How Well Do You Know Yourself? A series on ayurveda.
Ayurveda is the ancient science of life.
It is vast and deep and requires much more time than I have spent on it to fully understand.
That said, I have spent the past several years reading and asking questions on the subject, and have interviewed a couple of my most favorite ayurvedic practitioners. The ayurvedic lifestyle is so powerful that I use it in my daily life and keep coming back for more.
So I am by no means an expert on the subject of ayurveda and do not lead a completely ayurvedic lifestyle. But I think that is the beauty of this science, you can pick and choose what works for you.
Since it can be so dense and somewhat overwhelming I’ve decided to share my take on ayurveda with you in my very simplistic terms. I have asked my friends, Monica Bloom and Dr. Pratima Raichur, to chime in with their comments if they’d like to add something.
Today we will start off with the basics. What’s ayurveda essentially about and how you can get started adding it to your life.
Ayurveda recognizes three main personal constitutions, or doshas. These doshas are inherent to each individual at conception. So there is no changing your dosha. It is what it is.
Here is a snapshot of each dosha:
Vata dosha is defined by the elements of space and air. People with a dominant vata dosha tend to be thin, small boned, active, and creative.
Pitta dosha is defined by the elements of fire and water. People with a dominant Pitta dosha tend to be of medium, muscular build and have a fiery, intense personality.
Kapha dosha is defined by the elements of water and earth. People with a dominant kapha dosha tend to have a larger frame, and are calm, steady and compassionate.
Of course these are the way boiled down definitions of each dosha, but you probably have a fair idea of which sounds like you. Yes, most of us have qualities of more than one dosha, if not all. But one is usually primary. To go further try Monica Bloom’s dosha quiz. Monica also offers super applicable guides to balancing each dosha that you can find on her site.
The basic idea in maintaining balance is like increases like. So if you are a dry cold vata, dry cold foods (like chips and salad) will increase vata causing imbalance. Warm moist foods, like oatmeal and cooked veggies, balance vata. Pitta is already fiery, so avoiding spicy foods is important. Kapha is moist and cold, so warm dry foods help this dosha type stay balanced. Try the app Food for Life for quick reference food guides for your dosha.
Certain times of day, seasons, and even times in your life correspond with each dosha. This is a lot of information to keep track of, so getting to know what works with your dosha is a good place to start.
I really never take into consideration the time of day, but do notice imbalance from season to season. My vata-ness can get extreme during late fall/early winter, making me anxious and my joints extra creaky. My daughter, who is a fired up pitta, tends to get even more fired up in summer months. And my kapha son gets a sinus infection every single spring.
We will talk more about imbalance and correcting them through Ayurveda in next week’s post. For now, if you are interested in applying Ayurveda to your lifestyle, take some time to get to know your dosha.
[Image by -Alina-at Flickr.com, cc]
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