The Perfect Storm
We are living in a time where we are constantly (literally 24/7) being bombarded by electricity and radiation from digital devices. This stimulation of the nervous system, coupled with our bullet-train-paced lifestyle, eating and working on the go is the Perfect Storm for creating a Vata imbalance.
Vata is connected to the air element, when there is an excess (or what we call in Ayurveda) an imbalance, we might experience feeling ungrounded, anxious and overwhelmed. The more dense elements like fire, earth and water, associated with the Pitta and Kalpha doshas are more sustaining and supportive to our physical bodies and mind.
The result of our tech-heavy lifestyle is a rapid rise in anxiety, a slew of modern diseases manifesting, mysterious auto-immune conditions and an exacerbation of the ‘old’ diseases.
Studies show, digital technology places a very particular kind of stress on the nervous system, immune system plus our ability to concentrate and be compassionate!
Classic symptoms of Vata imbalance
Although being dominant in Vata is pretty fun, we are creative and free-spirited AND Vata is the dosha most susceptible to physical and mental disease. Vata governs the nervous system, the senses and mind - we are also prone to instability in these areas. Vata types also tend to have a weaker immune system, meaning that we are extra sensitive to germs and stress.
Anxiety & worry
Disturbed sleep & dreams
Inability to concentrate
Fear of being alone, loneliness
Lack of compassion & empathy
Dry skin and hair
Cracking joints, arthritis
Irregular digestion & appetite
Degenerative diseases (particularly of the senses)
Weak immune system
Alongside being more sensitive to light and noise, Vata types will experience disurbed sleep if we are not wise with technology and the type of light entering the eyes. Us humans are wired to process three types of light: sunlight, moonlight and firelight. The blue-light that is emitted by screens (mobile phones, laptops,TV screens) enters the eye and hits the pineal gland that resides in the centre of your brain. Not only does this mess with your third eye, but it also blocks the release of melatonin (the sleep hormone) that is supposed to release as the sunsets. All this to say, if you are looking at a screen there a couple of must-do’s.
1. Pop on your blue-blocking glasses (here is a link to the pair I rock during the day) and then orange lenses from sunset.
2. Try to be in natural light as much as possible. Put your device on “Night Shift” and download the f.lux program, these two things simulate firelight which the brain can recognise.
3. And if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, absolutely no screen time after 8pm.
DISCONNECT TO CONNECT
A research study by Harvard University, shows that our capacity for human connection, compassion and empathy decreases with the number of hours spent on digital technology each day. Another aspect of the Harvard study is focused on our ability to concentrate. The way technology functions means that we are constantly distracted. Our attention is being pulled in multiple directions simultaneously (often deliberately designed this way by online platforms to keep us engaged)
Through Ayurveda we understand the above as signs of excess Vata. When we get stuck in the upper realms of the thinking mind and creative mind, we disconnect from feeling and our physical bodies.
If the majority of your human connection is happening through email, messages and social media; the screen acts as a barrier for touch and energetic connection. It’s like our connection muscle gets slack.
With real connection, comes compassion and empathy, feeling for and with another being. If you’re scattered, up in the clouds or consumed with worry and anxious thoughts, here are the two most efficient ways to discharge the current of technology from your body and mind.
Get grounded through your yoga practice, here is my Vata balancing video practice for daily connection. Go slow and focus on opening the lower body.
Food is Medicine. Vata balancing foods that help to absorb and reduce the effects of EMF and tech-stress are warm, cooked fruits and vegetables. Soaked and cooked grains, nuts and seeds, organic greek yogurt and ghee, honey and dates. Learn all Ayurvedic eating principles here.
Be sure to balance your screen time with in-the-flesh connections each day.