One of the most important factors in health is time but perhaps not in the way you may think.
In Western society, we think of one minute as the same as the next, and although we recognize the changes of season, we are often insulated from them, in our homes, offices and cars. Time is often measured in economic not natural terms, so we do not understand how to harmonize our lives with natural time.
Robert Svoboda, well known Ayurvedic physician and author of The Hidden Secret of Ayurveda explains in his book how the cycles of the day, and the year and the bioenergies of the body are all related to elements of nature. There are five elements of our world: ether, air, fire, water and earth. Ether represents empty space, air represents wind, fire represents metabolism and transformation, water represents lubrication, and earth represents solidity. They are represented in nature, in our bodies and in time.
Because they are the most fundamental to life, air, fire and earth define the three bioenergies or doshas of the body: vata is air, pitta is fire and kapha is earth. Ether is considered part of air and vata dosha. Water is part of pitta dosha (fire) since water is necessary to activate the stomach acids for the fire of digestion and kapha dosha (earth) which has the role of lubricating the body.
The body is not the only way in which the three bioenergies of vata, pitta and kapha are relevant. The day reflects the bioenergies as well. The day is divided onto six segments which incorporate the doshas according to the natural time rhythms of the day. The time segments are:
Vata represents the movement of prana and as a result is active at dawn and dusk when prana is most active. Pitta representing fire is active when the sun (fire) is strongest and when our digestion is strongest. Kapha which represents the solidity of our bodies slows down at night and when the sun rises starts to awaken. Its lubricative function is warmed by the sun so that is fully available to our digestive systems at midday.
A perfect example of how Ayurveda uses this information is the practice of eating the main meal of the day at midday. Since the digestion is strongest then, food can be processed more efficiently minimizing the possibility of building up undigested food in the body which leads to disease. Poorly digested food is one of many sources of toxins that create imbalances impairing our ability to function and our happiness.
Ayurveda fosters daily habits that work with natural time which contributes to enjoying a long, healthy life. It helps us minimize disease as much as possible by keeping us in balance as much as possible. For highly sensitive people who have many health challenges, Ayurveda is a worthwhile investment.