Ayurveda is an age-old wisdom that helps you with its simple but practical ways to understand and manage your body, mind, and soul. It also helps you understand how the food you choose can affect your body and helps you select the foods that are naturally appropriate and beneficial for you.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a Sanskrit term, made up by combining two words; ‘ayus’ and ‘veda’, where ‘ayus’ means ‘life’ and ‘veda’ means ‘knowledge or science’. So Ayurveda collectively means ‘science or knowledge of life.’ It is the oldest form of healthcare in the world which originated in India. It is a branch of medicine which uses the innate and deep-rooted principles of nature to keep a person healthy by keeping his body, mind and spirit in an absolute stability with nature.
What are the basic principles of Ayurveda?
Ayurveda believes that universe is made up of five elements viz; air, water, earth, fire and ether and so our human bodies. Therefore, Ayurveda treats every human being as a unique entity and believes that there is no one-size-fit routine and lifestyle for all the human beings. Its principle values are:
• The elements of air, water, fire, earth and ether are represented in the human bodies by three bio-energies or three doshas viz; Vatta, Pitta, and Kapha.
• The accumulation of doshas beyond the desired limits results into the generation of specific diseases.
• Specific lifestyle and nutritional guidelines can help to balance these doshas and to cure and prevent diseases.
• Ayurveda gives more prominence to prevention and getting the doshas balanced.
What do you mean by ‘Tridosha’ or ‘Theory of Bio-energies’?
According to Ayurveda, ‘dosha’ or ‘dosa’ is one of the three bodily humors that make up our physical and emotional constitution. ‘Dosha’ is like your body ‘password’ and once you understand your unique ‘password’, you can learn to keep your body healthy and balanced. In other words, ‘dosha’ affects your physical, emotional and spiritual health.
What are the three different types of ‘Doshas’?
• Vatta Dosha: This bio-energy controls and manages the bodily functions pertaining to motion like; blood circulation, breathing, blinking and heartbeat.
• Pitta Dosha: This dosha type or bio-energy regulates your metabolic functions like; digestion, absorption, nutrition and body temperature.
• Kapha Dosha: This bio-energy controls the growth of the body. It provides water to your body parts, moisturises your skin and streamlines your immune system.
Generally, each person has all the three doshas but only one or two dominate. The varying proportions of doshas determine the physiological and personality traits of an individual.
What are the characteristics of Vatta Dosha?
The literal meaning of Vatta is ‘wind’. It is a subtle type of dosha and gets imbalanced easily. Vatta dominating people often suffer from nutrients’ depletion. Such people are usually tall, fast walkers, and talk quickly. These people are imaginative, creative and quick learners but have a tendency towards forgetting things easily. They generally feel uncomfortable in a cold climate and act on impulse.
Vatta imbalance can cause problems like
• Irregular schedule and appetite
• Gas, bloating and constipation
• Dry skin and dry hair
• Nervous system disorders
• Colon disorders
• Racing and disjointed thoughts
Treatments suggested for treating Vatta imbalance
• Should have a well-organised eating and sleeping schedule.
• Should keep warm, comfortable and well- hydrated.
• Should avoid raw food and too much cleansing.
• Should keep their colon clean.
• Should avoid foods that are cold, dry, light, bitter, clearing and astringent.
Vatta pacifying herbs
Ashwagandha, Haritaki, Ginger, Ghee, Dashamoola and Licorice root
Exercise for Vatta
Vatta types should go for moderate exercises including; meditative yoga, Tai-Chi, walking, and swimming.
What are the characteristics of Pitta Dosha?
Pitta dominating people are sharp and intelligent. They have bright and colorful eyes and rosy cheeks. Such people dream in color. These people have medium physique but are strong and well-built. Sun or hot weather makes them uncomfortable as they perspire a lot. They have good management skills and are good orators and leaders.
Pitta imbalance can cause problems including
• Ulcers or acid reflux
• Hair loss
• Body odor
• Frequent bruising and bleeding
• Sensitivity to light
• High blood pressure
• Inflammation of the skin or sharp pain
• Temper tantrums, impatience, and anger
• Boils, acne and skin cancer
• Dry or Burning eyes
Treatments suggested for treating Pitta imbalance
• Should go to bed before 10 p.m.
• Should increase the quantity of bitter, astringent or sweet taste in the food
• Should avoid heat, intensity and overexertion
• Should take breaks between mental activities
• Should avoid conflicts and develop the values like; generosity, kindness, and self-control
• Should take lots of salads with dark greens including; dandelions, kale, and arugula
• Should take fruits and vegetables that are sweet and contain water like; mangoes, cucumber, cherries, and avocado
• Should avoid foods that are hot, liquid, pungent, oily, salty and sour
Pitta pacifying herbs
Alfalfa, Aloe Vera, Barley, Cumin, Coriander, Coconut butter and Amalaki. It is important for Pitta types to avoid alcohol, tobacco, over-exposure to direct sunlight and over-working.
What are the characteristics of Kapha Dosha?
Kapha is a relaxed and stable dosha. Kapha dominating people are great homemakers as they are calm, steady, loving, loyal and supportive. Such people are heavier and physically strong and sturdy. They usually have a slow speech but a deliberate thought process. These people are slow learners and tend towards being overweight. They have soft hair and skin and have large soft eyes and sweet soft voice.
When imbalanced, Kapha can cause problems like
• Lack of motivation, boredom, and fatigue
• Food cravings
• Overweight, diabetes, and edema
• High Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
• Congestion, Colds and Hay fever
• Sluggish Digestion
• Respiratory problems like; asthma and allergies
• Atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries)
Treatments suggested for treating Kapha imbalance include
• Should wake up early and exercise.
• Should try to avoid meat, wheat and dairy products after sunset.
• Should avoid foods that are salty, sweet, fatty and fried.
• Should avoid foods that are cold, gooey, liquid, heavy and sour.
• Should take foods that are light and warm.
• Should try to become receptive to life-enhancing and useful changes.
Pacifying herbs to treat Kapha imbalance
Dried ginger, Lemon, Black Pepper, Cumin, Chili, Bitter dark greens, Ajwain, Allspice, Amaranth and Basil.
How should you determine your ‘Dosha’ type?
The best way to determine your ‘dosha’ is to consult an eminent Ayurveda practitioner. It is important to take the advice of an Ayurveda practitioner because the body constitution changes with the age, seasons and life situations, so it is difficult for you to determine your ‘dosha’ type yourself. Or you can choose the books and questionnaires on the Ayurveda websites that are thorough and detailed. Only the detailed questionnaires can determine your body constitution appropriately because the shorter ones give the generalized and approximate results only.
You can also take Apurva Ayurveda Healing Online Dosha Test. And when you become familiar with your ‘dosha’ type, act accordingly.
To know and experience the benefits that Ayurveda offers and to know yourself as you actually are or your real ‘prakriti’ (constitution) through Ayurveda, Contact Apurva Ayurveda Healing.