Ayurveda, a tradition that originated from India, is a complete holistic approach that integrates healing through the elements. The November issue of New Age magazine simply explains Ayurveda by suggesting that “Ayurveda rekindles a holistic rapport with the constituents of natureêeverything in ourselves and in our world is formed by the five elements: ether, air, fire, water and earth. In human beings, the elements express themselves as Ayurveda’s three metabolic types, or doshas, upon which all health diagnoses and treatments are based.” Balance the three combined elements called doshas and maintain a healthy, happy and prosperous life!
Each dosha represents qualities of combined elements. Vata integrates ether and air. Pitta integrates fire and water. Kapha integrates water and earth. We are composed of all five elements and therefore
all three doshas. Each person has a specific metabolic nature, or a particular dosha, that dictates her basic make-up.
The doshas give us useful information for making healthy lifestyle choices. This process can be compared to understanding, for example, the true nature of plants. Fruits grow best in warm climates, a cactus will grow in the desert and a lily pad flourishes in the middle of a lake. Each plant has a specific constitution, a specific organic composition that is identifiable and will dictate its existence.
Humans also have these identifiable qualities. Some of us will never be on time no matter how hard we try! Live in Paraguay for a while and see why the siesta is a valued commodity.
Alison R. Levy’s work on healthy typecasting looks at why becoming more aware of what is beneficial to your particular dosha will prevent serious diseases. She suggests that by getting a picture of our own makeup, we can identify what kind of diet, lifestyle and actions will best support and balance us. We can also learn to avoid things that deplete and stagnate within us. Levy suggests the first step in Ayurveda healing and health maintenance is to identify your metabolic type.
If you have been following recent installments of “Healing,” you already have an idea of what is contained in each element. The elements govern energetic qualities and are the foundation of Ayurveda assessment and treatment.
Vata Ether and air create space and movement:
Is space an issue with you? Are you scattered? Do you talk rapidly? Do you wake up frequently? Do you feel impatient? Are you thin, wirey?
Pitta Fire and water create heat, clarity, transformation and making connections:
Do you hold anger? Are you enthusiastic? Are you loud? Digestive problems/love to eat? Can’t let go? Are you overprotective? Overly goal oriented?
Kapha Water and earth create fluidity, slow movements, completion and structure:
Do you feel grounded? Do you handle finances well? Hard to lose weight? Sleep sound? Are you overprotective? A people pleaser?
Dr. Deepak Chopra, the guru of Ayurveda, says if a doctor wanted to change someone’s doshas, he would change their core habits. In this way you would get to the root of the patient’s problem.
Ayurveda is founded on the idea that outside agents such as a virus or bacteria do not cause disease. The state and nature of the host is the key. Why is it that 10 people in the same room can be exposed to a very toxic virus, but five do not get sick, three come down with mild symptoms and two get critically ill? The host and one’s own state of balance will determine if one gets sick or stays well.
What is your dosha?
- Pittas: moderation
- Kaphas: stimulation/motivation
- Vatas: grounding and stability
Meditate if you are a pitta. Take risks if you are a kapha. Structure and routine for vatas.
Eat cool and calming foods for pitta. Light and spicy foods for kapha. Whole grains and warm foods
Minimize stress for pitta. Vigorous exercise for kapha. Complete tasks for vata.
Study yourself and embrace the Ayurveda healthcare system. Explore Ayurveda online and connect with an in-depth analysis of your own metabolic dosha. Seek out consultations with Ayurveda practitioners.
Begin by simply thinking about what you need to keep yourself in balance for your type. For an example, a pitta really gets sick with constant stress whereas a kapha will let stress roll off her back and a vata creates stress around him constantly. Maybe a time will come when we can go to a restaurant and order from a pitta, kapha or vata menu!
The body, when put into balance, will heal itself. Chopra believes that the body itself is not a fixed package of atoms and molecules. It is a process, or rather billions of simultaneous processes being coordinated together. Therefore, for us to be disease free, and have quality health we need to work on our own internal clock.
Final words from Deepak Chopra: To get somewhere you have to leave somewhere!
May the longtime sun shine upon you.