The entire human body gets defined by three forces namely vata, pitta and kapha as termed by Ayurvedic texts. In a layman language, pitta is the current that runs through our body, vata is amount of blood flowing in the blood vessels which in turn defines channels (nerve connections) through which pitta (current) travels. It is the combination of vata and pitta that decides the metabolism (agni or fire) of any living being (P X V= agni). And kapha is the bulk formed due to accumulation of digested food whose quantity depends upon agni. Higher the agni lesser the kapha, lesser the agni more the kapha. Now, when blood volume is less in one’s body vis a vis the volume of blood vessels, it creates vacuum at places wherever it is not reaching. This loss of nutrition (due to less blood) leads to high vata (Vata of the brain is referred to as Prana vata). So when less of blood reaches the brain, it leads to high prana vata creating a rajasic mind (high on activity). On the other hand when excess of blood reaches there, it leads to tamasic mind. This blog will explain that:-
(a) how imbalanced Prana vata leading to either rajasic or tamasic mind is the cause of most of the diseases,
(b) how it pulls a person into a vicious circle of consuming wrong foods and falling prey to diseases and other problems associated with such tamasic/rajasic minds,
(c) and how can we develop sattvic mind.
TO UNDERSTAND THIS BLOG PROPERLY, CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEOS THAT WILL EXPLAIN VATA , PITTA AND KAPHA, TRAITS OF TAMASIC, RAJASIC AND SATTVIC MINDS AND HOW THE SIX TASTES WORK IN THE BODY.
To begin with, let us understand that how excess/less than required, consumption of six tastes (as defined by Ayurveda), increase prana vata if taken more than required. Lets go one by one :-
- Pungent- excess of this taste will increase prana vata thereby inducing over-excitement leading to hyperactive mind and rash decisions/interactions/wrong karmas. An excited mind will also feel stressed out and would find solace in vasodilating foods as vasodilating foods (bitter) give temporary relaxation to nervous system.
- Bitter (vasodilating foods)- more than required Vasodilation would bring down the blood in the brain thus further increasing prana vata and asking for more bitter foods to relax it, taking the person into a vicious circle of aggravated prana vata.
- Sweet (which is not sugar but the right combo of proteins, fats and carbs)- Excess of sweetness will thicken the blood and reduce circulation and thus increase vata including prana vata.
- Astringency- excess of Astringency will reduce blood from the peripherals including brain and thus increase prana vata/rajas.
- Sour- Excess of sourness in the long run will narrow the blood vessels due to swollen tissues and thus increase pitta and over excitement and then vata and again lead to aggravated prana vata.
- Salt- excess of this taste in the long run will increase pitta and again lead to vitiated prana vata.
*** It has to be realized that even very less of these tastes (less than optimum) can also cause aggravated prana vata e.g. very less of pungency not in line with sweet taste consumed will create toxins, sluggishness and again increase vata/rajas; less of sourness vis a vis astringency will also increase prana vata; less of salt and sweetness can cause emaciation and again can aggravate prana vata. On the other hand, less of bitter in a kapha mind will increase sluggishness and create tamasic mind. Overall moderation is the key and moderation differs from constitution to constitution, weather to weather and location to location because of dominance of different doshas.
And once prana vata aggravates the brain will not get enough blood thereby pushing itself (i.e. the brain) to consume those foods which were temporarily pushing more blood towards itself (brain) which are again:-
(a) excess pungency since it increases blood circulation,
(b) excess sourness and salt since they increase volume of blood pushing more of it towards brain,
(c) excess sweetness including love for refined sugar since refined sugar gives immediate energy to energy deprived brain,
*** reason (b) and (c) mentioned above, lead to vata pushing kapha phenomenon with kapha depositing over high vata and creating rajas and tamas together in the same mind as shown in figure 1.2 (c) ⇒
(d) excess bitterness since bitterness temporarily reduces stress which is high in those with high prana vata.
