I am writing to you from the 3rd floor of University Medical Center, where I have spent the last few days supporting my husband through a total hip replacement. We are hoping this is the last stage of a medical odyssey that began innocently enough a year and a half ago.
On the first night I had a meaningful conversation with Todd’s post-op nurse, Christina. She commented that she had taken an antihistamine to clear her sinuses, but she doesn’t like the way they make her feel. I offered her information on using a neti pot and oiling her nose. This led to a discussion about many health and wellness topics, including natural stress relief techniques, the importance of sleep, and plant based nutrition.
We had lots of time to talk because my husband was waiting for hours for a room. The hospital was full to capacity. Not one of their 446 beds was empty, and there were people waiting in both post-op and emergency to be taken to a room.
At one point, after reflecting on some of the things Christina shared with me about learning the importance of nutrition as an adult, and trying to change the food culture in her family, I asked her if she thought the hospital would be full to capacity if people were trained to care for themselves and their bodies.
“Oh, hell no. More than half of the people here are here for things that are preventable. If they ate right and walked more, they would not have all these problems.”
I will tell you that after accompanying Todd through all of his hospital experiences in the last year, I will do everything I can to stay out of one going forward. If it means giving up dairy, I will do it. In bed by 10pm every night? No problem. Whatever it takes, I will do it because this is no place to spend your precious time.
This is no place to spend your money either. Illness is big business, and getting sick is expensive! Often people complain to me about the cost of good food (which is not really the case if you eat a lot of plants, but I digress). While shopping for high quality food may come at a higher price point, I happen to know first hand that a round of chemotherapy can cost as much as $60,000. Imagine spending $60k for toxic medications that may lead to more problems for something that is preventable.
Health is the effect of a healthy lifestyle and healthy habits; disease is the “tree” sprouted from unhealthy habits.- Dr Vasant Lad, Ayurvedic Home Remedies
Todd’s doctors cannot tell us how he got cancer. They say it is a mystery. He may have been exposed to something at work, or it may have been genetic, or a lifestyle issue. On the other hand, Ayurveda has a simple, clear explanation of how disease happens. It is a six stage process known as Samprapti.
It begins with the doshas. The doshas are 3 fundamental bio-elements that arise from the 5 elements of ether, air, fire, water and earth. They govern all activities in the outer ecosystem and in our personal inner ecosystem. The doshas are present and housed in different parts of the body. When they are in balance, we are in good health. When they fall out of balance we begin to experience the symptoms of dis-ease.
The seat of vata dosha (ether and air) is the colon.
The seat of pitta dosha (fire and some water) is the intestines.
The seat of kapha dosha (earth and water) is the stomach.
Below is a brief overview of Samprapti.
Stage 1- Accumulation of doshas in their seat. This is a change in the QUANTITY of the dosha, the beginning of imbalance. Accumulation of vata means gas and bloating. Accumulation of Pitta creates excess bile and stomach acid, resulting in a sour stomach. Accumulation of kapha creates a mucosal coating in the stomach. The appetite decreases as the digestive fire is dulled.
At this point there is a natural desire for the opposite. Often, a small dose of the opposite will get the dis-ease out of the body because it has no root.
Example: excess kapha in the stomach leads to lack of hunger, and a feeling of fullness. The craving will be for warmth and spice. The remedy would be something like ginger tea. Layer in a daily slice of cheesecake instead, and move the dial towards stage 2.
Stage 2- Aggravation/ Propagation. If we continue to layer in more of the same, the doshas will begin brimming over. Vata gets more airy. That air may dry out the colon and cause constipation. Pitta becomes more fire-y, maybe now manifesting as heartburn or diarrhea. Kapha becomes more damp and heavy. Congestion results. At this point, the disease still has no root, so it would be relatively easy to clear out the doshas and return to balance.
Stage 3- Spread. The dosha has run out of room and is now in circulation, on the move. There is a general feeling of being unwell. Symptoms of imbalance are in multiple locations in the body, manifesting as aches and pains for vata, inflammatory conditions for pitta, and congestion, heaviness and lethargy for kapha. This is a crux point for disease management.
Stage 4- Localizing/ Settling- The dosha in circulation settles in a weak place in the body and takes root, creating structural change in that area. Symptoms become more localized. You can start to pinpoint where the problem lies.
Stage 5- The dosha is now manifesting qualitative changes in the localized area. It is rooted. At this point there is a diagnosable disease that can be difficult to reverse.
Stage 6 Destruction of tissues. The disease is now getting stronger than the body. Reversal will be extremely difficult.
If we take the position of Ayurveda, then we will take our responsibility for our health to a new level. Learning to listen to the body and creating a respectful relationship is key. When we have an awareness of the ways in which the body communicates imbalance, we can act quickly and take simple steps to restore balance and keep the doshas in their seats. Simple habits that lend themselves to daily regeneration and proper digestion become potent preventative medicine.
I encourage you to get to know your body, and get busy cultivating the habits of health and longevity. Orient yourself towards balance and thrive, and away from the hospital. Stay out of this place if you can. It’s loud, cold, and the “food” is the absolute worst.
Yoga teaches us how to listen to the body.
The habits of yogis teach us how to hold harmony in the body/mind/spirit complex.
I teach both.
If you want support to create stability and ease in your body and your life, I can help you in multiple ways.
For more information about me and the classes and courses I offer, please visit my website: https://www.pbpyoga.com/
For a free consultation to see how I can help you, reach out: https://www.pbpyoga.com/?about=true
Take care of yourselves, y’all!