Get your doshas in balance for 100 healthy years
Vata, pitta and kapha–the three somatic doshas of Ayurveda–rule the functions of the body. When in balance, the three doshas maintain health. When out of balance, they will create a state of disease.
To work with Ayurveda medicine is to first recognize the basic constitution of the individual. The physician within will recognize your basic constitution and then access information about diet, digestive conditions, sleeping habits and environmental factors that affect your body type. Healing becomes a daily adjustment of personal conditions that affect your health.
For maximum healthcare, you must understand your body type:
Vatas are thinner in build, tend to be hyper, quick and move fast. They eat irregularly, thirst is minimal, have drying skin and are light sleepers. A vata will tire easily, become intolerant to cold and have low body heat. Movements are light, and there is a need to talk constantly. Predominant tastes are sweet, acid and salt, while cravings are for warm food with added fat. A vata will dream of space, skies and mountains. In the physical body, tendons and joints are loose, respiration is shallow, eyelashes thin and feet can be rough or cracked.
Pittas are more muscular with a tendency to gain soft weight. They take quick and direct action to get things accomplished and are very enthusiastic. Predominant tastes are sweet, astringent and bitter. They have cravings for cold things and they cannot skip meals. A pitta is proud, has a sharp intellect and can become intolerant under stress. They are quick to anger and can become attached to things and people.
Kaphas have a solid earthy build with a tendency toward obesity. They have receptive power, are slow to anger and move deliberately. A kapha can be very tolerant and affectionate. Predominant tastes are pungent, bitter and astringent with cravings for dry things. They grow nails and hair well, tend towards a thick abdomen and have strong joints.
Let’s examine the influences of the doshas:
- The increase of vata, which is air and ether, give rise to harshness of speech, insomnia, lack of vitality, being constipated, roughness of skin and often depression. Needs: To take space for oneself, don’t overcrowd your schedule and take time to laugh. Often if vata is out of balance, there is a need for direction and clarity. Eat more protein and solid earth foods like sweet potatoes for balance.
- The increase of pitta, which is fire and water, gives rise to decreased sleep, weakness in the senses, loss of strength, extreme assertiveness, and sometimes extreme boisterousness. Excessive hunger can occur along with hyper acidity, and lymphatic imbalances.
Needs: Avoid becoming overly stressed at all costs, work on personal power and forgiveness while taking time to meditate. Work on digestive issues. Drink water and eat lighter foods such as yogurt for balance.
- The increase of kapha, which is water and earth, gives rise to heaviness, dullness of appetite along with weakening of joints and colon problems. Depression and lethargy may occur if kapha is out of balance.
Needs: Learn to let go of being so structured or stubborn. Eat warm and light foods without fats and sugars. Avoid putting yourself into positions that make you feel stuck. Do something spontaneous.
Understanding the doshas will provide guidelines to preventative healthcare. After determining the nature of these imbalances, corrective therapy can be determined:
- If there is a heavy pitta imbalance (too much fire), getting angry is the last thing needed. Eat cooling foods, go for a walk or drink a lot of water. When pitta is out of balance, there should be concern about digestive problems.
- If one is feeling airy, flighty and/or restless (too much vata), go for a swim, or ground yourself with earth foods like potatoes. Be preventive, and don’t go to a rock concert!
- If one is feeling stuck or in a rut (too much earth/kapha imbalance), change is needed. Eat lots of green airy foods, spinach and apples. Get to a beach and walk in the sand. Don’t volunteer to organize a plant sale for your school.
Imbalances in all three constitutions can be balanced by consistent bodywork such as polarity, cranial sacral therapy or reflexology and activities such as yoga or meditation. The Ayurevedists believe that there are various channels in the body and keeping them open will give us a life of vitality. Don’t wait until the disorder becomes a problem. Get the message!Charaka Thakkur, in his original volume An Introduction to Ayurveda, says Ayurveda theories are practicable, adaptable and useful even today. What is more, he continues, we feel Ayurveda today is needed much more than in the past, as the drugs, diets and practices now in vogue are not leading to solutions of the health problems facing humanity but are only creating more and tougher problems.
Concluding words from Charaka on Ayurveda: “He [or she] who rightly observes the rules of health laid down here will not be deprived of 100 years of healthy life.”
May the longtime sun shine upon you.