Confessions of a cranky pitta: Bernadette Birney
Conversations Between A Cranky Pitta and a Living Foods Ayurvedic Goddess
Wow, twenty minutes on the phone with you has really piqued my curiosity. To be honest, the body of Ayurvedic teachings represents a gap in my yogic education. I’ve studied as much as is on the Anusara curriculum, and know that I’ve got–um, a wee bit of the pitta about me–but historically I haven’t been particularly inspired to delve much further than that.
I guess I have some preconception that eating for my dosha would mean making sacrifices? Suspicious by nature, I’m afraid I’d have to give up salt, onions and garlic, and spicy foods. I love food and loathe sacrifice! I’m preemptively all pissed off just thinking about it.
I mean, fer chrissake, Celiac Disease has already forced me to give up gluten; how much sacrifice am I supposed to make, anyway? I know, wah, wah, wah, right? Poor me. The idea of dahl for breakfast, lunch and dinner honestly makes me blue, and fills me with ennui. Maybe it’s that I haven’t been able to imagine a result worth such a sacrifice?
Also, I like to at least pretend that I’m low maintenance. I have this idea that Ayurveda would entail having to tote around thermoses of strange teas and tinctures, which would kinda ruin my carefully cultivated feckless image.
Sometimes I think I’m an unlikely yogi. Not only did I not grow up eating kale for breakfast; I didn’t eat it ever. There’s a part of me that still longs to be the girl who can eat a slice of pizza and drink a Diet Doctor Pepper. As is so human, I too often balk at what’s good for me.
That said, I have a history of autoimmune disease–Celiac Disease and Hashimoto Disease–and a long history of having to push back against the blues, too. The yoga is, of course, a powerful tool but I’m also learning just how pivotal a role nutrition plays.
I’ve genuinely surprised myself by becoming interested in raw foods, live foods. I’m even making green juice (sometimes). No amount of grumbly resistance diminishes their powerful effect: I feel it; it’s real. I know that to be true.
Subsequently, I’m a lot more sensitive than I used to be, in a good way. I fall into meditation more easily, and it’s more ecstatic. I’m generally happier and more productive in my daily life. I’m more inspired to commit myself to my dreams.
Mostly, greater sensitivity is a good thing, except–I don’t want to become a hothouse yogi. As much as I embrace the heightened consciousness, I also value gritty resourcefulness. I don’t want to pour all my time and energy into gathering up dewdrops to drink because I’m just too sensitive to drink a glass of tap-water–do you know what I mean?
I would have never expected that Ayurveda might mean live food or green juice. Your kind of Ayurveda sounds like something this Pitta might actually be interested in. Tell me more. I shall consider you my expert organic grapefruit, and squeeze as much juicy information from you as I can.
You’ve piqued my curiosity but–like everyone else–I’m overly scheduled, overly stimulated, overly stressed, juggling more than I want to be juggling, and searching for the courage to bite down on my life and not let go. How is Ayurveda gonna improve my life on a daily basis? What’s in it for me? Give me a reason to care.
Curious but still tragically considering a gluten-free cookie at this very moment,
* * *
The conversation comes down to babies and bathwater. The Indians exported Ayurveda to the US along with yoga (the chief influx of the late 60’s –early 70’s). We imported the classical version and the cultural tendencies (dhal). For most of us post-modern yogi tantrikas this is as outdated as cassette tapes.
Plus, we Americans have our own cultural filters: think Me Generation and Rugged Individualism. What we imported was Ayurveda applied to individuals (what’s your dosha, baby).
Modern yogis tend to toss the baby with the bathwater.
Your questions rephrased might be something like: Is the 5000-year old time-tested–subtle- energy science-experiment worth investing in so that I can experience the next level of health integrity?
Yes. And… we look into the further reaching implications of our own health explorations and into how our choices reflect a connection or a disconnection to the larger universal rhythms. A deeper understanding of Ayurveda’s subtle body anatomy and physiology can offer our communities a huge uplevel in not only personal but also planetary health. Those are the babies. The dhal and the dogma are the bathwater.
