Have you ever observed people around you carefully and wondered all the people are different in one way or the other? Some people are slender while some are fat; some are hyperactive and fast moving while some are still and graceful; some people are extremely joyous while some carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. What should be the reason that accounts for all these differences in people? Ayurveda answers all these questions. Before we get to the answers first let us know what the ‘Ayurveda’ is:
Ayurveda is made up of two words: ‘Ayu’ meaning longevity + ‘Veda’ meaning science or knowledge. So, Ayurveda basically means “The science of life”. Its roots dates back to 5000 years ago originated in the east and is often referred to as “the mother of all healing”. Ayurveda stems from the ancient Vedic culture and passed for many thousands of years from masters to their disciples in an oral form. It is now getting popularity in the west as well.
According to Ayurveda, each of us is made of five basic elements found in the universe: space, air, fire, water and earth. These elements combine in the human body to form three energies called Doshas determining body type, shape and health.
Vata Dosha (space + air)
Pitta Dosha (fire + water)
Kapha Dosha (water + earth)
These three doshas control how our body works. Everyone has a unique mix of the three dosha and this combination is known as constitution or prakriti in ayurveda. The body type is said to be of a particular dosha type according to the prominent dosha in the body.
Although all the three dosha are present in the human body but one is primary or prominent to the other two. If these doshas are in balance in the body i.e. if they are present in the body in their natural proportion then the body is of vibrant health. And the reason behind us falling sick is an imbalance of our dosha and called vikrati in ayurveda.
According to Ayurveda, health is a continuous and participatory process that embraces all aspects of life: physical, mental, emotional, behavioral, spiritual, social and universal. Balance on all levels of being is the true measure of vibrant health which comes with the balance of the three doshas.
How to know your dosha type?
We may know our dosha type by observing our mental, physical and emotional characteristics because each dosha determines different characteristics. Below are given characteristics and related issues and foods associated to each dosha:
Vata – governs all the movements in the body and mind
1. You are slender and don’t gain weight easily.
2. You are taller or shorter than average.
3. Almost all the bodily features are thin.
4. Your energy fluctuates and comes in bursts.
5. Your appetite is variable.
6. You have tendency to become bloated or constipated.
7. You tend to have cold hands and feet.
8. You get disturbed sleep or insomnia.
9. Your skin often becomes dry.
10. You prefer warm, moist
climate to cold.
1. You are creative and imaginative.
2. You enjoy artistic forms of expression.
3. Your mind is active and often restless.
4. You learn quickly but forgets fast as well.
5. You have tendency to feel nervous, insecure.
6. You become spaced out quiet easily.
7. You speak quickly and use hand gestures.
8. Your daily routine is irregular.
9. You are always on the go.
10. Your dreams are active and colourful.
Functions of vata include: create energy, endocrine gland function, elimination, and helps to distribute nutrients at cellular level
Disease caused due to vata imbalance: headache, hypertension, dry coughs, sore throat, anxiety, lower back pain, constipation, arthritis etc. most neurological disorders are associated with vata imbalance.
Foods beneficial: most nuts, cooked vegetables, fruits, dairy products.
Foods to avoid: broccoli, cauliflower, dry grains and peas.
PITTA – governs transformation i.e. digestion, absorption, nutrition etc.
1. You have a medium build and gain or lose weight easily.
2. Your height is average.
3. Your physical features are sharp.
4. Your energy and activities levels are high.
5. Your appetite is strong.
6. Your bowel movements are regular.
7. Your skin oily.
8. You perspire quite easily.
9. Your eyes are light in color.
10. You prefer cool weather.
1. You are goal oriented.
2. You are perfectionist.
3. You have strong intellect and enjoy learning new things.
4. You have a good sense of humor.
5. You have a natural ability to lead others.
6. You are impatient and tend to become angry easily.
7. You are critical of yourself and others.
8. You seem stubborn to others.
9. You find it hard to skip a meal.
10. You enjoy competition.
Functions of pitta include: sight, digestion, temperature, appetite.
Disease caused due to pitta imbalance: rashes, inflammation of skin, acne, skin cancer, ulcers, heartburn, vision problems, insomnia, anemia.
Foods beneficial: most beans, soaked almonds, vegetables.
Foods to avoid: sour fruits, red meat, potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant.
KAPHA- governs structure and lubrication
1. You gain weight easily
and difficulty in losing.
2. You are short and stocky or tall and sturdy.
3. Almost all the bodily features are thick.
4. You have abundant strength and stamina.
5. Your digestion is weak and often feels heavy after eating.
6. Your bowel movements are regular.
7. Your skin is smooth and oily and tends to be pale.
8. You sleep deeply and soundly.
9. You catch cold frequently.
10. You prefer hot weather.
1. You are a good Samaritan in the world.
2. You are calm in nature.
3. You prefer a slow, relaxed lifestyle.
4. You learn slow but your long-term memory is excellent.
5. You become sentimental easily.
6. You are methodical in actions.
7. You tend to be possessive.
8. You usually let others to lead.
9. You easily let negative emotions build up.
10. You are a natural listener.
Functions of kapha include: stickiness, potency, heaviness, strength, courage, forgiveness, immunity.
Disease caused due to kapha imbalance: cold, congestion, sinus, respiratory problems such as asthma, allergies
Foods beneficial: fruits except banana, orange, grapes; vegetables except ladyfinger, potato.
Foods to avoid: dairy products and sugar.