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When individuals discover Ayurveda, they hear of the three Doshas—the three constitutions or mind-body types that make up the body.
We are born with our own unique balance of vata, pitta, and kapha. When one or more of these doshas becomes aggravated or depleted, imbalances accumulate and affect one or more of our body systems—shifting one’s natural state of balance.
Our dynamic movement can be influenced by food, seasons, environment, lifestyle, emotions, and more. Ayurveda offers guidance in understanding one’s unique constitution and how to make everyday choices that support a person to return to balance.
Exploring your Ayurvedic dosha empowers you to make everyday choices to support your overall well-being and inner peace. It’s important to understand that the three doshas pertain to qualities found in nature; dry, wet, fast, slow, heavy, light. This helps to identify what qualities we are expressing, what qualities we are incorporating into our lives, and how they are serving us.
One of the fundamental teachings in Ayurveda is that like attracts like, and opposites create balance. When we recognize what qualities are expressing themselves dominantly, we can incorporate the opposite qualities in order to shift back into a balanced state.
What are the three doshas?
The vata dosha governs movement, the nervous system, the flow of prana, creativity, and flexibility. It is connected to the ether and air elements, the space where everything manifests and, the wind that moves all energies. Vata qualities are dry, light, cool, rough, subtle, and mobile.
The pitta dosha governs transformation, digestion, and intellect. It is connected to the fire and water elements, offering the heat and fluidity to assimilate and process food, emotions, and thoughts. Pitta qualities are oily, sharp, hot, light, spreading, and liquid.
The kapha dosha governs lubrication, structure, and cohesiveness. It is connected to the water and earth elements, providing moisture, hydration, and loving embrace. Kapha qualities are unctuous, cool, heavy, slow, smooth, soft, and stable.
How to incorporate the doshas for everyday balance:
Start becoming more aware of your mind and body.
>> What is it expressing?
>> What feels irritating?
>> What feels good?
What is the quality of your skin? Is it dry and rough (vata), or irritated and red (pitta), or oily and pale (kapha)? If it is too dry, add in oils and moisture to your skin routine. If this is too rough, smooth it out.
What are your challenging mental states? Do you experience anxiety and fear (vata), irritability and anger (pitta), or depression and lethargy (kapha)? If you continue to feel anxious energy and constipation (vata), try eating your meals at regular times and avoiding raw foods, incorporating warm cooked foods with healthy oils.
If you are too hot, you need to cool down. If you are too slow, you need to bring in more movement to invigorate you. If you are feeling too warm and it’s the summer season (pitta), you may want to incorporate more cooling foods and lifestyle choices, such as not being in the heat of the sun, swimming in cool water, and incorporating mint, coconut, and more salads into your diet.
You can also identify the qualities in the food you eat by asking yourself—is it dry, oily, heating, or cooling? If you tend to put on weight easily and crave sweets (kapha), avoid cold drinks and incorporate room temperature or warm drinks instead, along with warming spices such as ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, and chilli.
What is your ideal daily schedule? Is it spontaneous and irregular (vata), overscheduled and rigid (pitta), or routine but slow to get started (kapha)? Recognizing the qualities, you can ask yourself if this is too fast, and then slow it down.
As you dive into understanding your unique Ayurveda mind-body type, remember that everyone has their natural strengths and challenges. The doshas, the elements, and the qualities offer a deeper insight into who we are and, empower our everyday choices to support our highest good and full potential.