Eastern medicine uses patterns & context to see the forest instead of just the tree.
It grounds this perspective with an appreciation of the uniqueness of each individual. This way we get the best of both worlds….
There are no one size fits all solutions when it comes to health and wellness. Your body is unique. So, you deserve a customized approach to optimizing your health. Ayurvedic wellness offers a distinct understanding of the human body through the concept of dosha types. In this article, we’ll delve into:
Understanding Ayurvedic Body Types (Doshas)
We categorize and understand Ayurvedic body types via the concept of dosha. A dosha is a general collection of physical, mental and emotional tendencies that commonly go together.You can use these tendencies / patterns to:
It’s useful to remember that the dosas are not reality - they are concepts used to describe reality. You can’t touch Vata, Pitta, Kapha. Just like you can’t touch concepts such as spicy or red. But you can understand what those concepts are like. You have probably used spicy and red to describe reality.
Vata, Pitta, Kapha are responsible for all structure and function in your body. You can think of the dosha types as forces or energies since they are dynamic and active. The doshas describe attributes like:
Ayurveda also details remedies for each of the dosha types when and if you do become imbalanced. Your dosha type gives you a framework for understanding your body. You can use that framework for the rest of your life to optimize your health.
The doshas represent patterns we commonly see in life. Of course there are exceptions, but recognizing larger patterns helps to make life easier. Like the way you might recognize a traffic pattern - there’s always more cars during rush hour - and adapt your plans accordingly.
Because Vata, Pitta, Kapha are responsible for all structure and function in the body you have all three of them within you. You couldn’t live without one of them. But everyone has them in different proportions. You have your own unique cocktail. That unique cocktail is your Ayurvedic body type. You can determine how they manifest in you via the characteristics you exhibit.
For example, some folks are tall, others short, some cannot bear the cold and others dislike the damp. Many of these attributes are genetic while you get others from your diet, climate or living conditions. Your original, unique cocktail of Vata, Pitta, Kapha (aka your Ayurvedic body type) is fixed at birth. It doesn’t change.
But, the traits of each dosha have a tendency to build up over the course of your life - especially the traits of your predominant dosha. This leads to dosha imbalances which are the starting point for diseases to develop. The main goal of Ayurveda treatment is balancing doshas. This is why it is so helpful to understand the dosha types.
The Three Primary Doshas in Ayurveda
We all have Vata, Pitta, Kapha within us, but in different proportions. When in balance, the dosha types create holistic well-being. Dosha imbalances create disease. This is always in flux because life is always changing. You can’t get to a place of dosha balance and stay there. We constantly have to make choices that affect our health. That's why dosha self-assessment is an important component of Ayurvedic self-care.
When you’re making good choices, maintain dosha balance and enjoy good health. When you’re not, you experience dosha imbalances. This includes things like:
Ayurveda treatment goes beyond mitigating symptoms and enables you to experience holistic well-being. Taking responsibility for your health means that YOU need to know how to prevent disease and restore dosha balance. This is a fundamental difference between Eastern and Western medicine. In Western medicine, the responsibility for health is on the doctor. In Eastern medicine, the responsibility for health is on the patient. This may sound daunting at first, but it’s actually pretty empowering.
No one can have this moment to moment awareness of what your body needs but you. Living an Ayurvedic lifestyle chock full of Ayurvedic practices that invite dosha self-assessment enables you tune into your body’s subtle cues with ease. This kind of self awareness is key to preventing dosha imbalances.
Vata, Pitta, Kapha are based on patterns we see in the human body as well as the world around us. Each of the dosha types is made up of two of the five elements. Let's take a closer look at Vata, Pitta, Kapha…
Vata is made up of the space and air elements. Vata governs all movement, change and communication in the body.
When healthy, Vata is:
Vata types are often:
Pitta is composed of fire and water. Pitta governs all transformation and heat.
When healthy, pitta is:
Kapha is rooted in the elements of earth and water. Kapha governs all growth, nourishment, and lubrication.
When healthy Kapha is:
Determining Your Dominant Dosha
Now that you have an understanding of the three primary doshas, you might be wondering which of the Ayurvedic body types you are. Ayurveda provides several methods for this:
Dosha Self-Assessment: You can begin by taking a dosha self-assessment. This quiz offers a preliminary insight into your dosha type.
Consult with an Ayurvedic Practitioner: The most accurate way to determine your dosha type is through a consultation. Your Ayurvedic practitioner will analyze your physical and mental attributes. They'll assess your lifestyle and consider your medical history to identify your dominant dosha. This personalized approach is invaluable in creating a customized Ayurvedic health guide.
Balancing Your Doshas for Optimal Health
Achieving and maintaining dosha balance is the cornerstone of Ayurvedic self-care. Dosha balance ensures that your body and mind function harmoniously with one another and your surroundings. This leads to better health, vitality, and overall happiness. Here's how you can work towards achieving dosha balance:
Ayurvedic Practices for Each Dosha
Ayurveda offers a treasure trove of practices tailored to each dosha. Let's explore some of these practices that can help you maintain the dosha balance you seek…
To bring Vata back into equilibrium, Ayurveda treatment recommends:
To cool and balance Pitta, Ayurveda treatment suggests:
To invigorate Kapha, Ayurveda treatment advises:
By tailoring your Ayurvedic lifestyle to your dosha, you set yourself up for holistic well-being.
Discover Your Body Type With Indra Holistic Health
Now that you've got a glimpse of Ayurvedic body types and identifying doshas, it's time to take your journey a step further. We offer Ayurvedic treatment in New Jersey and beyond. Kimberly, our Ayurvedic practitioner, will work with you to create an Ayurvedic health guide that aligns with your goals and body type.
Whether you’re seeking: