In Ayurveda there are three main body types also known as doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Doshas are the energies that make up every individual, which perform different physiological functions in the body. Each person has all three Doshas, but usually one or two dominate.
Doshas derive from the Five Elements and their related properties. Vata is composed of Space and Air, Pitta of Fire and Water, and Kapha of Earth and Water.
Doshas are energies, which are constantly changing and interacting and often, when out of balance, are the causes of a DIS-ease. The goal of Ayurveda is to bring us back to our true constitution and restore balance in our bodies and minds. In Ayurveda, every individual is unique and there is no diet or lifestyle routine that works for everyone. Food and lifestyle routines are considered the most important medicine.
Knowing your dosha provides you with an understanding of your basic physical and psychological nature, and helps you tailor a personal diet and lifestyle that maintains optimum health and peace of mind.
People with a predominant vata dosha are very active - restless and energetic. Quick to learn but also quick to forget. They have fast metabolisms, so are often thin. Vatas typically have dry skin and their hands and feet are often cold. They sleep lightly and their digestion can be sensitive.
Vatas love excitement and new experiences. When Vatas are in balance, they are full of joy, enthusiasm, energy and creativity.
When Vata is out of balance, some of the most common health problems are
headaches, sore throats, anxiety, constipation, abdominal gas, neurological disorders.
To balance Vata,
Make choices that bring warmth, stability, and consistency to your life.Try to get to bed before 10pm, awaken by 6am, and eat your meals at regular times.
Fresh ginger root is beneficial and can be used frequently.
Get regular massages treatments.
Light exercise that enhance balance and flexibility is best for a Vata body type, like yoga, Tai Chi, short hikes and golf.
Pitta-type people are generally of medium size, strong and well-built. They are the natural leaders in society, being ambitious, organized, bright and disciplined. They are good public speakers and have good management skills. Sexually they have more endurance than Vatas, but less than Kaphas. They like to spend money and enjoy luxurious possessions. Pitta people do not tolerate sunlight or heat well.
When Pitta is out of balance, some of the most common health problems are hypersensitivity of the skin, rashes, hives and dry patches, acne, inflammation, heartburn, ulcers, acid stomach, thinning hair and high blood pressure.
To balance Pitta,
We need to make choices that are cooling and stabilizing.
Allow some free time everyday.
Regularly spend time in nature.
Hotter spices such as ginger, cumin, black pepper, fenugreek, clove, salt, and mustard seed should be used sparingly. Very hot seasonings such as chili peppers, and cayenne are best avoided.
A regular meditation practice assists in quieting the active pitta mind, releasing anger and allowing the sense of control to dissipate.
Other activities to please pittas senses include swimming, gardening and walking in nature.
Kapha types have a heavy, strong, large build with excellent stamina. They are often overweight, gain weight easily and have high muscle development. They enjoy eating gourmet or luxury foods or buying and preparing food. They are naturally calm, thoughtful, and loving. They have slow, steady pace. Their sleep is long and deep.
They learn slowly, but have excellent memories.
When they’re out of balance, Kapha types may become overweight, sleep excessively, and suffer from asthma, diabetes, depression, cysts, edema, water retention, and swelling.
To balance Kapha,
Light, dry and warm foods.
Heating spices – like chili, black or cayenne pepper, ginger, cinnamon and cumin.
Avoid highly processed foods, cold or carbonated drinks, red meat, alcohol.
Reduce all nuts.
A vigorous exercise routine that includes jogging, hiking, biking, vigorous forms of yoga or martial arts or other challenging forms of exercise, a minimum of five times per week.
To find out your dominant dosha, take this quiz.