Ayurvedic Doshas

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In Ayurveda our constitution is referred to as Prakriti. As introduced last week the three doshas that make up our Prakrit are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The Ayurvedic doshas are composed of the same elements as those found in our environment, and they contribute to our physical appearance, mental tendencies and physiological processes such as digestion and metabolism.

Balance Ayurveda doshas with meditation

The characteristics tabled below are a sample of the key attributes of each dosha. The descriptions may be used as a tool to deepen our understanding of our physical and mental attributes. This table is in no way a means of diagnosis. It is an introductory guide to better knowing ourselves and eating and lifestyle choices that support our unique Ayurvedic constitutions.

In recognition of continual change, Ayurveda requires us to remain mindful of what and how we eat.  Our constitution may be made up of more than one dosha and changes to our internal and external environments will alter our requirements. For example mental stress and the weather impact on the balance of our doshas. Ayurveda provides an alternative yet complementary view of health and wellbeing to Western medicine. Next week we will continue exploring Eastern nutrition with an introduction to traditional Chinese medicine.

Table – Ayurvedic Doshas

CharacteristicVataPittaKapha
Ayurvedic ElementsAir in space (wind).Fire in water (bile).Water in earth (phlegm).
GeneralDry, cold, light and quick. Provides motivation and movement.Hot, light, moist and sharp. Oversees digestion on a physical and mental level.Heavy, cold, moist, slow. Provides physical and emotional support.
Body frameThinMediumStocky or broad.
Body weightLow weight with difficultly gaining and maintaining weight.Moderate weight and it may fluctuate.Tendency to gain weight; can be difficult to reduce.
AppetiteVariable, irregular meals.Strong, usually have regular meals.Low, often grazers.
FaecesHard, dry, constipation.Abundant, loose, diarrhoea.Moderate, solid with some mucus.
Physical activityQuick and erratic.Medium and purposeful.Slow and steady.
Mental natureQuick, adaptable, indecisive.Intelligent, penetrating and critical.Slow and steady.
Dominant emotionsFear, anxiety, nervousnessAnger, irritability, argumentativeCalmness, contentment, attachment
SleepLight and may be interrupted.Moderate and tend to fall back to sleep if woken.Heavy and find it difficult to wake up.
Resistance to diseasePoorGoodExcellent
Predisposition to diseaseNerves, arthritis, arrhythmias.Fevers, infections, inflammation.Obesity, type 2 diabetes, respiratory.
Balanced by tastesSweet, sour and salty food spiced and cooked in oil.Sweet, bitter or astringent food, raw or lightly cooked without spice.Pungent, bitter or astringent food cooked with spice but not oil.
Activities that provide balancePrioritising sleep and reducing the time spent talking, thinking and traveling. Meditation with a focus of overcoming fears, calming and grounding yoga postures. Walking.Limiting time spent in the sun or heated environments. Practicing patience, contentment and forgiveness. Meditation with an aim of resolving anger and cooling yoga postures. Walking and jogging.Exercising outdoors in the sun and limiting exposure to cold and dampness. Sleeping for no more than 8-9 hours per day. Meditation to reduce sentimentality. Vigorous yoga, jogging and running.

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