The concept of doshas is a way of describing our vital energies in Ayurvedic medicine. The essential difference from the predominant western medical viewpoint is that in Ayurvedic medicine, illness is understood as disharmony within the whole, rather than a malfunctioning of singular body parts.
Ayurvedic medicine has been practiced for 5,000 years, as has TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). These ancient traditional medicines mirror one another in that healing the body is practiced based on rules of nature and creating balance.
As long as pharmaceutical companies dominate the field of health sciences, there is little incentive to fund research that minimizes the need for prescription drugs. Fortunately, there are a growing number of practitioners in the West who recognize the impact of methods such as utilizing food as medicine. One such practitioner is T. Colin Campbell, PhD, a brilliant biochemist who conducted “The China Study”, a comprehensive, ground-breaking review in which he illustrates the relationships between nutrition and the diseases that impact every facet of western society: obesity, cardiac disease, diabetes, and cancer.
In addition to a whole body view, Ayurvedic medicine considers a person’s bioenergy (dosha), which provides insight into individual characteristics relevant to creating harmony in the body. An interesting study that reflects this approach was conducted by Eliot D. Abravanel, M.D., in which he demonstrated how we process carbohydrates, proteins, and fats differently based on our dominant endocrine gland (metabolism).
Similarly in Ayurvedic medicine, your dominant dosha(s) is called your Prakriti, or your essential nature. It is your birth constitution that remains constant throughout your life. There are 3 doshas, vata, pitta, and kapha, combinations of the natural elements (air, ether, fire, water, earth) which make up our bioenergy. We are all diverse, unique manifestations of all three doshas, usually with one or two doshas being dominant.
It is also important to note that many of us have a different body dosha vs. mindset/emotional dosha. So a person with a kapha body dosha may have a pitta dominant mind.
The value in knowing which energies lead your body and mind allow you to make better lifestyle and diet choices to both manage your metabolism as well as emotional balance.
VATA: Elements of Air and Ether
Vata is characterized by movement, air, dryness, cold, and space within the body. It governs activities of the body and mind, including the brain, nervous system, joints, blood circulation, respiration, and the large intestinal tract. Vata is found in nature in wind, autumn, and early winter.
Vata dominant people are usually tall, thin, or lanky. They are quick, agile, quick in fear, easily irritated, intolerant to cold, have coarse hair and nails, prominent blood vessels.
When in balance, the Vata dosha flows through all movements and blood flow, is quick in actions and emotions, and fuels the nerve impulses.
When out of balance, the Vata dosha can result in dry skin, hyperactivity, gas, constipation, PMS, arthritis, and osteoporosis.
When in balance (Sattvic state), the Vata dosha is creative, spiritual, enthusiastic, and tranquil. In this state Vatas are good communicators, have a strong sense of humanity, and are able to create positive change.
When out of balance (Rajasic state), the Vata dosha may experience anxiety, stress, poor memory, and be indecisive, unreliable, superficial, or disruptive.
Vata In Nature: Autumn, early winter, the wind. Most active time between 2pm – 6pm, and 2am – 6am.
Are you VATA dosha? Find out here!
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PITTA: Elements of Fire and Moisture
Pitta is characterized by transformation, fire within the body, and moisture. It governs vision, hunger, thirst, intellect, metabolism, digestion, sexual vigor, liver, and small intestine. Pitta is found in nature in the sun/heat, late spring, and summer.
Pitta dominant people are usually of medium build, with developed muscles. They are intense, determined, aggressive, may easily overheat, be intolerant, have body odor, tend to have acne, moles, or freckles, and hot faces.
When in balance, the Pitta dosha properly fuels metabolism, digestion, the brain and heart, eyes, blood, and skin.
When out of balance, the Pitta dosha causes acid reflux, heart burn, hypertension, rashes, acne, endometriosis, migraines, nausea, and hypertension.
When in balance (Sattvic state), the Pitta dosha is intelligent, considers the feelings of others, is discerning, and has a good memory. In this state Pittas are excellent leaders, visionaries, and organizers.
When out of balance (Rajasic state), the Pitta dosha may experience anger, hate, and/or a controlling nature. They may be intolerant, destructive, impulsive, reckless, critical, proud, and without respect for laws or the feelings of others.
Pitta In Nature: Late spring, summer, the sun, heat. Most active time between 10am – 2pm, and 10pm – 2am.
Are you PITTA dosha? Find out here!
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KAPHA: Elements of Earth and Water
Kapha is characterized by structure, earth, water, heaviness, warmth, lubrication, density, and damp within the body. It governs the whole solid structure of the body including strength, forbearance, restraint, absence of greed, the bones, immune system, cognition, joint lubrication, and reproductive system. Kapha is found in nature in the moon, rain, late winter, and early spring.
Kapha dominant people are usually large, may be overweight, naturally athletic. They are loving, emotional, caring, devoted, disorderly, compassionate, clear eyed, stable, methodical, difficult to motivate, with slow metabolism.
When in balance, the Kapha dosha protects, nourishes, reproduces, and strengthens.
When out of balance, congestion, allergies, lethargy, obesity, and sinus problems can result.
When in balance (Sattvic state), the Kapha dosha is compassionate, patient, loving, forgiving, builders of community, nurturing, and of strong faith.
When out of balance (Rajasic state), the Kapha dosha may experience greed, holding grudges, attachment, and envy. They may be inclined to theft, materialism, insensitivity, and lethargy.
Kapha In Nature: Late winter, early spring, the moon, rain. Most active time between 6am – 10am, and 6pm – 10pm.
Are you KAPHA dosha? Find out here!
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WHAT'S YOUR DOSHA?
Take a quick, fun and comprehensive assessment to determine your bodily constitution, mind/emotional tendencies, and your current Vikriti (imbalance). Click here: MY DOSHA ASSESSMENT