All of this takes a person into a vicious circle of higher and higher prana vata and more addiction towards the above mentioned tastes, taking him/her into a vicious circle of diseases like hypertension, diabetes , brain disorders, cancer, MS, Fibromyalgia, Psorasis , ulcerative colitis and other auto-immune diseases apart from Rajasic behaviour (Remember that even under active prana vata too can lead to hypertension, diabetes, hypothroidism etc. apart from creating a tamasic mind) Click on the links ⇑to know how.
In fact it is this vicious circle of higher and higher prana vata that leads one deeper into the whirlpool of desires, diseases, chaos and accumulation of more negative karmas from one lifetime to another. Astrology explains the energy signatures of one’s past lives and uses various principles of Ayurveda including this whirlpool of higher and higher prana vata in its mahadasha system (planetary period). To know how, please read this blog ⇒ SCIENCE BEHIND DASHAS / ANTARDASHAS (PLANETARY PERIODS)- AYURVEDA THE MOTHER OF ASTROLOGY- PART III
It is this reason that Prana vata is called as the master of all the fifteen sub doshas. Thus, to conclude, following is the definition of sattvic food/lifestyle that covers all eight aspects of Ashtang Yoga proposed by Sage Patanjali which, if followed in true letter and spirit right from the childhood through strict supervision by parents/guardians, then it would ensure a disease and chaos free world :-
- Eating every meal that is balanced in all six tastes (neither in excess nor less, neither exciting nor dull but satiating) in line with the constitution/location/weather etc. which would ensure that prana vata doesn’t get disturbed (the concept of YoYo diet is therefore extremely dangerous to the body- its like feeding petrol to the car today and engine oil tomorrow instead of feeding them together for a healthy engine).
- Sleeping/waking/eating in line with sun cycle
- Doing Pranayama and Yogasanas regularly in line with one’s constitution e.g. a person with high prana vata should focus more on headstands, mountain pose, harepose etc. to push more blood towards brain to pacify prana vata (read this blog to know more- UNDERSTANDING THE SCIENCE BEHIND YOGA (YOGASANA/PRANAYAMA) AND DANGERS OF DOING THEM WRONGLY!!!)
- Discarding and not getting tempted by those foods (including subtle foods which we absorb from all the five senses) that are responsible for the decline in moral values and thus increase tamas/rajas
- Meditating regularly for course correction and to silence mind the natural way instead of resorting to rajasic/tamasic foods which otherwise will take one into a vicious circle.
*** Please remember that it is impossible to exactly put foods in different categories of sattvic/rajasic/tamasic because different constitutions (VPK) require different proportions of tastes to become sattvic (click here to read blog to know which food pyramid is right for you). However, as a thumb rule, spices which are warm like mustard, rye, cardamom, cinnamon, ajwain, anise, ginger, asafoetida, black pepper belong to sattvic spices whereas red/green chillies fall in rajasic as they excite the mind by suddenly giving a kick to it. Excessively sweet foods like Non veg fall in the category of tamasic since they increase too much of kapha in the brain. Excessively bitter foods like onion, garlic, liquor, tobacco, chocolates, tea, coffee, menthal and mint extracts, broccoli, capsicum, beetroot fall in the category of rajasic foods since they dilate blood vessels and reduce blood from the brain thereby increasing prana vata. Some of them are also highly astringent which again can increase prana vata. However as mentioned above, this example of sattvic /rajasic/tamasic foods is a thumb rule as a highly tamasic person may need lot of pungency to move him/her out of slumber and may also need more bitter/astringent foods to increase prana vata to optimum level. On the other hand, a high prana vata person will get benefited by high kapha foods including meat to pacify prana vata. Finally it has to be remembered that once mind becomes sattvic (through corrections made in the constitution by adopting the right food pyramid), then one should follow the above mentioned definition of sattvic foods to remain on course.
*** Even BP controlling allopathic drugs (the quick fix meds which do not teach us to eat and live in line with our constitution) drastically increase prana vata and are the cause of diseases due to aggravated prana vata as mentioned earlier in the blog. To know more, read this blog⇒HOW DO ALLOPATHIC HIGH BP CONTROLLING MEDICINES WORK AND THEIR SIDE EFFECTS INCLUDING FIBROMYALGIA, HEART FAILURE, NEUROPAHTY -MUST READ FOR All