The subjective view of the fixed body type
I have seen fear shrink the size of someone’s eyes. I have seen anxiety harden and crookedly twist the backbone of one, the teeth of another. I have personally experienced hair that came into this world dead straight and seemingly intent on leaving it unruly and kinky. What we consider to be our fixed state can change. It begs the inquiry into how malleable we can really be and whether the fixed state, called Prakruti in Ayurveda, is really fixed or whether it’s our perception of it that changes.
Some physicians take the pulse, others believe in bodily structure as the bona fide assessment of a person’s inherent constitution but nothing can make claim as to the perfect assessment without your consent. If you believe in the process and you have trust that your practitioner is a seer of sorts to see your truth through the thickness of your worldly experience, then the process has validity. Belief is the strongest foundation we can base action from theory upon.
But you still have to live the assessment, therefore, it is vital that you understand what it means and whether that meaning changes for you over time.
The body reveals what we made of the world - how we took the pride of man and his work and strapped him to a chair, caved in and rigidly performing mindless work as the posture slumped and the backbone became soft and distorted. How we asked mothers to bear the strain of new life without the gentleness and support that is required leaving women feeling weak in their reproductive systems and lower backs causing discord in relationships from the inability to nurture.
There is a way out.
The simple solution lies in the act of observing yourself. Even as environmental stresses impact us, if we take a moment to observe ourselves within our spaces, our periphery will widen large and larger to reveal more opportunities. Once you step in, nature reveals various levels of refined existence, so that you get closer to seeing reality.
I propose that the body type analysis is not merely a fixed point in time but the act of self discovery to be done over the course of your life. The essence of your real self may in fact be fixed but the relationship with it is not. It’s this relationship that the Mahabharata (Indian epic poem) to Harry Potter books are made from and one that we all have within us - our own story.
When you have a philosophy that ties in, symbolically, the external world to your internal world, your perspective shifts to one of relativism – each point of view has its own truth. Ayurveda understands that every single human is a unique computation of the elemental forces, and they all share the same perspective – that of creating a relationship between themselves and their personal observation of the environment. This form of relationship is pure ownership of your world. You begin to see how you affect things outside of yourself and how things outside of yourself affect your inner world.
The first thing to acknowledge is your individuality. This can feel scary for some people as there is no precedent set to know whether your own decisions will benefit you. If you have been used to being told what to think, every fork in the road can leave you feeling frozen.
You must go through the trial and error to discover who you are. Each time you find yourself in a new season, a new place to live, a new travel destination or a new culture at your workplace, it requires adaptation, not simply reluctant acceptance. The difference in this philosophy is having a context to bounce off, and it is context that can feel safe. We are in this world and it plays by certain rules. The secret trick, via Ayurveda, is that if you learn her rules, then you are governed by the same. If your decisions fall within the scope of natural law, you are fine.
It is difficult to live by the idea of microcosm/macrocosm without using qualities, or some form of poetic imagery, for the mind to grasp the similarities. A simple example is observing the heat of summer in relation to the excessive heat of a migraine in some people or motivation to start their overdue projects in others . Another could be the dryness of a high desert causing constipation in some people due to the dryness in their colon or a feeling of lightness in others as they feel the excessive waters in their system dry up.
The way of marketing in this world is to create stars and encourage copy cats. It’s called fashion. A model wears it well; she is then compared with someone across the globe who wears it better - the same dress. And the regular folk will fall somewhere in that spectrum of how they feel wearing the same dress, simply based on two unique people and their body shapes.
It’s the standardisation principle. This principle relies on the agreement between parties to create tests and processes that create a fixed point that things can be analysed from. The idea stems from Sir Henry Dale in 1926 when he created the first international standard for insulin and it was adopted by the League of Nations Health Organisation (forerunner to the World Health Organisation). The idea was to harmonise the calibration of therapeutic substances.
The macrocosm, in this sense, has been predetermined not by nature but by man, based on a few influential people trying to direct the movement of the times a certain way. To be in charge of where the energy (or attention) flows is powerful prana, however, things outside of nature usually have side effects. The definition of side effects from Merriam Webster states that it is a secondary and usually adverse effect (as of a drug). Therefore the intended purpose of the drug, or whatever, hasn’t considered all variables. This is difficult to do without nature’s insight into how things work holistically.
Additionally, understanding your inherent constitution means you get to make a decision of the benefit to your well-being before affecting the senses. The current mode of scientific testing without considering the unique human influence means that you are left to determine the variance after the effect.
This is how Ayurveda promotes preventative care. However, the journey does come with its own side effects of accumulation of ineffective schooling systems, environmental stresses, outdated traditional habits handed down over generations, keeping up with the Jones’, and ‘busy food’ with no nutrients. It might be easy to say no to pharmaceuticals, if you are so inclined, but it’s very difficult to say no to societal norms unless you’re ok with being disconnected off grid.
And yet, it’s relationships that we grow most from.
To know of another’s difference is to understand how we all need each other. We may not personally inhabit the qualities of support, for example, but support in the bigger picture is required for the formula to work. Each one of us is required for the bigger picture to work.
There is a lovely irony in understanding your body type - the more you understand your own difference to others, the more you can appreciate the differences of another, which brings with it, its own empathy and respect and therefore a certain universal angle of respect. It’s the understanding of another, not the similar features, that brings us together.
You might say that Hitler’s Nazism is the complete opposite of the Ayurvedic way of thinking. And from that, to see diversity as not one of race but of every single individual living on earth would make racism null and void.
The process to peace has always come from within. This is one way.
If you’d like to learn more about your body type there are e-workbooks available via the online education link. There is one for man too.
There are also small group classes to ask questions, test ideas and enjoy listening to others go through the same process. Comparison and understanding brings you deeper into the philosophy. You can also choose to do a one-one for direct observation.
If you’re interested in signing up to the newsletter, there is a free mini e-workbook on Clearing Creative Blocks from an Ayurvedic perspective. You can find the link here.