Air Needs Space to Breathe

According to the ancient Indian science of Ayurveda, learning to balance our constant action with moments of stillness is the key to not letting stress get the best of you.

Lately, I have been feeling overwhelmed and stressed, and it seems like there isn’t enough time. Sound familiar? Between my corporate day job, building my Ayurveda practice, finishing up my Anatomy and Physiology requirement all while trying to have a social life, I am constantly being pulled in a million different directions. And the thing is, I love what I am doing, and all of the new directions I am headed in, but sometimes it still feels like too much.

For most of us, the more we have to do, the more we lean into it, pushing ourselves to stay up later, work harder, and keep at it every free moment we have. What I have learned from Ayurveda, however, is that when we are feeling as though there isn’t enough time, we should take a break, which can actually help us find more time. As one of my teachers wisely put it: “Air needs space to breathe.”

Vata is the dosha that is made of the elements of air and ether. Air being the element of movement and ether being the element of space. It is also the only dosha that is mobile, meaning when you are doing a lot and pushing yourself to the limit, your Vata can easily get out of balance. And when your Vata is out of balance, you can feel stressed, anxious and fearful, and have trouble sleeping.

That is why we have to apply the opposite when we are feeling this way. We should stop pushing ourselves to the limit and instead push ourselves to take a break. For example, the other day I was feeling stressed, and before I moved onto my next task, I took a walk in the sunshine and did a 20-minute meditation. I then felt refreshed and ready to face the rest of my day. And this past weekend, even though I had a million things to cross off every one of my to-do lists, I used the time to rest and recharge — OK, with a few client consultations for WellBeings sprinkled in, but I have a bit of Pitta in me and have to feed that also.

So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed and like you can’t do it all — stop. Create the space your Vata needs to move. Take a walk or even just a few deep breaths. A few quiet moments can help clear your head a lot more than you think to complete your task at-hand. Leave a comment below on some of your favorite ways to take a break and create space for yourself.


Originally published at www.wellbeings.co on March 16, 2016.