Ah, the beach! Or the shore, as some call it. Water, waves, hot sun, seaweed, sand all over everything. This is so much to love – and just as much not to love – about the beach. I grew-up in Rhode Island, which is known as the “Ocean State,” on a small island to be exact. So the beach and water have been a part of my entire life.
On a recent beach visit with my husband, I found myself wondering and exploring the ways I felt the seaside was beneficial – maybe even healing – for the three doshas. For those who don’t know, the doshas represent the five elements (ether, air, fire, water, earth) found in the physical world. The natural world, therefore, can have an impact on the balance of the doshas in our bodies. So how dies the beach effect our doshas? Here are some of my thoughts during that beach visit.
Elements of the Beach:
The Water – An obvious attraction of the seaside, and also obviously primarily comprised of the water element. But as you watch the waves lap onto the shore, there is movement to the ocean which is characteristic of vata (elements of air and ether). The ocean water contains salt which is of the earth element. The power of the tides also have the power to transform the shoreline (erosion) which is a characteristic of pitta (fire and water elements)>.
Sandy Beaches – The sandy terrain of the shoreline is a light, airy earth element There’s a salty, grainy aspect too, as you would quickly notice if sand blew into your afternoon picnic.
Sun – We head to the beaches because the water provides relief from the hot summer sun. The sun has the power to warms us, the sand and the water, as well as create a wonderful tan or sunburn on our bodies. Clearly the element of fire.
Sea Breezes – One of the best parts of being along the shoreline are the coastal breezes. Its a cooling delight as the wind gently drifts over the water onto the shore. Air and ether are the dominating elements here. However the breeze often picks up some of the salt from the water, especially if its foggy, bringing a slight earth influence.
Possible Effects on the Doshas:
Vata – Ether & Air: because movement is a hallmark trait of vata, the tides and breezes could subject a vata to potential imbalance. The sand and water can provide much needed grounding to a vata personality.
Kapha – Water & Earth: Even though the store is amassed with earth and water elements (literally, sand and water), it can may not be overwhelmingly grounding for a kapha. The breezes have the powr to invigorate, the sun heats stagnant energies, and the water provides gentle movement. The key for kapha is to find balance between resting and gentle activities while enjoying the beach.
Pitta – Water & FIre: pittas, in my opinion, are most at risk of imbalance at the beach. Hot sun combined with pitta’s competitive nature, they often overdo it when outdoors in the summer. However, the breezes and the water are cooling to pitta’s fiery heat. The sand provides grounded, provided there is plenty of shade available.
Please know that these are my observations of nature and the doshas. There is so much that goes into determining an individual’s dosha and where they are in balance or imbalance. It is such an individual approach, which is why I love Ayurveda so much. Not sure about your dosha, take this test courtesy of Banyan Botanicals (link is on top of page).
So could a day at the beach be beneficial to you? Absolutely! Of course, as with everything, in moderation. Take precautions to ensure your dosha remains balanced. Grab your sunscreen and some snacks, and go get some Vitamin Sea!