While there is a LOT to explore in the realm of Ayurveda and how it supports women, I feel a simple place to begin is understanding how a woman’s dosha* changes once she has given birth and how she can best use this awareness to nourish and heal herself fully.
According to the Ayurvedic tradition, each body is a unique combination of the 5 natural elements: earth, fire, air, water, and ether. While all 5 elements are present in everyone, there are two predominant elements that make up each person’s dosha (mind-body type), for example:
Vata ~ air & ether
Pitta ~ fire & water
Kapha ~ water & earth
During childbirth and postpartum, the most prominent dosha is Vata. Vata directly translates as wind, and governs all movement in the body and mind. It is responsible for elimination, muscular movement, blood flow, sensory input to the brain, the nervous system, and the circulation of nutrients in all cellular tissue. When Vata is out of balance, it impacts our entire body system.
Childbirth causes a Vata imbalance in all women, regardless of how her birth unfolded. The downward force that brings a baby through the birth canal is Vata. The emptiness of the womb is Vata, in the form of space. A Vata imbalance can cause a woman to feel off-center, scattered, and vulnerable to cold and dry.
Vata imbalance can be addressed through food (see the recipe across). Warming, nourishing meals will aid in healing and ground a woman into her body, while also being gentle on her system. She will be replenished as she integrates her birth, produces milk for her baby, and restores her body. In addition to her physical healing, when a new mama is well fed and hydrated she will be able to focus on her most important task, which is to bond with her baby.
• 1 tsp cumin seed
• 1 tsp fennel seed
• 1 tsp coriander seed
• 1 tsp mustard Seed
• Fresh turmeric
• Fresh ginger
• 1 cup white basmati rice (soaked overnight and rinsed thoroughly)
• 1 cup mung beans (soaked overnight and rinsed thoroughly)
• Fresh vegetables of choice. (You can use a local starch such as pumpkin, ulu, kalo, in place of some or all grain)
This recipe can be amended as desired. I vary my recipe each time I make it depending on the mama’s preferences.
• Warm 1 tbsp of ghee in a pot.
• Add seeds and toast, until they begin to pop stirring to avoid burning.
• Once seeds are toasted (most of them will be split open) stir in fresh ginger, turmeric, and vegetables. Stew all ingredients together until they begin to tender.
• Add in 4 cups of water or homemade broth and simmer until grains are cooked. Note: You may need to add more liquid.
• Eat warm and enjoy!
You can also freeze extra servings or keep it warm to eat throughout the day. Kitchari is wonderful breakfast, lunch, and dinner! And can be thoroughly enjoyed throughout the cooler winter months.
*Doshas express unique blends of physical, emotional, and mental characteristics. In Ayurveda, health is defined as the dynamic state of balance between mind, body, and environment.