all of the questions are happening. I really get into a mental tailspin about things and it often causes sleepiness and anxiety about what all of it means.
Kaphas feel stress in their emotional body, Pittas feel it in their physical body, and Vatas feel it in their spiritual body.
So if you are Vata what can you do about stress?
1. Get out of your head
Do something physical. Hang with your friends. Dance around in your room, get out of your meditation and change your surroundings.
2. Say it out loud
No need it staying wrapped up in your head. Talk to someone, preferably a Kapha and get your thoughts from your mind and out in the open. No need to overprocess your thoughts alone.
3. Cook your favorite food
Vatas often forget to eat and that will aggravate more Vata in their body. Finding and enjoying a comforting meal can have a truly grounding effect for Vatas. I tend to go for Mexican food because that was always a special treat in my house. It might be something totally different for you. Take time to get the ingredients, spend time making your food, and enjoy eating it.
Stress shows up for everyone. It's not something we can really avoid. However, we can change how we react and when we understand how stress will affect our bodies we can choose the medicine that keeps up in balance. The goal is to limit the dramatic effects that stress can bring on. Let's live with the stress and not let the stress stop us in our tracks.