Ayurveda for Festival Season

Posted by Joan Hyman on

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Festival season is here, and we’re all super excited to be outside, practice yoga, listen to music, hang out with friends, and make more of them. Most of the time, these summer festivals  are high energy and fast moving, offering a buzz that keeps thousands coming back for more.

This opportunity can be loads of fun, but can also lead to exhaustion, as we expend more energy output than in. How can you stay balanced during a long weekend at a festival so you can transition back into your world inspired and feeling great, and not need a week to recover? One idea is to look to Ayurveda.

In Ayurveda, or the science of life, we learn to harmonize our bodies with nature. Balance with nature helps create balance within. Everything around us has an element made up of space, air, fire, water, or earth—when out of balance, it’s important to seek the opposite, therefore leading to natural, mindful health.

Principle One: Like Attracts Like

What we attract is usually what we we’re hungry for. If we’re running off an intense schedule, we usually crave more coffee to keep us going. When we’re feeling dry and dehydrated, we reach for salty snacks.

In Ayurveda, opposites cure. This means teaching yourself to find balance by attracting the opposite quality.  If you are running on an intense schedule, add some yin and restorative classes instead of that hot flow class. If you choose to drink, try not to do so in excess. If you’re in the hot sun or taking lots of sweaty classes, maybe opt for water, and hydrate with cooling fruits. If you find yourself developing a sunburn or rashes on your skin, stay out of the sun and hot classes—you’re likely overheating.  

Most of us do this intuitively, so listen to that inner voice, even if it’s telling you to take a break from the party and get some rest. Your body will thank you for it the next day, allowing you to keep moving as the best version of yourself.

Principle Two: Using the Elements

There are five elements that make up the doshas: earth, air, water, fire, and space. The doshas are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, and they all reference different types of peoples. Understand your dosha, and use it to your advantage while you’re at a festival. 

  •  Vata people have a tendency to move quickly. They’re excited about the long list of possibility at a festival, and may forget the more simple aspects of self-care, such as eating healthy meals and getting enough sleep. If this resonates with you, prep for festival season by packing healthy snacks and set aside time to nourish yourself. Get your rest, especially in the later afternoon when people have a tendency to space out. Naps help your type tremendously.
  • Pitta folks are often fiery and driven. They are usually the types in the hot flow classes, pushing themselves in the front row after staying out most of the night.  If you’re Pitta, remember you can experience fun while cooling off. Hop in a pool, lay around on the grass, and think “less doing, more being.” Try going to a yin or restorative class and let yourself relax.  Lay off the alcohol and wind down early every other night. While it may not seem as fun, you’ll likely be surprised at how wonderful you feel. 
  • Kaphas are water and earth. People of a Kapha dosha like to take it easy. They’re often grounded and slow-moving, and might not always be motivated to make it out to a festival. If this sounds like you, think about the positives of trying something new. You love yoga, so why not dedicate an entire weekend to it?  Get up early, try some vinyasa classes, move your body, or have that cup of coffee or ginseng.  Stay off the heavy food (especially dairy), and see if eating raw food, like salads and veggies, makes you feel lighter and more energetic.

Principle Three:  Balance Your Schedule

It’s important to consider the time of day when building your Ayurvedic festival experience. Each moment of the day of has a certain amount of energy where a specific dosha is most present.

For example, meditation is best done before sunrise or in the later afternoon before the sun starts to set.  The energy in the air is lighter and the sun’s not shining as bright, so it’s easier to sit and tune in.  Come 7–10am, we’re in the kapha hours, and digestive fires are low. Instead of eating a heavy breakfast, try something light, and move your body to stimulate your metabolism. Eat your strongest meal between 11am–2pm, as the energy of the sun is at its peak, and your digestive fires are high.

Between the hours of 6pm—10pm, it’s time to start unwinding and prepping for sleep. Balance is everything, so if you go out one night, lay low and recover the next.

Festivals are great and the group collective is high. For many, these events are Vata inducing, and should be properly balanced with slow-paced activity. Ask questions and listen to your body. What are your cravings? Can you balance by attracting an opposite quality?  Is your schedule steady and connected to the frequency of the day?

You don’t have to do everything at once. Breathe and savor the season.

Joan’s grounded teaching style creates space for students to deepen their personal journey while aligning with teachings of true yogic traditions. Joan frequently shares her insight on the subject of health and wellness in national magazines and blogs, including Elephant Journal, Mind Body & Green, Yoga Journal, ORIGIN Magazine and Women’s Health. She currently has a thriving career as a Wanderlust Senior Teacher (E-RYT500) and leads yoga retreats, workshops, and teacher trainings all over the world, while maintaining a full yoga class schedule in Los Angeles. joanhyman.com

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