What’s Your Dosha, Baby? (FAQs About Ayurveda)
As an Ayurvedic practitioner, I often get asked about what exactly I do.
The fundamentals of Ayurveda may seem confusing at first, but they can be made easily accessible to our everyday lives.
Here are a few of the questions that come up in my practice most frequently.
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What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word meaning “science of life.”
It is the traditional system of medicine native to India that can be used as a complementary or alternative therapy, either by restoring balance to the energetic system or by accelerating the natural healing process. (To go more in depth, check out the Ayurvedic Nutrition handbook by Amma)
The holistic model does not simply concentrate on the symptoms of imbalance. Instead, it looks for underlying causes of imbalance and treats them so that illness does not occur or recur.
How does Ayurveda Work?
Everything is comprised of five basic elements: ether (space), air, fire, water, and earth.
These elements are organized in three general groups called doshas, so that everyone and everything has a unique energetic constitution.
Doshas are the three functional energetic principles of the body/mind, the proportions of which determine a person’s constitution.
When functioning well and present in normal quantities, the doshas maintain optimal health and promote natural healing abilities.
When doshas are imbalanced, symptoms will manifest.
Lifestyle modifications, nutritional protocols, and herbal formulations may be used to bring the doshas back to the ratio that is healthy for that particular person, thus eliminating the root cause of illness.
Ultimately, Ayurveda seeks to restore balance amongst the body, mind, and spirit.
What’s My Dosha?
Everyone is comprised of all three doshas in various proportions.
A person will usually have one or two doshas presenting more dominant than the third.
How the doshas are organized within a person will influence his or her personality, body type, digestion, and preferences.
*Vata is the first of the three doshas. It’s a combination of ether and air.
Vata types are creative, slight in build, fast movers and talkers, and respond to stress with anxiety or fear.
They have a tendency towards cold hands and feet, and dry skin and hair. They prefer hot, humid climates. Vata types often have irregular digestion and suffer from constipation.
Their moods and thoughts are highly changeable, and they tend to be generally excitable and act on impulse. Audrey Hepburn and Mick Jagger are famous Vata personalities.
*Pitta, the second dosha, is the element of fire.
Pitta types have a medium physique and are generally strong, with a strong digestion and appetite.
They have a sharp intellect, a good ability to concentrate, and an overall good memory. When under stress, Pittas may become aggressive and irritable.
Their complexion is typically fair or pinkish/reddish, often with freckles, and sunburns easily. Pitta types perspire a lot and are agitated by hot climates. They make great leaders and public speakers. John F Kennedy and Madonna are both classic Pitta types.
*Kapha is the third dosha and is a combination of water and earth.
Kapha types are gentle, relaxed, and move at a slow pace. They are affectionate, faithful, and compassionate.
I often say that Kapha types make great mothers! They are not easily shaken and function as a point of stability. Of all the constitutions, Kaphas are the strongest, with a heavy build and good musculature. They have slow speech and outstanding long-term memory. They may suffer from slow digestion.
While they generally have a good immune system, Kapha types may be prone to congestion or respiratory illnesses.
Kaphas dislike cold, damp weather. Oprah Winfrey is probably the most well-known contemporary Kapha type.
“Is that Good?”
There is no “good” or “bad” dosha! Frequently a person’s response to finding out his or her dosha is, “Is that good?”
One dosha is no better or worse than the other two.
All three are essential, and all three contribute to making everything exactly what it is, and what it was meant to be.
Living in harmony with our unique constitution results in optimal health and longevity.
To find out your dosha, take this quiz at: http://lifespa.com/health-quizzes/body-type-quiz/body-type-quiz-form/
If you’re interested in reading more about Ayurveda, check out the Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies. This handy booklet discusses the science of Ayurveda with regards to food and dietary concerns.
It contains information on how to determine which primary constitution you are and what foods are beneficial to that constitution, as well as listing foods that have been used to alleviate symptoms in disease.
It’s a great starting point if you’re looking for basic, but thorough knowledge of the science.
Ayurvedic Nutrition by Disciples of Amma (the hugging saint)
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