Do you ever wonder what makes people different from one another? Why are some people always happy with a smile on their face, some exude confidence, while others are unhappy and carry the weight of the world on their shoulders? Some people can go out to a restaurant and eat a five course meal, and some cannot. Genetics has been known to offer an insight into what makes each person different and unique from each other, but Ayurveda answers this question with the Three Doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
Ayurveda medicine has historical roots in the Indian subcontinent. Ayurveda explains human beings are made up of five elements; Air, Space, Fire, Water, Earth and the Soul. These elements are known as Doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. These three elements are the energies that define your make up. It helps you to live a healthier more balanced life. The Doshas are biological energies throughout the human body and mind. It is made up of the properties of dry, cold, light, minute and movement.
Vata is composed of Space and Air, Pitta of Fire and Water, and Kapha of Earth and Water. Vata has physical and mental qualities that reflect the elements of Space and Air. The main locations for Vata in the body are the colon, thighs, bones, joints, ears, skin, brain and nerve tissue. Physiologically Vata governs communication, creativity, flexibility and quickness of thought. People with a Vata type are usually quick thinkers, thin, and fast moving. They are also full of energy and creative, and gifted with the ability to express and communicate. To maintain a balance Vata both body and mind type, one needs to eat a Vata balancing diet which includes, steamed starchy vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, leafy vegetables, ripe fruits, mild spices, cumin, ginger, cardamon, cinnamon, fennel, black pepper, teas like camomile, fennel, ginger, licorice and lemon. Eat in a peaceful environment, spend time in nature, go to bed early, meditate daily, do gentle exercise like yoga, swimming, tai chi or walking. When your Vata is imbalanced it would cause constipation, dehydration, being anxious, weight loss, disturbed sleep, and frequent viral infections. An imbalance of Vata is demonstrated by eating while anxious or on the run, drinking alcohol, coffee or black tea, smoking cigarettes and going to bed late at night.
Pitta qualities reflect Fire and Water. It is the energy of digestion and metabolism in the body. The main locations for Pitta in the body are the small intestine, stomach, liver, spleen, pancreas, blood, eyes and sweat glands. Physiologically, Pitta provides the body with heat and energy through the breakdown of complex food molecules. Pitta governs joy, courage, will power, anger, jealousy, and mental perception. It also provides the radiant light of the intellect. Pitta types have a fiery personality and oily skin. The balanced Pitta individual has a joyful disposition, sharp intellect, and tremendous courage and drive. Pitta balancing types include eating steamed vegetables, moderate amounts of dairy, sweet fruits, mild cooling spices which include tumeric, cumin, curry leaves, cloves, and mint. Tea includes fennel, camomile, peppermint, licorice, red clover. Also, eat in a peaceful environment, avoid artificial stimulants, engage in calming activities like spending time in nature, meditate daily, do calming exercise like yoga, tai chi, swimming or walking. An imbalanced Pitta includes eating while angry, drinking coffee, black tea, alcohol, over working, being overly competitive, angered, raged, ego, leaving the individual bitter with life and overbearing towards others. Imbalance manifests in the body as infection, inflammation, rashes, ulcers, heartburn, and fever.
Kapha elements are of Earth and Water. It is the energy building that provides the body with physical form, structure and the smooth functioning of all its part. The main locations of Kapha are the chest, lungs, throat, head, lymph, fatty tissue, connective tissue, ligaments and tendons. Kapha moistens food, gives bulk to our tissues, lubricates joints, stores energy, and relates to cool bodily fluids such as water, mucous and lymph. Psychologically, Kapha governs love, patience, forgiveness, greed, attachment and mental inertia. Given its earthly makeup, Kapha grounds Vata and Pitta, and helps offset imbalances related to these doshas. The balanced Kapha individual diet includes steamed vegetables, ripe fruit (except banana), fat free butter milk, grains, corn, millet, oats, wheat bran, barley, strong spices; pepper, paprika, salt, garlic, basil, cloves, all spices, mustard, tumeric, ginger, cumin, honey instead of sugar, tea, cinnamon, fenugreek, peppermint, raspberry. Eat in a loving environment, avoid a luxurious leisurely lifestyle, focus on non-attachment in your daily life, do make time for introspective activities like meditation and writing, make a distinction between being nice and being taken advantage of, go to bed early and wake up early with no daytime nap. An imbalance of Kapha includes sluggish bowels, procrastination, craving warmth, spicy foods, water retention, weight gain, overeating, eating to offset emotions like indulging in sweets when depressed, excessive sleep, spending too much time in cool, damp climates, not engaging in physical activity, spending most of your time indoors (especially on the couch watching tv), avoiding intellectual challenges.
The doshas are dynamic energies that constantly change in response to our actions, thoughts, emotions, the foods we eat, and the seasons. Food is your medicine and, the three doshas, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha help you restore your body, mind, and soul to a holistic way of life.
Take the dosha quiz to find out your dosha type. You can take the quiz at chopratreatmentcenter.com website.