Ayurveda in it’s most basic translation, means the science of life and longevity. It has been practiced for over 5,000 years by ancient healers, long before MRI’s and penicillin entered our world. It is still practiced today, becoming more popular and even mainstream by health and wellness advocates. Essential oils have now become a multi-billion dollar industry and chances are someone on your street is selling them Mary Kay style.
Many of our modern day medical treatments are rooted in ayurvedic practice. Ayurveda aims for harmony and balance with self healing practices like yoga and meditation, diet and other lifestyle choices. There are three primary energies combining our physical, emotional and mental traits. If you have ever wondered why certain foods, scents and atmospheres are more appealing to you and some are not, it could have everything to do with your genetic and cosmic make up, or dosha. Here’s a brief description of each of the three Doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
- Vata – Cold, light, dry, irregular, subtle, rough, quick, changeable, mobile. When Vatas are in balance, they are energetic, creative, and flexible. Vatas prefer warmer climates and temperatures over cold. When Vata is imbalanced they are prone to weight loss, constipation, hypertension, arthritis, weakness, restlessness, and digestive challenges. They can also become anxious and nervous. Ayurveda balancing activities include massages, yoga and light bicycling. Other recommendations are to drink ginger tea in winter and use aromas like basil, citrus, vanilla, lavender, pine sage and frankincense. Avoid raw foods, cold temperatures and always keep a regular routine.
- Pitta – Hot, sharp, light, liquid, spreading, sour, oily, intense, pungent. When Pittas are in balance they are good decision makers and educators, promoting intelligence and understanding. They have a ton of energy and strong appetites. When out of balance, Pittas become fiery, frustrated, anger easily and are prone to overheating, heart burn, skin rashes, and indigestion. Equal amounts of activity and rest are recommended for Pitta. Cool foods and liquids are preferred with bitter and sweet flavors to balance this dosha. Aromas to soothe Pitta include aromas like chamomile, lavender, sandalwood and mint. Avoid excessive heat, salt intake and spicy foods.
- Kapha – Cool, heavy, slow, damp, oily, dense, soft, still, steady. When Kaphas are in balance they are loving, calm, forgive and provide strength and stability. They are loyal and supportive. When unbalanced, kapha can suffer from depression, greed, laziness, asthma and cold and also become overweight and sleep excessively. Kapha should get plenty of exercise and even vigorous workouts are recommended. Swimming and dancing are good options. Kapha should avoid heavy food, iced food and drinks and keep their space clear of clutter. Balancing aromas are eucalyptus, cinnamon, cloves and camphor.
It only takes a few minutes to complete a dosha quiz. Knowing your primary, secondary and least prominent doshas will help you make lifestyle choices that create balance in you mind, body and spirit. This knowledge can help ward off discomfort, disease and illness in a safe and natural way!
Photo – shutterstock.com
Jenn Bodnar is co-founder of Yoga Digest Magazine and has a genuine belief that yoga can benefit everyone. She is 200ERYT having attended multiple teacher trainings, facilitating yoga teacher trainings and studying and practicing yoga since 1999. Jenn is an avid fitness professional, who has taught and managed group fitness for many years. As a former competitive triathlete, gymnast and dancer Jenn loves the balance of strength, flexibility, perseverance and freedom that a yoga practice provides. She loves being active and outdoors with her family and friends. Jenn is a self proclaimed health food chef who hopes to leave a positive footprint by inspiring others to always choose happiness. “Watching people grow through yoga is one of the most amazing miracles to witness.”