Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Vata-Pitta Experience with Music

Ayurvedic humors, Wikipedia
For those of you familiar with the Ayurvedic medical tradition of India, you will know about the three doshas--Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. You'll probably even have a handle on which dosha(s) fits your body and personality type. But did you know, that your dosha also determines the best type of music for you for healing your unique mind body spirit?

For instance, I'm a Vata-Pitta and during the windy and cold fall months, I experience an imbalance of the Vata energy which rules air and space. This causes me to feel more irritable, shaky and spaced out when the wind is blowing. The cold and dampness brings on a Kapha imbalance which rules water and cold despite my Vata predominance, yet I'm not likely to catch a cold, more likely to suffer from head aches, sore throats, and trembling.

I've tries listening to nostalgic rock songs of my past and while my mind enjoys dancing down memory lane, my nerves scream at me in pain. So right now I'm listening to Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez and the second movement calms my nerves. I've written about balancing the doshas with music earlier on Whole Music Experience and cover this topic in my upcoming book, Whole Music (Soul Food for the Mind Body Spirit), but I've barely tapped into the role of European classical music.

Remember that Vata requires warming low-tones that move at a slower pace. I find that chamber music actually works best and so does the second movement of the above piece I mentioned, especially when the guitarist (soloist) plays on the lower register of his guitar and the notes are sustained ringing out over the orchestra as the musicians wait in silence for their cues.

I also recommend turning up the bass and listening to the classical chamber music or slow orchestral pieces on headphones. Although piano music may or may not work for Vata types, unless the pianist plays on the low end more often than not, I find that slower dreamy piano pieces even new age piano pieces calm my nervous system.

Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra, Wikipedia
I suffer Pitta imbalances mainly in the summer when the weather heats up. And oddly, I do listen to more fiery music during that time, but not always leading to greater health. Listening to too much fiery or upbeat music during the hotter days can actually fuel the temper and make it more challenging to calm anger, but it's wonderful to releasing pent up anger. But the antidote for a Pitta imbalance is actually to listen to cooler slowed down tones that stimulates the brain.  I prefer something along the lines of Aaron Copeland's Appalachian Spring or Ferde Grofe's The Grand Canyon Suite, which for some folks brings up memories of visiting the Grand Canyon or summer vacations in the American Southwest.

Also try George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue or the French Impressionist composers such as Maurice Ravel or Claude Debussy. Harps and flutes lend themselves to ideal music for Pitta when the music is played at a slow to medium tempo. Try Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of the Faun, an excellent choice for Pitta.

If you don't know your dosha type, you can look it up in magazines such as Yoga Journal or any of the new age magazines that delve into Ayurvedic traditions. In general, larger framed people with mellow personalities fall under Kapha, thin nervous types with sensitivities fall under Vata and the more fiery athletic types fall under Pitta. It is more complex than that, but this gives you at least an idea of where to begin.

I haven't covered Kapha in this article, but these folks usually require music that begins slowly and quickly builds up speed. Kaphas need to move more so I recommend dance music and getting off butts and dancing. As far classical music, listen to the works of Astor Piazzolla who combined Argentine tango with classical and jazz sensibilities or the Romantic composers, especially the Russian Romantic composers.

I hope this article is helpful for you. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me or leave a comment which I check often. Thank you for stopping by and exploring music consciousness with me. Each time another person wakes up their music consciousness, the world becomes more peaceful.