Vedic Astrology & Ayurveda

January 01, 2018

Interview with Richelle Jarrell, CNHP, Ayurvedic Practitioner

Vedic astrology is the traditional Hindu system of astrology and astronomy. Learning about this system can compliment your study of Ayurveda and Yoga. Vedic astrology, also called Hindu or Jyotish astrology, shares Ayurveda’s foundational concept of the five elements, which exist both in the natural world and within the body. The five elements are ether, air, fire, water and earth. They transition from finite to form — the existence of space gives way to wind, wind blows creating fire, fire burns so high it melts, water flows and hardens to become earth. The balance of elements present in your natural state of being, comprise your dosha (constitution).

Each dosha is primarily two elements. Vata dosha is ether and air; Pitta dosha is fire and water; and Kapha dosha is water and earth. Most people do not fit all of the characteristics of one dosha but are a combination of all three types, in different proportions. Most westerners have a Vata imbalance because our lifestyle is overloaded with activities that throw our natural constitution out of balance. 

Ayurvedic practitioners use pulse and tongue reading as diagnostic tools to determine a person’s dosha. Vedic astrologers use chart readings to make the same determination. I had the great pleasure of interviewing Richelle Jarrell, a student in our current Certificate program and a Vedic Astrologer, to find out more.

Richelle Jarrell has taught Reiki since 1996, and she utilizes the wisdom sciences of Vedic Astrology, Ayurveda and Yoga philosophy. Her work goes in-depth with sign compatibility and other astrological factors essential for vibrant relationships, including how your Ayurvedic body type impacts your relationships and your health.  

MM: Can reading a person’s chart really show a person’s dosha? 
RJ: “Absolutely! The first astrological house represents the body. The placement of the sun and moon in your chart and your ascendant are all important in using your chart to determine your natural constitution. For example, a person with a fire rising sign and a watery moon is likely to have Pitta Kapha dosha.”

MM: Why is determining our body type important?
RJ: “Ayurveda helps strengthen the body so understanding your natural constitution is essential. Every body type is suited to a different exercise routine, seasonal routine, sleep schedule, sexual appetite and dietary guidelines.”

MM: I’ve read that each dosha has different physical characteristics generally seen in people of that type. Can you explain more about this, given how varied people look around the world? 
RJ: “A Pitta type will tend to have freckles and red or light hair. A Kapha will likely have long, thick hair and heavier limbs. But these characteristics are not present in everyone. Different body types have different propensities. Kapha quality enhances endurance, so for example a woman with a lot of Kapha in her constitution can be well suited to have multiple children. Vat Pitta can have less endurance, and so it’s possible that these women might have perhaps only one or two children. Pitta Kapha is typically a strong body type, and if doshas were linked to car types, a PK person would have all-wheel drive. Their body type combines endurance and often athleticism, with good disease resistance.”

MM: How does karma factor into determining our body type and how does this show up in our chart?
RJ: “Being incarnated is karma. We know we have not escaped this world and achieved moksha when we are born, because we’ve been assigned a body and had to incarnate to have our karma delivered to us, both positive and negative. So our past lives affect our karma. Karma shows up in our chart as our gifts and talents, our challenges and also our body type.”

MM: What does karma mean?
RJ: “The word ‘karma’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘kri’ meaning “to do” or “to act.” Our past actions queue us up for our lessons in this lifetime. Our soul level lessons, our karma, can be seen in our chart.”

MM: Does the Vedic system share planetary meanings with the western astrological system?
RJ: “Planets in the Vedic system do have some similar meanings, but the Vedic system sees grahas (planets) as beings, embodied devas. In temples, especially in south India, you see nine planet altars called navagraha altars, which means “nine planets.”

MM: What is the relationship between the placement of planets in our chart and what this says about our karma?
RJ: Graha means to hold or grasp. The planets hold us and our karma in a certain pattern. They show the lessons we brought in and what we are subjected to in this lifetime. The planets grasped Elvis and delivered a singing voice and held him in that career. The planets grasped Bill Gates and delivered intelligence, wealth, global influence, big business, computers, a wife and kids. The planets grasped Baba Hari Dass and held him in an orientation of being a guru and traveling to the US to establish this wonderful community of Mount Madonna yoga and Ayurveda enthusiasts.

MM: What is the link between our karma, as seen in our chart, and how this plays out in our lives?
RJ: Take Babaji for example. He is a guru and a saint and took a vow of silence in this lifetime so he likely did yoga in any of his past lifetimes. His current life came about as a result of his previous karma and his choices in this lifetime. So with the law of karma, we have what the planets hold us to, along with the action of free will. Then, there’s always God’s grace. If you have the karma to meet a guru, they can bless you and with your free will, your whole life can change. There is always karma, free will, and God’s grace.

MM: How can seeing a Vedic astrologer help put this in perspective?
RJ: An astrologer can see what’s coming and tell you if there are favorable or challenging aspects ahead. Then you know when to rest, take extra care of yourself, do yoga and eat a good diet. Ayurveda is useful for strengthening the body, especially when life feels pressured. Sade Sati occurs when Saturn transits over a person’s moon. This period lasts 7.5 years and can be a challenging time for many people. Saturn is the identity and reality planet. He brings limitations, but also improvement because people undergo change. He teaches us who we are by rearranging our life so that we are in integrity with our soul identity. As a practitioner, I work with people to understand their charts. I also give people mantras because they are a sattvic (pure) remedy and anyone can do them. This assists us to change our mental habits and our guna.