So, let’s get back to upleveling health and pitta and dr. pepper.
Shifting health is less about taking out and more about putting in. We thrive on abundance and contract with scarcity and deprivation. Your spicy stuff is fine – your body looks fairly vata, while your mind is pitta. Vata digestion thrives with the warmth of spices to boost agni. The deeper issues are probably moving to a more alkaline diet and long term vision planning towards more space in life. Vata and Pitta both get deranged by lack of space (ether element)… which is a cultural imbalance. Vata sets the rhythm, the spanda. Excess busyness disables a deeper ojas (immune energy) from forming.
Pitta is like battery acid. You add acidic foods (caffeine, alcohol, sugar, chocolate, processed foods) to battery acid you get more battery acid. Battery acid is a chemical energy that burns and erodes. It’s inflaming your mind channels (crankiness), burning out your tarpaka kapha (blues), and eroding your immune system (Hashimotos). Pittas need an alkalizing green diet even more than Vatas and Kaphas.
Want to try an experiment? Have greens (leafy greens, parsley, seaweeds, etc.) in your meals 3 times a day for 3 days. Juices, smoothies, soups, salads, stir-fries etc.). Go to bed by 9:30, meditate for at least 10 minutes before or even sitting in bed. See how you feel. Then, for 3 days use caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, dr. pepper and sugar three times a day (omit the greens). Go to bed whenever you want. See how you feel. Fill me in.
Here are some simple equations to test:
Acid = less bliss?
Acid = health issues?
(more rapid aging, genetic tendencies, and Pitta Auto Immune issues)
More dark leafy greens & green juices = detoxification of acidity?
Anusara Yoga & greens & meditation & early bed time= ecstatic health for Pittas?
Test it out. Notice what equations lead to bliss…which lead to suffering. Apply the 51% rule. Do whatever leads to long-term bliss at least 51% of the time. Otherwise, you’ll piss off your inner rebel, and she’ll sabotage the whole uplevel.
Your growth edge is to learn from Nature’s subtle energies and how they work within your own nature. The more you live in accord, the more Ojas, or deep energy, immunity …much needed leadership capacity you develop. Live out of accord, you block the subtle energy channels and suffer in both general and specific mind-body disorders.
Greens, juices and superfoods are the key for yogis to dive into Living Ayurveda due to the high nutrient and high prana synnery. Dhal and kitchari is the way for yogis to get turned off by dead ayurveda (low nutrient low prana).
Yogis who understand Living Ayurveda are fewer and further between than cardamom seeds in a pot of Indian rice. The gorgeousness of the situation is that the Living Foods Vaidyas got there the yogic way…. by dropping dogma, culture and perceiving the living truth at the evolving edge. If we can turn hip yogis onto Living Foods Ayurveda we can make a huge difference in the health of our communities and our ecosystems. Think dandelion greens and other gems in your yard.
Our American communities are seated in a brief dark hour of food/energy ignorance. Industrialization and corporate greed dramatically changed the definition of food to what is for sale in a grocery store or restaurant. Imagine – you start eating the dandelion greens in your yard – your readers read your blog and maybe some of them stop dumping Roundup on their grass so they can eat their dandelions too. You benefit, they benefit, the earth benefits. That is Ayurveda, baby.
( a.k.a the juicy grapefruit)
To be continued…
Cate Stillman (www.yogahealer.com) is teaching Living Foods Ayurveda in Brooklyn March 12 & 13th @ Abhaya Yoga
kimPosted at 20:16h, 08 March
Yah! And that’s what I’m talking about too!!
Rock on Cate!
KelliePosted at 15:00h, 17 March
Excellent dialogue on both ends is making my mind bustle with inspiration-thanks!
JoyPosted at 12:43h, 16 October
Thank you for sharing– it’s great to see Bernadette here too!