An Interview with Dr. Pratima Raichur
I recently had the opportunity to do the most amazing thing – an interview with an actual doctor of Ayurveda. I have spent a large part of my adult life “studying” Ayurveda and feel that I have a pretty good grasp on the subject. However, there are always many questions and I have always wanted to talk with an expert on the subject.
Wish granted! Dr. Pratima Raichur has lived with the Ayurvedic philosophy her entire life and has recently created her own skin care line based on the three Doshas. If you are not familiar with the Doshas, they are the personal constitutions that make up your unique physical and emotional being. There are three individual types, and most of us have a combination of two, or even all three, but one is usual dominant.
Ayurveda is the oldest healing science, dating back to 1500 BC, and focuses on awareness and balance. If one area of your life (physical, emotional, spiritual, mental) is out of balance, it affects the rest of you. When your personal constitution is off kilter you may notice discomfort or simply feel “off”. Ayurveda uses diet, herbs and other treatments to eliminate the “root cause” and bring the body and mind back into balance.
Your imbalance comes first from thought and manifests in a more physical sense. Aches, pains, and even disease can come from our environment, stress, what we eat… but the root cause is always what we think.
To find where your imbalance is coming from, Dr. Pratima advises us to “sit down, go deep” and let your heart tell you what your root cause of the imbalance is, and take care of the root cause. For instance, very dry skin could indicate that you are anxious and consuming too many cold foods and drinks. This can be corrected through herbs, breathing techniques and diet.
A little about the three doshas:
- Vata – Vata dosha is defined by the elements of space and air. People with a dominant Vata dosha tend to be thin and active. Skin is dry and cold.
- Pitta – Pitta dosha is defined by the elements of fire and water. People with a dominant Pitta dosha tend to be of medium build and have a fiery personality. Skin is sensitive and allergic.
- Kapha – 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 and caring. Skin is oily with large pores and prone to acne.
These are all hugely simplified here to give you the general idea. You can take a quiz on Dr. Pratima’s site to find out which dosha system you should follow. And what if it turns out you are ½ of one and ½ of another? Dr. Pratima states that usually one will be more significant than the other, and you should follow a diet of the more prominent dosha for 8 months and the other for its corresponding season. If you are Vata/Pitta, follow Vata diet for 8 months and Pitta for summer months, because Pitta’s season is summer. Vata’s season is fall and Kapha is winter.
Each dosha is also represented by two of the five elements of nature: space, air, fire, water and earth. You are born with the particular elements that correspond to your dominant dosha and embody their qualities. Certain foods and herbs also hold the qualities of the elements, and you want to incorporate into your lifestyle the foods and herbs that carry qualities of your less dominant doshas. For example: You are born with the earth and water energies of kapha,and need to balance this with the other energies of air, water and fire. You would do this by avoiding sweets, carbs, dairy, fried foods, tomato ketchup, nuts. If you indulge too much in the energies you are born with, you will cause imbalance.
Now back to skin care. Dr. Pratima creates skin care treatments with the specific Doshas in mind. Each Dosha is prone to particular imbalances and responds to certain herbs and essential oils. For instance, Vata tends to be dry when out of balance and essential oils of sweet orange, rose and cardamom help to bring it back into balance.
Pratima Skin Care products treat mind, body, senses and soul because they are based on the fundamental energies. Herbs and oils used in each product are prepared for the individual doshas. All products are hand made with organic herbs, roots, flower extracts and oils, and free from chemicial/synthetic ingredients. All skin care issues are managed, from aging to hair loss. Dr. Pratima treats many patients (adults and children) with eczema and acne and says that her’s is a process of permanently solving the issue. Not just making it better for the time being only to return again.
Diet is also important in Ayurveda and, Dr. Pratima says, a great place to start. Changing the physical is much easier than changing your emotions, so making changes in what we choose to eat is a fairly simple starting point. Dr. Pratima offers individual consultations (either in person or by phone) and helps to identify where someone may be out of balance and how to get them back on track. Again we will make an example of Vata. Vata tends to be cold and thin and requires foods that are warm and smooth to stay in balance.
The bottom line, says Dr. Pratima, is positive thinking. If you are thinking negative thoughts you will make the wrong choices of foods, make poor decisions and basically seek out stress. Though switching on positive thoughts is not like flipping a light switch, incorporating the right diet, skin care, exercise, etc into your lifestyle will guide you in the right direction, and your thoughts will soon follow.
Awareness is key to being positive and in the moment. Become aware of what you eat and think, what your intentions are in all that you do. As Dr. Pratima says, “What you do today will be your tomorrow’s destiny. We are the creator of our destiny”.
Image: Pratima Skincare