16 Mar What Ayurvedic Body & Mind Type Are You?
Get to Know Your Dosha
Auyerveda is a “science of life” that is over 5000 years old and originating from India. For those of us who are weary of the division between mysticism and science, Ayurveda offers a comprehensive system that connects all the dots in a way that is timeless. It is one of the only approaches to healing that has always taken into account not only the effects of climate, diet, and life style on health but also the subtle ways in which wellbeing is impacted by emotional and spiritual issues. Through a wide range of guidelines, Ayurveda presents strategies for releasing energies that are blocked as well as for improving longevity.
Did You Know? Ayurveda comes from the Sanskrit āyus (life), and veda (sacred knowledge).
According to Ayurveda, each of us has a unique mix of three mind/body principles which creates our specific mental and physical characteristics. These three principles are called Doshas. Most of us have one or two doshas which are most lively in our nature, with the remaining one(s) less significant.
The three Ayurvedic Doshas are known as: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Have You Heard? We now stock Amalaki (Amla) and Ashwaghanda (Indian ginseng, winter cherry), which are both great for balancing all three Doshas.
1. All About Vata Dosha
Vata-type people are generally thin and find it hard to gain weight and suffer from poor circulation. Because of this, Vatas have very little energy reserve and can tire easily and get themselves out of balance. Vatas need to get sufficient rest and not overdo things, stay warm, and keep a regular lifestyle routine.
The most important thing to know about Vata is that it leads the other Doshas. Vata usually goes out of balance first, which causes the early stages of disease. More than half of all illnesses are Vata disorders. Balancing Vata is important for everyone, because when Vata is in balance, Pitta and Kapha are generally in balance as well. The Vata Dosha controls all movement in the body, including breathing, digestion, and nerve impulses from the brain. When Vata is out of balance, anxiety and other nervous disorders may be present. Digestive problems, constipation, cramps, and even premenstrual pain usually are attributed to a Vata imbalance.
The symptoms of Vata are so interchangeable, which often leads those with Vata imbalances to believe that their symptoms are psychosomatic – a disservice to the wide variety of people that suffer from Vata imbalance.
Vata-type personalities are active, imaginative, and restless. The forgetfulness and ungrounded nature of these personalities types can take its toll, and it is recommended that a good daily rhythm is formed by Vata types. As their minds and may be hard to quiet down at night, Vata mind/body types often have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. These types need a lot of sleep or they become groggy and ineffective.
To bring this to life, if a person burns the midnight oil one night and takes a nap the next day, rises at six and crashes at ten the next, does twenty errands the next, turns into a couch potato the next, the body cannot find a rhythm for calibrating all the ideas that drive the individual to set the daily agendas. This causes wear and tear on the nervous system and plays havoc with the Vata Dosha. Creating reasonable schedules, sticking to them, and allowing for integration of information and stimuli between activities pacifies the wind in the Vata Dosha.
Vata digestion varies and can be delicate. Vatas should favor warm foods with moderately heavy textures. Foods should include salty, sour, and sweet tastes.
2. All About Pitta Dosha
Pitta-type people are generally of medium size and well proportioned. They have a medium amount of physical energy and stamina. They also tend to be intelligent and have a sharp wit and a good ability to concentrate. Fire is a characteristic of Pitta, whether it shows up as fiery red hair or a short temper. Since Pittas’ body temperature is generally warm, Pitta types can go out of balance with overexposure to the sun. Their eyes are sensitive to light. They are ambitious by nature but can also be demanding and abrasive.
Pitta types are known for their strong digestion, but should be careful not to abuse it. Their heat makes them particularly thirsty, and they should take caution not to douse their agni, or digestive fire, with too much liquid during meals. Pitta Dosha leads us to crave moderation and purity. We rely on Pitta to regulate our intake of food, water and air. Any toxins, such as alcohol or tobacco, show up as a Pitta imbalance.
Toxic emotions such as jealousy, intolerance, and hatred also should be avoided to keep Pitta in balance for optimum health.
Pittas work hard all day and sometimes have trouble turning off their active minds to go to sleep. They need to take some time between work and sleep to really wind down and relax. A cool shower or bath also helps to soothe Pitta toward a restful night’s sleep.
Because Pitta digestion is usually strong and intense, Pittas should favor cool or warm, rather than hot foods, with moderately heavy textures. Foods should include bitter, sweet, and astringent tastes.
Pitta colds include a high fever and sore throat. A cooling Pitta routine should be followed.
General guidelines for balancing Pitta Dosha:
3. All About Kapha Dosha
Kapha-type people tend to have sturdy, heavy frames, providing a good reserve of physical strength and stamina. This strength gives Kaphas a natural resistance to disease and a generally positive outlook about life. The Kapha Dosha is slow, and Kapha types tend to be slow eaters with slow digestion. Many ancient traditions believe that that disease starts in the stomach, and Kapha types in particular should be aware of reducing stress on this area of their body, due to their often sluggish digestion.
Kapha-types also speak slowly. They are calm and affectionate but, when out of balance, can become stubborn and lazy. They learn slowly, with a methodical approach, but also retain information well with a good understanding of it.
Kapha Dosha controls the moist tissues of the body, so a Kapha imbalance may show up as a cold, allergies, or asthma. This is worse in Kapha season, March through June. Cold and wet weather aggravates Kapha.
Kapha types need to be careful that they do not dwell in the past or resist change. On the bright side, Kapha Dosha teaches us steadiness and a sense of well-being.
Kaphas need deep sleep, or they’ll be groggy and ineffective, but they don’t necessarily need a lot of sleep. Kaphas love to sleep, and often have a hard time waking up in the morning. To balance this, they need lots of exercise and should be careful not to overeat. Kaphas need stimulation to bring out their vitality.
As mentioned, Kapha digestion is slower and heavier. Kaphas should favor warm, light food. Food should be as dry as possible, cooked without much water. Tastes should be pungent, bitter, and astringent. Kaphas prefer spicy food, which promotes better digestion for them.
Kapha colds and flus are those with a lot of mucus, runny nose, congestion, headache, and mild fever.
General guidelines for balancing Kapha Dosha:
By correctly balancing your Dosha, you’ll enjoy a healthier and happier state of being.