Ayurveda is an ancient whole-body healing system dating back over 3000 years; although its origin is India it is now practiced all over the world as a holistic alternative to modern medicine and a way of life for those seeking balance and harmony in the body. Practitioners of Ayurveda believe that everything in the universe is connected, that wellness and harmony in the body can only be achieved when we are in balance with the fundamental elements of the universe (fire, water, earth, air and ether). These elements are believed to combine in the body and form energies called Doshas; the three Doshas are Vata (ether and air) Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (earth and water). In this blog we will explore the different Doshas and how to incorporate Ayurveda into your daily life through nutrition, wellness and mindfulness.
It is believed that every person has a Dosha or constitution that is specific to them and therefore needs to incorporate specific practices and eat certain foods to harmonize their constitution. You can take the quick quiz below to determine your Dosha:
Once you have determined your Dosha you can begin to explore the ways to balance and harmonize the energies within the body through food and lifestyle. It is common to have more than one constitution so it’s important to recognize which Dosha governs your physical body and which one is influencing your mentality or temperament. If, for example, you are physically a Pitta but mentally more Vata, combining lifestyle choices more specific to the Vata constitution and foods that complement the pitta constitution will be helpful.
Vata Dosha Overview
Vata derives from the elements of Space and Air and translates as “wind” or “that which moves things.” A Vata individual is active, creative, and gifted with a natural ability to express themselves and communicate. The negative qualities of Vata or Vata imbalance include anxiety and bodily disorders related to dryness, such as dry skin and constipation. he qualities of Vata are dry, rough, light, cold, subtle, and mobile. A Vata individual will display physical and mental characteristics that reflect these qualities in both a balanced.
imbalanced state. (Ref: Eat Taste Heal)
The main locations of Vata in the body are the bones, joints, nerve tissues, thighs and colon. Vata governs anything to do with physical movement such as talking, breathing, elimination (urination and menstruation), movements in the muscles and absorption and digestion of food. Psychologically Vata governs communication, creativity, flexibility and thinking.
A Vata individual need to incorporate grounding practices and have daily routine to stay in balance. Because of the cool nature of Vata it is important for this this Dosha to eat warm foods and incorporate heat into their life either through saunas, hot yoga or warm baths.
How to keep Vata in balance
Eat a Vata-balancing diet (see below)
Eat in a peaceful environment.
Spend time in nature.
Follow a regular daily routine.
Go to bed early.
Do gentle physical exercise like yoga, swimming, tai chi, or walking.
Ways Vata Becomes Imbalanced
Eating Vata-aggravating foods
Eating while anxious or depressed
Eating on the run
Drinking alcohol, coffee, or black tea
Following an irregular daily routine
Going to bed late at night
Foods recommended for Vata constitutions
- Protein:small amounts of poultry, seafood, tofu
- Dairy: milk, butter, yogurt, cheese, ghee
- Fruits: fully ripe, sweet, and heavy fruits, such as bananas, blueberries, strawberries, grapefruit, mangoes, peaches, and plums
- Vegetables:cooked vegetables, including beets, sweet potatoes, onions, radishes, turnips, carrots, and green beans
- Legumes:chickpeas, lentils, mung beans
- Grains: cooked oats, cooked rice
- Nuts and seeds: any, including almonds, walnuts, pistachios, chia seeds, flax seeds, and sunflower seeds
- Herbs and spices:cardamom, ginger, cumin, basil, cloves, oregano, thyme, black pepper
- Pitta Dosha Overview
- Pitta derives from the elements of Fire and Water and translates as “that which cooks.” It is closely related to the energy of digestion and metabolism and functions through organic substances produced through the body such as stomach acid, hormones and enzymes.
- The qualities of Pitta are oily, sharp, hot, light, moving, liquid, and acidic. A Pitta individual will display physical and mental characteristics that reflect these qualities in both a balanced and imbalanced state. (Ref: Eat Taste Heal)
- The main locations of Pitta in the body are the stomach, spleen, liver, pancreas, eyes, blood, small intestines and sweat glands. Physically, Pitta gives heat and energy to the body through the breakdown of food. It governs all aspects related to transformation and change through the body and mind. On a physiological level Pitta governs courage, joy, willpower, anger, jealousy and thought. It also is closely connected to intellect and intelligence.
When a person has a tendency to “overheat,” excess Pitta is usually the culprit. The internal fire of the mind and body must be controlled in a Pitta individual because although people with these constitutions are full of joy and happiness it doesn’t take