I chat Ayurveda 101 and share the ways in which choosing the right tea can help you balance your life by using Ayurveda and its teachings.
I’m a total tea lover, so when I heard Toronto was getting it’s first TEA Talks event, I was dying to check it out. The day promised some amazing speakers to discuss Ayurvedic nutrition, staying balanced and the new Tetley Ayurvedic Balance teas. I love tea, and I definitely could use some more balance in my life so I was ON BOARD.
But first…Meet Yogi Cameron!
The day before the big TEA Talks event, I was fortunate enough to spend a day talking all things yoga and tea with supermodel turned Yogi, Yogi Cameron. After 10+ years modelling in some of the most successful magazines and highly recognized designers (and yes, he even appeared in a Madonna video), Cameron started practicing yoga at the Shivananda center in Paris in 1987 (my birth year, now I feel young). Today he’s a Yogi to the stars, making appearances on shows like The Dr. Oz Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Today Show, Extra, Martha and more. He’s also the sole author of The Guru in You and The One Plan. I chatted with him about getting balanced and how he came to find yoga in the glamourous world of fashion. Check out the video for the full interview!
What is Ayurveda?
Before I talk tea, let’s start from the beginning – roughly 5,000 years ago to be exact. Ayurveda (Sanskrit: आयुर्वेद)is one of the oldest forms of traditional medicine and is a system of knowledge with historical roots from India’s Vedic culture. Ayu meaning “life” and Veda “science”, translating to “The Science of Life”. Ayurveda is an ancient form of medicine which emphasizes that balancing of the mind, body and spirit as essential for holistic well-being. In Ayurveda, the universe if made up of five elements: Air, Fire, Water, Earth and Space. In these elements there are three doshas (or energies) that make up our physical and mental states. While every individual is a combination of all three energies, depending on the stage of life we’re in, we each portray qualities specific to our dominant dosha or energy state at certain times of our lives. The special combination of the three doshas is what truly keeps us in balance, however, fluctuations in the seasons, weather, food choices, lifestyle, time of day, relationships and more can cause stresses to our bodies and imbalances in our system.
Experts advise that certain practices and daily activities can help you achieve balance. Some of these include: herbs & spices, calming music, yoga and meditation, aromatherapy, essential oils and more. These new herbal teas are an extension of this concept and are so tasty, you would never know how good they are for us.
The 3 Doshas
Let’s go over the 3 doshas and which tea will best compliment you!
Vata – Primary Location: Colon
Vata, my predominant dosha, has qualities that represent Space and Air. We tend to be quick thinkers, sensitive, fast movers, and thin with cold hand and feet! Sounds pretty accurate to me. Vata’s are also known to be creative, expressive, active, flexible and quick learning (but forget easily), does this sound familiar to you? When imbalanced, Vata’s tend to be quick nervous, anxious, worriers and indecisive. Vata’s tend to enjoy foods that are warm and nourishing such as stews, soups, chillis, root vegetables, nuts and seeds and avoid cold foods and light salads. Check out some of my favourite hearty recipes here and here. We also tend to enjoy gentle yoga classes, which help releases nervous tensions and promote good digestion, clarity and calmness. Lastly, Vata’s prefer calm, cozy and warm environments and enjoy nature walks and guided meditation to help relax the body and mind.
The Tetley Poise-Vata tea is one of my favourites (and is coincidently the one I’m best suited for according to my dosha)! It’s great if you’re feeling scattered or worried which is basically me ALL.THE.TIME. Made with a warming blend of cinnamon bark, camomile, fennel, tulsi (or holy basil), licorice root, orange peel and cardamom, this rich blend is sure to keep you centered after a day of errands!
Pitta – Primary Location: Stomach
Pitta was my second most dominant dosha. Pittas have qualities that reflect Fire and Water- fiery personality, warm body temperatures and medium build. This hot element enjoys cooling treatments and moist conditions that can help regulate our overall body temperature. When Pitta’s are in balance they’re warm, friendly, sharp, intelligent and highly organized, however, they can be stiff, angry, arrogant and judgmental when out of synch (in the words in chef Lauren Marshall “Stay away!!”). Pitta’s govern body temperature, sight, perception and metabolism. They can find balance through cooling foods and herbs, like cucumber, fennel, coriander, peppermint and citrus fruits, and tend to avoid spicy or fermented foods. In terms of yoga, Pittas may benefit from a practice that promotes openness and patience, resulting in feeling of relaxation and restfulness. Lastly, deep breathing exercises and setting realistic goals can help keep Pitta’s core energy balanced and in harmony with the rest of the body and mind.
The Tetley Cool-Pitta tea is great when you’re feeling overheated and need something to help calm you down. This cooling tea is made with a blend of peppermint, hibiscus, spearmint, lemon balm, coriander and lavender and will leave you feeling refreshed and balanced. I’ve been loving this tea aside a delicious salad (see here, or here), and just before bedtime!
Kapha – Primary Location: Chest
Last but not least, Kaphas portray qualities of earth (the heaviest element of all) and water. Kaphas are calm, with solid body frames and high endurance. When in balance they can be stable, compassionate, affectionate, patient and forgiving, and when not, they tend to feel lethargic, complacent, possessive and insensitive. Moreover, when sick they may have a build up of mucus, a cough or susceptible to the flu. Kaphas can find balance through foods that stimulate the digestive tract with warming, spicy, light and dry foods and enjoy light fruits, most vegetables and spices like pepper, ginger and cloves. They also tend to avoid oils, nuts, grains and dairy. According to Tetley Canada, Kaphas have the best stamina of all three doshas, and enjoy a variety of energizing activities. Lastly, meditation may help Kaphas be open to the joy of the flow of life, bringing peace, lightness and inner calmness to the outer world.
The Tetley Vigour-Kapha tea is an uplifting and warming tea crafted with delicious blend of ginger root, tulsi, peppermint, spearmint, clove, turmeric and cumin that will help when you’re feeling tired and sluggish. I enjoy this tea after a light yoga class, around that mid-day hump, when I’m feeling like I’m ready for a nap. I looove ginger, so this tea is right up my alley- but the hints of cumin and mint help balance out all the flavours nicely.
So which do you think you sound like? You can find out for sure what your primary Dosha is by taking this 5 minute online quiz here. And head over to Tetley’s website for more information on their new Ayurvedic Balance teas, and for tips on how to stay balanced, while incorporating Ayurveda into your everyday life!
So tell me, are you a tea lover?
What’s your favourite kind of tea, and how do you usually take it? Have you heard of Ayurveda before, what do you know?
Leave me a comment below- I would love to hear your thoughts!
Disclaimer: This post was developed in paid partnership with Tetley tea, however, all opinions are genuine.
Contribution by Tea Tester/ Intern: Alexis Silver
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian, an avid food writer and blogger, a cookbook author and the founder of Abbey’s Kitchen Inc.