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Breast Health and the Doshas
A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about the Ayurvedic perspective on breast health, in addition to general tips for promoting healthy breasts and reducing the risk of developing cancer or other ailments. In short, Ayurveda posits that the health of our breasts are intimately connected to the overall health of our bodies. Our lymph, hormonal secretions, immunity and metabolism are all linked to the breasts and the female reproductive system; our breast health can affect all these other dimensions, and vice versa. Things like diet, exercise, stress and inflammation in other parts of the body can negatively or positively influence the breasts.
The key to maintaining healthy breasts is in adopting lifestyle practices that help to keep the body and mind in balance. Today, we’ll take a deeper look into how the balance of the doshas can help us better understand our breast health. Kapha and Vata are especially crucial because they both affect the flow of lymph and the clearing of toxins from within the breast tissue, but keeping all three doshas in balance will be important.
How the Doshas Influence Our Breasts
Our dominant dosha tends to be correlated with our physical constitution—including our breasts. There are specific signs of doshic imbalance that show up through our breasts, just like any other part of our bodies. Certain doshas will be more likely to experience certain kinds of imbalance, but you may also experience imbalances related to a dosha that is not your dominant one. Paying attention to your symptoms, both emotional and physical, will help key you into which doshas may be out of balance.
When balanced, Vata-dominant people have breasts that tend to be small, with dry and thin skin. When Vata is out of balance, you may experience a shrinking effect in the breasts, dehydrated skin and blocked ducts.
When balanced, Pitta-dominant people tend toward breasts of medium size and skin that is thicker and somewhat oily. When Pitta is out of balance, symptoms include inflammation and redness, unusual (green, yellow or bloody) discharge and PMS-related breast pain.
When balanced, Kapha-dominant people tend to have large breasts with hydrated, thick skin. When Kapha is out of balance, you may experience swelling or an increase in breast size, lumps, especially thick discharge and yeast infections.
Changes in one’s menstrual cycle and PMS symptoms can also indicate an underlying doshic imbalance, so paying attention to the other dimensions of the female reproductive system is also important.
If you recognize yourself as having some of the symptoms described above, the key will be to follow a regimen intended to balance the dosha in question. That includes eating dosha-balancing foods, exercising properly and even adopting meditation practices that are aimed at bringing balance to the mind and body. You can also take up detoxification practices that are beneficial to all, like dry brushing and self-massage, which both help to boost circulation and expel toxins.
You might also consider incorporating balancing, nourishing Ayurvedic herbs into your daily routine. Some that are especially helpful for women’s health include shatavari, aloe vera, fennel seeds and tulsi (holy basil). Be sure to check in with your medical provider before making any substantial changes to your routine.
While our breast health may seem mysterious and opaque, paying close attention to our bodies can tell us a lot about our balances and imbalances. When seen in this light, we can grow empowered to take charge of our breast health in ways that are concrete, effective and approachable.
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