It's most certainly Spring. And I don't know about you but certainly in these days of warming, moist, overcast, wistful weather the desires of the body start to take precedence over other more sensible things.
Ayurveda has strong feelings about the urges of the body (urges of the mind are a different matter and definite more suspect). These natural urges are referred to collectively as vega and include: Hunger, Thirst, Belching, Farting, Coughing, Sneezing, Eliminating, Sleeping, Sexual needs, Emotional responses, and Vomiting. They are the messengers of your body's needs; listen to them. Forcing or repressing them can lead to all sorts of problems!
This is what you need to know about your urges:
- They are never to be suppressed nor forced!.
- They express the naturally occurring needs of the body.
- Not obeying them disturbs the natural movements of vata, and vata out of whack causes all sorts of bad things!
- Getting in touch with urges is getting in touch with the needs of your body– it will go a long way to developing intuition about what is good for you.
Here are some details;
- Thirst – Ideally you should drink water only when you actually feel thirsty. Many people drink excess water because they are conditioned to drink constantly and don’t even know when they are actually thirsty. Drinking when you don’t need to leads to an increase in kapha and hampers digestion (making it inefficient and lazy). It might even contribute to diabetes and thyroid imbalances. Excess thirst should be seen as a sign of imbalance which needs to be fixed.
- Hunger – is felt whenever the body requires nourishment (and the previous food is digested). If you are not hungry don’t eat– if you do the food will rot rather than digest. If you miss a normal meal-time and are hungry – eat a small quantity food that is warm and a bit oily (like a cup of soup with buttered bread). Beware of false hunger which is really only boredom or cravings that trick you into feeling hunger. Real hunger can be judged when you are ready to eat food that you do not normally crave. If you don’t know; have a cup of warm water and see if you are still hungry.
- Sleep – When the body requires rest the senses do not want to take in any more stimulation. Our sense must take a break and turn inward for at least 6 hours a day. The hours of sleep are important too; if you are not asleep at night your body’s subtle digestion or metabolism will get confused and excess tissues will form. Lack of sleep leads to body aches, mental haziness and poor judgments. If you are worried about your stress levels make sure you are getting enough sleep.
- Gas – As strange as it may seem, suppressing gas causes various kinds of diseases including anxiety, heart diseases, and diseases of the eyes. It is observed that sprouted beans, potatoes, some lentil dishes, irregularly timed meals, excess quantity of food, heavy foods, and even stress increase gas. Avoid these or take digestive herbs to help reduce gases, but don’t suppress it!
- Bowel Movement - Suppression or forcing can give rise to headaches, cramps in legs, heart disease, hemorrhoids, all sorts of abdominal discomfort, and poor eye-sight. I have seen several people with a background of strict schooling when they were children who resisted the urge to go as permission to leave the classroom was difficult to get. They tend to struggle with constipation and digestive disorders later in life.
- Urination- Of course frequency depends on quantity of liquid intake, nature of work, and atmospheric conditions (more sweat means less pee). Think about this if you suffer from urinary tract infections or renal calculus (as well as the symptoms mentioned from the suppression of gas and stool).
- Coughing – Sneezing and hiccuping also fall into this catagory. Suppressing these impacts Prana. And we all know how bad that is…
- Tears – Grief or sorrow should be relieved with tears. But these sentiments are often suppressed leading to pain in the eyes, head, or even to a tumor. Sometimes a loss is so shocking that the person is unable to express the feelings. Counseling and sleep help release the emotions. Use of wine is also recommended as many cultures around the world know.
- Nausea and Vomiting – Whenever the body does not want to retain something in the stomach (could be food, kapha, or pitta) it tries to expel it out by vomiting. This is not a comfortable process and many people resist it. People with hyper-acidity often have nausea and are relieved after vomiting. Taking antacids is a form of suppression and can produce skin diseases. All the diseases that come from kapha and pitta accumulations can come from resisting nausea including hyper-acidity, skin disease, headaches, dizziness, and bleeding disorders.
- Sexual urge – This is an important urge. In an ideal world we would never go without sex and affection when we wanted it and never indulge unless we really felt desire. There are a few things that must be considered in this category: excessive masturbation, staying in unhealthy relationships, incomplete coitus used as a contraception. What will happen besides hairy palms? Seriously: the depletion of shukra dhatu (the tissue of creation and reproduction) leading to impotency, infertility, loss of courage, compassion or ability to rejuvenate (heal), physical strength, happiness, ability to feel pleasure. Not good stuff. Better cut it out….
- Yawning, Burping, Sweating and Breathlessness from exertion are other urges people unknowingly resist because of social pressure and/or trying to be proper. Resisting these urges disturbs the natural direction of Vata and can cause many serious health issues.