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Healing Scapes is holistic design for People and Place. The life works, healing, and educational practice of Kate Hirst, located in the lush and fertile valley of Eugene, Oregon. An amalgam of Ayurveda, Yoga, Herbalism, and the Principles of Permaculture garden design: Healing Scapes seeks to create a yoga (union) between the health of humans and the health of habitats. Beginning with each person's local or internal landscape (body, mind, and spirit) and extending to their external environment (home, garden, relationships, and community), and back to the local, like the dynamic and flowing circle of Gaia.
A scape is the foundation of a flower or inflourescence, a foundation of a building, a scene or a view of land, and in this case a gestalt of body and mind. Health can be assumed for a time on a surface level, however in order to create true vitality, strength, and energy you must look to the foundation or the roots to achieve persistent and lasting effects. The root of Healing of our body-mind-spirit complex is seeing ourselves as a piece of the place in which we exist, and then understanding that healing ourselves is inextricably linked to healing the land or earth within which we reside. According to Ayurveda, a 5,000 year old tradition from the heart of the Himalayan mountains, all organic matter is composed of the same 5 elements, Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether (Space). All adjustments and alterations in the quality and health of an organism are obtained through adjusting the balance of those elements within the organism. This simple approach to balance can be easily extended to our external environment in a dynamic interplay of healing humans and habitats.
Ayurveda is a healing art and science evolved from deep in the Himalayan Mountains of India. It is a sister science to Yoga and an ancient practice of self observation and self healing, easily applied today, that teaches us to cultivate our own unique state of health and vitality. Ayurveda is a journey to find balance and harmony within ourselves, our relationships, our lifestyles (including sleep and diet), and our interaction with the stimuli of the world we inhabit. The journey begins by learning about our specific combination of physiology and psychology, known Ayurvedically as our bodily constitution. Better health is achieved when we learn to shift habits and patterns in our lives that are creating imbalances in our body-mind complex. What do dry skin, cracking joints, constipation, and anxiety have in common? Ayurvedically, they are symptoms related to the same imbalance. What about rashes, rage, headaches, and some eye infections? These too are a pattern of symptoms resulting from another kind of imbalance. Imbalances are often corrected by a shift in diet and lifestyle, as well as general outlook. The journey of Ayurveda teaches us how to recognize patterns of imbalance in ourselves and how to shift them back into balance before they manifest as disease, so we are healthier, happier, and more confident on our path. I like to think of Ayurveda as a “Choose your own adventure” book, remember those from your childhood? The journey of self-healing is constantly evolving and shifting. It is helpful to have tools along the way that remind us to return to our own inner wisdom to create a wonder-full life for ourselves, and the humans and habitats we come into contact with throughout the journey.
Made of mostly air and space (ether), both subtle and ethereal elements. With vata, air can only utilize its movement potential when space is available, consequently we can only move and shift in life, or peristalsis can only happen in a healthy way, when there is room for things to move and shift. Vata is considered the principle of movement, and it governs bodily movement, the nervous system, and prana (the life force). Without vata, pitta and kapha would be stagnant energy in the body, just as without air/wind a fire will burn out. Consequently, because it is the principle of movement, vata can also “push around” the other doshic energy, thereby creating or aggravating an imbalance that is more pitta or kaphic in nature.
Vata energy is responsible for joy, happiness, creativity, speech, sneezing, and elimination, to name a few.
Vata has the qualities of dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, mobile (erratic/hyper), and clear. It is somewhat astringent in nature, and related to blackish and brownish colors. When considering treatment for imbalance or disease, if vata is a factor, Ayurveda often uses qualities opposite of those just named to balance the vata energy.
Vata people in physical nature tend to be thin, airy/wafey, flexible, dry, irregular in physical form/appearance tending toward long and tall (i.e extremely tall, or very large teeth), small eyes, variable appetite, and often experience digestive problems. They are often delicate constitutionally or in health, as vata is the cause of about 80 types of diseases in ayurveda, by far the most of all of the doshas.
Behaviorally, vata is easily excitable, alert, and act quickly without thinking. They are creative and imaginative, but can be lonely and fearful. They change quickly, but the change is often short-lived. They can often be found moving furniture at 2am due to boredom. They have difficulty sitting idley, and spend money easily.
Predominately created by the elements of fire and water. Water protects heat from burning through everything in site (i.e. mucous lining in the stomach protects us from hydro-chloric acid leaking out into the body cavity and burning it with it’s acidic elements). Pitta predominant people tend to struggle with balancing fire and water, particularly if they also have a lot of kapha. Pitta is the principle of assimilation, it governs enzymatic and hormonal activity, and is responsible for digestion, pigmentation of skin, body temperature, hunger, sight, learning, and comprehension.
Pitta qualitatively is hot, sharp, light, liquid, spreading, and slightly oil in nature. Sour, pungent, and slightly bitter to taste, and has the smell of flesh. Associated with the colors of red and yellow.
Physically, pitta people have a sensitive and reactive body with a medium frame and weight. They seldom gain or lose weight. Their teeth will be sharp and yellowish, and their eyes are bright and sensitive to light. Usually they have a strong appetite, and thirst, and tend to crave sweets and cold things.
Behaviorally, pitta types are very intelligent, and feel that learning is of high importance. They tend to be disciplined and are good leaders. They tend to be wise, and adhere strongly to their principles. They are capable of giving a wrong answer with great confidence. They can also be judgemental, critical, and perfectionistic, and are angered easily. They often make a lot of money, are famous, and love luxury.
The principle of stability. Combined mostly of water and earth, allows the earth to be fluid and not stagnate, or the fluidity of form. Kapha is responsible for the forces of cohesion (of molecules), absorption, and stability. Kapha governs the bodies structure (being the only doshic energy to contain a lot of earth). It provides lubrication, moisture (to the skin), healing propensity (for wounds), strong muscles and bones, and memory retention.
Kapha qualitatively is heavy, slow, cool, oily, liquid, slimy, dense, soft, static, sticky, cloudy, hard, and gross. It is sweet and salty in taste, and white in color.
Physically, Kaphas have strong, larger body frames, large eyes, strong, white teeth, thick, curly, oily hair, and oily skin. They tend to have a steady appetite, but have slow digestion and metabolism. Which can result in weight gain, which kaphas can have trouble getting rid of. They tend to crave sweet and salty things, and as a result can have water retention.
Behaviorally, kaphas have a deep, stable faith, are loving and compassionate, and have a calm and steady mind, good memory, and a deep melodious voice. They love eating, sitting, doing nothing, and sleeping a lot. Kaphas make and save money, and their extravagances are usually cheese, candy, and cakes. Unbalanced they suffer from greed, attachment, laziness. However they tend toward excellent strength in constitution, peace, love and longevity.