Ayurveda 101

 

 

WHAT IS AYURVEDA?

The word “Ayurveda” comes from “Ayur” (life force or vital energy) and “veda” (science). So, Ayurveda is the "science of life". Originating in India, it is the sister science to yoga and like yoga, has been around for 5000 years and shares the same goals as yoga: health, longevity and enlightenment.

A main philosophy of Ayurveda is the complete inter-connectedness of all things. According to Ayurveda, each person, as well as everything that exists in the universe, is made up of a unique combination of the 5 elements – ether, air, fire, water, and earth. The elements combine to create 3 doshas - vata (ether + air), pitta (fire + water), and kapha (water + earth). The unique combination of elements that you are born with creates your constitutional dosha, or prakriti.

As we go about our lives in the world, our diet, lifestyle, and environment can cause our prakriti to go out of balance.  When our current doshic state, or vikriti, is not in sync with our prakriti, we can experience disorder and dis-ease – physical symptoms or emotional or mental issues. Ayurveda uses practical tools to help us stay in balance - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Ayurveda addresses imbalances by providing specific diet, lifestyle, and herbal recommendations unique to your current imbalance to help you get back to your natural constitutional balance.

DOSHAS DEMYSTIFIED

The three doshas are the most significant characteristic in Ayurveda, and most of your actions and remedies will depend on what dosha you are. Each has its own characteristics and most people will immediately be able to tell what dosha they are just by reading the specific characteristics for each dosha...or by taking the online quiz...hint, hint ;-)

Ayurveda views people according to specific qualities. They’re either dry or moist; fat or thin, or cold or hot. It may seem like a wide generalization, and yet, you’ll discover that it’s actually very specific.

The 3 types of dosha are: vata, pitta, and kapha.

To get the best out of Ayurveda, you’ll need to adopt the lifestyle and diet that suits your dosha best. While most people will find that they’re predominantly one dosha, there are some who could be dual dosha or even tri-dosha.

So, how do you determine what dosha you are?

First, you need to look at your prakruti. Some of you reading this are probably scratching your head and wondering, “Prakru-whaaat?”

Don’t panic. The word may be foreign, but the concept is simple. Your prakruti is just your basic nature. It’s your body’s constitution, and is dictated by the balance within your body.

So, when looking at the characteristics, see which dosha’s characteristics mirrors your prakruti most closely. For example, if you love new challenges and are a natural born leader, you’re probably a pitta. Whereas if you’re artistic, imaginative and light-hearted, you’re probably a vata.

After comparing the characteristics against your prakruti, you’ll need to look at your vikruti. You’re probably thinking, “Not another one…”

Your vikruti refers to other factors like your stress level, fitness, diet, emotional state, etc. What your current condition is. You want your vikruti and pakruti to complement each other perfectly. Then you’ll be in a natural state of health. All imbalance within the body rises from a discrepancy between the two.

By identifying your dosha and adopting the necessary diet and lifestyle, you’ll bring balance and feel much better.

Your dosha is also affected by your genetics and the five elements: ether, air, fire, water and earth. All this may seem far fetched and even mildly ridiculous to many people. Yet, this is an old science and observing it can yield a multitude of health benefits.

VATA DOSHA: The vata dosha is mostly an airy element and people in this category tend to dislike cold and are prone to constipation and digestive problems. Dryness, lightness, irregularity and inconsistency are all characteristics of the vata dosha.

PITTA DOSHA: The pitta dosha is fiery in nature and signified by heat. Pitta folks prefer coolness and tend to have personalities that are strong with an angry or judgmental nature. Pittas are prone to inflammation if the dosha gets out of balance.

KAPHA DOSHA: The kapha dosha is a combination of water and earth. People with this dosha have an easy-going nature and are generally strong and fit. They love their sleep and have a good memory. When out of balance, diabetes, uncontrolled weight gain and depression can take root.

These are just some of the characteristics of each dosha. When examined in detail, it’ll be clearly evident that the Ayurvedic method of adopting methods that suit your dosha is highly effective at restoring health and wellbeing.

Take the quiz below to find out what your unique doshic combination is.  And if you want to learn more about how Ayurveda can help you live a balanced, healthy lifestyle, schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation with me.