The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be very challenging for some people. Fear about this disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations, the same as this quarantine. Some of us may be experiencing anxiety, stress, irritability, frustration, and some other depression. The question is why we are responding differently during COVID-19 quarantine?
Ayurveda, the twin sister of Yoga helps us to understand why you react to this quarantine the way you do and a comprehensive new approach to improving your ability to adapt in these uncertain times. Ayurveda, a 5000 years self-healing ancient medicine believes in the concept of uniqueness and based on this, each person has a unique body, and individual needs to live in a balance of the body and mind. It maintains three types of body constitution: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each body constitution or dosha is made with the five elements: Fire, water, earth, air, and ether. The unique combination of these five elements that make us physical, mental, and emotional response differently to this quarantine.
Vata dosha types who are made with air and space elements are the most adaptable to changes creating finding the most creative solutions when they are in balance. When out of balance they have the tendency to become fearful and anxious showing panic, worry, insomnia, and a loss of appetite. In these times of quarantine, uncertainty could be the main factor of mind and body unbalance. If you’re finding yourself with fear or worry during this quarantine, the best way to create balance is by bringing regularity with daily routines. Set a sleep routine, a work routine, and a regular meal schedule. Gentle yoga and meditation, breathing deeply are very beneficial to calm down a worried mind. Look for nutritious and hot foods and drinks such as soups and teas. A hot bath and self-massage with warm sesame oil before sleep is always recommended for a restful sleep, and don’t forget to connect with family, friends, and community groups with virtual hugs to avoid loneliness and isolation while this quarantine.
Pitta dosha is dominated by the fire element. As natural leaders, these individuals are solution-oriented coming up with strategic solutions to the new changes when on balance. Pitta dosha out of balance under unexpected situations out of control may feel cranky, irritable, frustrated, and overly critical. Physical symptoms in response to stress triggers in this type include have problems falling asleep due to an excess of thoughts and may wake up during the night with excessive sweating, heartburn, and acid indigestion that points to an excess of fire. The key to handling this dosha response is to stay busy and bring down the internal heat. To feel productive, it’s a good time to learn something new or to set goals, so find something to keep your mind in use. Find ways to connect and help others virtually, such as teaching or developing new projects together. Also, this is an important time to balance and rest. Listen to relaxing music and breathe deeply. Meditation takes you to a quiet place within yourself and works smoothly to stop the stress response and to set aside control over life. Avoid hot environments, foods, and beverages. Also, stimulants such as alcohol and caffeine will also help keep cool and calm.
Kapha types are more grounded often holding everything together as earth and water. These individuals are the most resistant to getting stressed out maintaining peace during these times of chaos. They are naturally calm, relaxed, and laid back when in balance. However, in the face of stressful situations and challenging times they can be very resistant to change becoming stubborn. Kaphas can become lethargic couch potatoes and may also comfort eat. These can lead to depression, lack of motivation, weight gain, and allergies. The key to bringing the best of you in this quarantine is keeping yourself energized and motivated during insolation. Practice online yoga classes or fitness workouts. If weather permits and you can follow social distancing recommendations, consider establishing a walking routine. It can also help to wake up early, to get the most light as possible, and avoid taking naps during the day, and waking up late. Eat a light, energizing, fresh diet, and avoid anything heavy.
And remember that although you may have a predominance of one or two of the mind-body types, we have aspects of all the mind-body types within us, so you may be feeling a combination of effects. If you don't already know what dosha you are, you can find out by taking our short dosha quiz.
It’s of vital importance during this time to check in with yourself—to connect with how you’re feeling and identify what would be best for you. Also, recognize that others may be handling the current circumstances differently and need to find what works for them. This time gives us all an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and understand our individual needs, and the people around us.
Thankfully, through the practices of Ayurveda, we can learn to live in harmony with nature, while maintaining optimal health so that we can show up for the world when it needs us the most.
Wishing you and yours abundant health and safety during this unprecedented time.