The Three Doshas
Ayurveda believes that all things are made up of the 5 elements- ether (space), air, fire, water and earth, ourselves included. How we bahave, what we eat and how we live our lives are all influenced by these elements. The elements that are most dominant will have the greatest influence of our physical and mental wellbeing and understanding how these elements effect us is the key to good health in Ayurveda.
There are 3 body types (Doshas) in Ayurveda - Vata, Pita and Kapha. Which body type we are is determined by what elements are most dominant within us.
When we know and understand our Dosha (body type) we are able to make healthy choices and start to make postivie changes in our lives based on what is right for our unique body type.
Your body is always telling you what it needs and does not need but often we are too busy to listen. Or we are trying to follow a set of rules and principles that do not take into consideration you are an individual. How can one diet, form of exercise or therapy be right for everyone when we are all so different. Ayurveda, with its acklowledgement of our uniqueness, understands this and this is what makes it so effective.
Balance and Good Health
Good health and well-being in Ayurveda comes down to balance - Balance of the Doshas. When each of the elements is in balance life is good. We look good, we feel good and our body is functioning well. When we overdo things, either through our lifestyle choices or our diet, we can become depleted or overstimulated. We might feel lethargic and unmotivated or stressed and unable to sleep. We can bring ourselves into balance by following lifestyle practices that are in alignment with our true nature.
If for example, you are an airy Vata, you will become very unbalanced if you spend to much time doing what you love most - moving. Over time this will make you unsettled and will bring you undone. When this happens the best thing to do is to slow down and do some grounding activities such as meditation, yoga, gardening or soaking in a nice relaxing bath. If you are of a Pitta or Kapha constitution different things will throw you out of balance and be needed to bring you back into a state of harmony. Different Doshas and different people require different things.
Food is also a major player in the whole balancing act. Certain foods are best avoided or reduced by certain doshas. Knowing what foods are best for your body type is one of the easiest ways to understand your body and keep it happy and healthy.
When you start to understand yourself for an Ayurvedic perspective and know your dosha life makes a lot more sense. You start to see and feel how your body and mind are reacting to your life and the world you live in you are able to take charge of your health and well-being and make positive informed changes based on what you as a unique individual need. You see things shift and you feel better. You start to pay attention to your body and its messages. It’s very empowering.
Although we are made up of all 5 elements most people have one dominant dosha. The dominant dosha is the one that has the most influence and needs the most attention. Below is an outline of the three.
the dosha of ether and air.
People with a Vata dosha love to move, love change and can find it difficult to settle down and focus. This is due to the airy light nature of their being. They are great at starting projects, jump at new and interesting situations but find it very difficult to see things through to the end. When balanced they are enthusiastic, joyfull and lots of fun to be around.
However, too much of a good thing can make them ungrounded and spacey. If they eat an live in a way that is unbalancing they can experience the following conditions.
Typical characteristics of an unbalanced Vata include:
dry skin, hair and nails
restless sleep or insomnia
fear and anxiety
the dosha of fire and water
People with a Pitta dosha are strong, determined and passionate. This passion and drive makes them great leaders and fierce competitors. Theyare the people you need when things need to get done.
When unbalanced and especially when they have an excess of fire and are becoming over heated they can be cynical and sarcastic and burn those around them.
Typical characteristics of an unbalaned Pita include:
skin rashes, pimples, skin irritations
aggression, jealously and anger
high blood pressure
Kapha people are grounded, calm and stable. With their combination of Earth and Water, they are known to be "Mother Earth" types, full of compassion, forgiveness and nurturing. Although less likely to jump to action than the other two doshas they will see things through to the end due to their steadfastness.
Too much earth and water create mud and stuckness. Kaphas have to be careful not to get bogged down and stuck. Balance is brought about through the right diet and lifestyle techniques that create lightness.
Typical characteristics of an unbalanced Kapha include:
Attachment, greed and possessiveness
resistance to change
the elements of earth and water
To learn more about your dosha and your imbalances come and see me for a complete assessment and have a diet and lifestyle program designed especially for you.