For those of us in the U.S. northeast, last weekend was apparently the second largest snowstorm in New York City history. I am not sure I buy this, although maybe the city was so prepared it minimized the impact … but I digress. Either or, as someone who rarely takes a day to herself to do nothing, I thoroughly enjoyed the storm. Living in the city has its benefits at times like these as us city folk don’t have to shovel or worry about clear streets for driving. The morning of the storm I was still able to get out and go to yoga and do some last minute food shopping. But once the afternoon hit, it was clear there was nowhere to go and no need. So my dog and I hunkered down (that is her and I cozy on the couch in the photo), watched multiple movies, made delicious food, and had a lovely quiet day. And then like magic, I woke up on Sunday to a bright sunny day and was ready to take the world by storm.
The deep winter to early spring season is Kapha season, according to Ayurveda. Kapha is one of the three doshas or life forces that governs the world around us and each of us in it. Ayurveda breaks each of the doshas down into their resulting qualities. The qualities of Kapha perfectly describe not just the day of the blizzard but many of the resulting activities. They are – Cold, Heavy, Soft, Solid, Slow, Smooth and Stable.
Snow is one of the few things in the world that is both heavy and soft at the same time. It also has the ability to be solid or soft, depending on the temperature. Snow comes down slowly yet smoothly and brings the world to a stable stand still. And as a result of what is going on on the outside, our activities on the inside tend to mirror these Kapha qualities. On a snow day most of us are stable in front of the TV, moving slowly from one room to another and feeling heavy from all of the food we are eating.
An Ayurvedic principle is “like attracts like and opposites balance.” And the inside / outside blizzard scenario explains this perfectly. Because the Kapha qualities on the outside are so heightened, we are inclined to mirror those qualities with our lifestyle on the inside. However, what we should be doing is looking to balance those qualities with the opposite.
I am sure each of us was focused on balancing the cold with warm without even thinking about it. However, from reflecting on my own day and in talking with many others, most of us were inclined increase the other qualities as opposed to balancing them. For example, we didn’t balance the stability with movement, instead many of us were sedentary on the couch binging on Netflix.
Now it is only one day, so I am not suggesting the next snow day we all need to be doing TRX in our homes while fasting. I for one enjoyed my 24-hour Kapha overdose. And I also know it was an overdose as I couldn’t get out of my house on Sunday fast enough.
But what I love about Ayurveda is how applicable it is to everyday life and how breaking everything down into a few simple qualities can help bring such perspective. Did you experience Kapha qualities during the blizzard? Did you feel in balance, out of balance or just right?
*Blizzard photo credit to my partner and BB in crime, Jenine. It is her beautiful street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.