April 22, 2012

Ayurvedic Recommendations: Vata, Pitta & Kapha. ~ Brian Leaf

Photo: Ayurvedic Remedies

In my previous column Determine Your Ayurvedic Constitution, I gave you six questions to determine your vikrti or current constitution.

Now, let’s talk about what to do with that info.

According to ayurveda, each dosha (vata, pitta, or kapha) has inherent gifts and challenges. Recall that a person with a constitution dominant in the vata dosha will often have airy qualities (creative, quick, possibly anxious and flatulent); a person with a constitution dominant in pitta will often have fiery qualities (intense, focused, possibly critical); and a person with a constitution dominant in kapha will often have earthy qualities (steadfast, grounded, possibly stuck). The goal of ayurvedic recommendations is to maximize a person’s inherent gifts.

For your particular dosha (vata, pitta, or kapha), choose three of the six items listed below, follow them for at least a week, and see what happens. You’ll probably feel a whole new level of health and vitality. Let me know how it goes!

If the six question survey shows a predominance of Vata:

1. Keep warm, and wear soft, comfortable clothing. Make your bed into a soft, comfy haven.

2. Eat mostly cooked foods and use a bit of spice. Eat at a table, in a relaxed setting, not on the go or at your desk.

3. Keep a regular routine, and look over your schedule at the beginning of each day, so your mind can relax and know what’s coming.

4. Practice gentle forms of exercise and yoga. Try Kripalu, Anusara, or restorative. In meditation, stay grounded—focus on the rise and fall of your belly as you breathe.

5. Spend quiet time in nature, ideally near a lake or gently flowing stream. Sit under a tree.

6. Avoid or cut back on caffeine, wheat, sugar, and processed foods.

If the six question survey shows a predominance of Pitta:

1. Keep cool. Get lots of fresh air, but avoid too much direct sun. Take evening walks in the moonlight. The moon is very soothing to pitta.

2. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

3. Avoid very spicy, very salty, and very oily foods.

4. Watch your tendency toward perfectionism, competition, and intensity in yoga. Bring in softness and love.

5. Express your feelings in constructive ways. Be gentle on yourself and others.

6. Avoid or cut back on caffeine, wheat, sugar, and processed foods.

If the six question survey shows a predominance of Kapha:

1. Get lots of vigorous exercise, everyday. Try vinyasa yoga.

2. Avoid fatty and fried foods. Eat lots of veggies and cook with a bit of spice.

3. Eat less bread.

4. Avoid getting in a rut. Try new things, take challenges, travel.

5. Encourage your creativity. Draw, paint, sculpt, sing, dance, play an instrument, imagine. Practice expressing your voice and your feelings.

6. Avoid or dramatically cut back on wheat, sugar, and processed foods.

Brian Leaf is the author of Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi, coming to bookstores in September. You can follow his adventures and misadventures on facebook.





Prepared by: Marylee Fairbanks / Editor: Tanya L. Markul

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