The “science of long and healthy life” often helps us to understand children quite easily, to guide them individually and to promote them according to their abilities. If we know their basic constitution, it makes it even easier to alleviate their complaints.
Looking into the eyes of a newborn baby deeply touches our soul. Unconsciously it reminds us of our first breath – and the path we have been travelling so far. When a child is born, it has a unique basic constitution and its mission is to grow towards the light. In the soul there is yearning for love, life and light.
The journey of life leads us through ups and downs. The thought patterns we create, keep us away from our true nature. Inappropriate lifestyle and diet, anxiety and stress as well as restrictive education can disturb our inherent powers and produce various symptoms and complaints.
The holistic approach of Ayurveda opens the awareness for the relationship between physical and mental condition and thereof resulting various symptoms which may lead to certain health problems. Diet and lifestyle are adjusted to the individual constitution of the child as well as therapy and the course of treatment. To determine the constitution of the child, Prakriti, on the one hand enables to strengthen the power of the child and on the other hand helps to guide the child in a positive way to overcome its weaknesses. This creates an important basis for healthy growth and a holistic personality development.
In the first five years of life the basic constitution of a child is unfolded very clearly.
The doshas, also called bioenergies Vata, Pitta and Kapha are built through the relation of the five elements that are present in everything: in humans, animals, minerals, plants and in the cosmos. Pakriti, the basic constitution, is determined according to the proportion of the specific characteristics in the elemental qualities.
Doshas work in every cell
Vata, the air-ether principle, Pitta, the fire principle and Kapha, the earth-water principle, work in every cell, organ and tissue. In every human being, all three doshas are represented. The different combinations and emphasis constitute the uniqueness of every person. The balance of our inherent powers determines our state of health.
From Ayurvedic point of view the doshas are responsible for all positive and negative changes in the body. They communicate between body and mind. They shape the individual constitution and have an effect according to the seasons and the three major stages of life: childhood, midlife and old age.
Small-boned body structure
The basic constitution reveals itself mostly in the first five years of life of a child. If the Vata dosha, the principle of movement, is particularly strong, the child appears to be fragile and vulnerable. Its small-boned physical structure, shimmering veins under the delicate skin and its sensitivity embody the air and ether element. The elements express themselves with restlessness and stress by disturbed sleep, stuttering, nervousness and in the digestive system by flatulence and constipation.
During childhood the pattern of the Kapha dosha may be observed especially well.
Windy and cold weather, hardly digestible and irregular food have a very disturbing effect on the state of health. Earache, susceptibility to infection, cold feeling and hyperactivity are the expression of upcoming typical Vata symptoms.
The Vata-child is full of curiosity, joy of movement and goes into the world in wonderment. With its outgoingness and quick comprehension, it conquers the social environment easily. However, if its basis is not stable, for example due to loss of a caregiver or stress, it may dissociate itself shyly. For its growing-up it needs rest, stability, affection and emotional security. With a balanced, regular, easily digestible diet that promotes digestive power, its development can be positively strengthened.
The Pitta child needs a lot of space and attention. With its strong will, it demands its needs. Its intelligence and charisma open hearts – and the Pitta child knows that very well. It always wants to be the best. If this is not the case, it can react with fierce defiance and fury. It needs clear structures and a strong, loving counterpart to bring its skills together to constructive social competence.
Due to their fiery temper and their willingness to take risks Pitta children may be prone to accidents and defeats. Pitta, the principle of transformation, shows itself through a great joy of movement and bodily warmth and a fair, sensitive, irritable skin. The symptoms of an increased Pitta dosha occur through inflammation, burning in the stomach and in the intestinal tract, diarrhea and hyperacidity (heartburn), chronic skin diseases, migraine, sweats, sudden fever, which comes up seemingly unexpected in the evening at 40° Centigrade and in the next morning it has disappeared. The complaints always manifest in an excessive way and change quickly.
Friendly and balanced
A Kapha child charms its environment with its friendliness and calmness. Kapha stands for structure, stability, love, peace and strength. The child sleeps well, eats well and takes its time in everything. It enjoys and observes the world. It does not like excessive exertion. It invests just as much strength as needed. Its body is characterized by good stability and a strong immune system.
Kapha children are prone to mucous congestion in the head and chest area, blocked nose, lack of motivation and tiredness. Through its love of coziness and enjoyment, dysbalance is often caused by lack of exercise and by the love of indulgence, especially in sweets. The consequences are lack of drive, heaviness, listlessness, nausea, edema, colds and metabolic disorders that can be deposited in the tissues. This can result in obesity, diabetes, oozing eczema and cysts.
Distinct Kapha dosha
During childhood, the expression of the Kapha dosha can be particularly well observed: baby fat, large and shiny eyes, moist skin, a need for plenty of sleep, regularity and the tendency to get a cold are an expression of this dosha on the physical level. Enjoyment, inner contentment, confidence and compensatory ability find their expression on the emotional level. In this time, Kapha dosha creates the basis for a healthy individual development of body and mind. In this phase of life, special attention is drawn on metabolism of the body tissue dhatus – blood plasma, blood cells, muscle tissue, adipose tissue, bone tissue, bone marrow and brain as well as reproductive substances. Their condition and healthiness bear great responsibility for the child’s power of resistance and health up to early adulthood.
The treatments are adapted to the Kapha dosha during childhood as it determines the building of metabolism of the tissue and will be more and more emphasized during this time, regardless of the child’s individual constitution. Kapha symptoms, such as excessive mucus formation, fatigue and lymphatic swelling, are among the typical diseases during infancy.
Infants whose basic constitution is determined by Kapha may tend to obesity, which naturally disappears at the age of nine. Then the Pitta dosha increases according to the constitution. The body grows, the relationship of the child to the surrounding is redefined, it seeks its place in the family and in social environment. The power of observation and the intellect find their expression. It asks: why? The child wants to know and understand.
Balancing the doshas
If you notice typical Vata symptoms in your child or adolescent, such as restlessness, sleep disturbances, flatulence, constipation, dry skin and hair, you may positively influence it through regularity throughout the day: sufficient rest periods, warmth, baths, oil massages and a Vata-reducing diet (warm, nourishing, easily digestible, sweet, sour, salty, oily). Soft yoga exercise in a warm room supports stabilization.
Above all, create an atmosphere of secureness.
Excessive heat sensation and sweating, inflammatory tendencies, burning, diarrhea, heartburn, pimples, rashes and aggressiveness are signs of excessive Pitta, which may be balanced through cooling food, exercise in the fresh air and cooling clothes. Food should preferably be sweet, tart and bitter with cooling herbs and diet. Yoga exercises in cool rooms that relax and loosen the body are helpful, such as forward bends, turns and raised legs in order to relieve the upper body.
Kapha dominance is shown through tiredness, sluggishness, indigestion, excessive sleep, water retention and obesity. An easy digestible, predominantly warm diet, supported by digestive spices and warming herbs can help to get out of sluggishness. Physical exercises and encouragement through the loving caregivers can do wonders. Fast, dynamic asanas while standing, reversing positions, back bends, and hand and headstands bring the Kapha dominance into motion.
In puberty, the Pitta dosha begins to take the lead. Excessive physical and mental heat can create a challenging field of tension for the adolescents, in which they particularly demand understanding and strength of the adults.
In all the personality structures and performance ideals growing up and educating children and adolescents needs the loving presence of parents/educators in order to strengthen the child’s self-acceptance and to build-up a healthy self-consciousness and awareness.
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