Although I have been practicing an Ayurvedic lifestyle for over 10 years, I am still working out how to integrate this information into my family life. I have two kids, ages 6 and 4. They’re incredible, they drive me nuts, and they are an amazing backdrop to the drama that plays out through the doshas.
Sanza is the 6-year-old, and she is a Pitta-Kapha: fire, earth, water. She is fiery, solid as a rock, and her will has the strength of a raging river. The energy of fire is action, earth’s is stability, and water, emotion. Pitta-Kapha is a GREAT constitution to have, because you have that solid kapha core, but the fire of Pitta doesn’t let it go to sloth. Pitta-Kaphas can do ANYTHING they set their minds to. However, these doshas hallmark the tendencies of anger and stubbornness when they are out of balance. Yeah, she and I have had our share of “battle of will” moments in our household.
Sanza is a deep and heavy sleeper. (Kapha) She takes her own sweet time with everything. (Kapha) She has a very strong will and quick intelligence (Pitta). She had childhood eczema (Pitta). She runs hot (Pitta). She is creative (Vata) and interested in math (Pitta). She can get lost in her own little world (Kapha-Vata).
My youngest, Marzden, is more of a Vata-Pitta guy. This is space, air, and fire; in Ayurvedic terms, connection, movement, and action. He is awake and chirpy at 5:30 in the morning, directing me and my husband in elaborate roles, and building things with legos, blocks, tinker toys. Marz is a chatterbox when he is in relaxed company (Vata), and can be very charismatic when he wants to be (Pitta). He is into building things (Pitta) and loves to make up detailed stories about his creations (Vata). He tends towards anxiety and constipation when he is out of balance (Vata). He is a light, even scanty, sleeper (Vata).
Just as my two kids can have a… shall we say, less-than-companionable time with each other, all three doshas within each of us aggravate each other. No matter what our doshic makeup, when our Vata increases, we feel anxiety, insecurity, and fear. It’s like a blustery wind enters our hearts and we can’t settle. We need to be soothed, assured, and taken care of during that time. But that increased wind can act like a bellows to a fire- flaring it up. The Pitta in us may react by heating our system, causing irritability, headaches, or indigestion.
In another scenario, Vata may be so high that subconsciously, a person feels ungrounded. The body then responds by literally trying to create more of itself, resulting in symptoms like cysts, fibroids, or tumors, sinus congestion, and weight gain- all Kapha conditions. This is how a person who is of Vata constitution may be overweight. We call this Vata pushing Kapha. Even the language we use evokes the image of naughty siblings trying to exert themselves!
Watching my kids and watching my doshas can sometimes feel like the same thing. They can seriously have a will of their own! But unlike my children, I can control how I balance my doshas through what I eat, my sleep times, and my choices throughout the day. It is a welcome relief to know that I can exert my OWN will in the matter, and take steps to gain the outcome I want. If only there were Ayurvedic remedies for getting your kids to clean their rooms!