Ayurveda is an ancient Indian health system, and way of life. Although the original origins are unknown, Indians have followed this way of living for over 5,000 years where Ayurveda doctors were called upon in sickness and health. Over centuries, the Ayurveda practice and doctors have been fading out until more recently, where the practice and way of living has slowly gained awareness globally. So how exactly can you use Ayurveda in your daily life to optimise your health and wellbeing?
You can start by aligning yourself to a category called 'Doshas' that are a reflection of the universal elements – air, space, fire, water and earth. The three Doshas are called, Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Based on the Dosha that your physical and mental constitution is most strongly aligned to, you are guided to suggestions for a lifestyle that sets you up to thrive. Guidance is given to areas such as: morning routines, what food your body thrives on, when your metabolism is at it’s highest, movement that keeps you balanced, when you’re most productive/in work mode and sleep needed. In doing so, ultimate aim is to bring balance to the entire self system; mind, body energy.
Before going into each of these Doshas in more detail, we wanted to note that learning our personal Doshas have given guidance and acceptance, when we really thrive, and how to cultivate a more balanced life. For example, being a Pitta dominate Dosha - fuelled by the element of fire, it can be difficult to see when to slow down and avoid burnout, and amending a routine of less physical exercise and more 'calming' foods such as greens has been beneficial to balance this Dosha.
We live in a society where there’s always a new ‘diet’, call it paleo, gluten free, sugar free, ketogenic- and for some, these diets do work, but when you go to try these diets, you may find that you’re not having the same effects (yes, that's me!) It’s because we’re built differently and that what might work for someone, could be another person’s poison. So with that in mind, the Ayurveda approach is not a ‘diet’ but rather, a method that looks at your unique physiology and behaviour to provide a guideline on what foods, exercise routines, morning routines, sleep etc. will help give you more energy (at 3pm and other hours ;) , feel in balance.
So below is a little insight to each Dosha. As you read through the descriptions reflect on someone in your life who shows these characteristics and and ask yourself if these are qualities you see in yourself.
· Vata types are creative, free flowing, spontaneous, can get easily bored and like to be on the move
· Physically they can feel cold and have dry skin and hair.
·Vata types can easily overwork themselves and become fatigued
· Their appetite can vary from being strong to humble
· In terms of digestion, Vata’s are more prone to being bloated, holding and passing gas, as well as having dryness in the colon
· Pitta is the combination of fire and water and which lends its self to a hard working and competitive individual. You may see Pitta types as Type-A personalities who are task and routine driven
· The downside to these traits is the ability to get impatient and have mood swings, where anger can come out when entering their bad side
· The physical aspects of Pitta shows through red tones either through hair or through their face
· Holding more oil than the other Dosha types can be seen on their skin and hair
· They naturally hold more muscle and lean towards strenuous exercise to cool down their bodies which leads them to easily becoming addicted to exercise and becoming imbalanced
· Holding a strong digestive track however they emit stomach acid which can lead to heartburn and hyperacidity
· Kaphas are good listeners and loyal people who thrive in giving to others; with this, they can hold back their own feelings
· They are grounded and hold a ‘down to earth’ mentality
· In terms of a routine, they can convince themselves to start something on another day, as they feel more secure in a slow transition from a known routine
· Holding a slower metabolism and poorer circulation they hold water content that can cause puffiness
· On a more positive note, they age well and have very good skin in comparison
These descriptions alone may not be enough to identify your primary Dosha (as you could also have a secondary Dosha). To help with confidently identifying the one that you align with, follow the link below for our favourite Dosha quiz. This quiz was developed by Sahara Rose who is the #1 best selling Author of Eat Feel Fresh and Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda. It is very important to ensure you are confident in the Dosha that best suits you as the recommendations given to tweaking your life, morning routine, movement, food choices, etc. are specific to the Dosha.
Which Dosha are you? Take the quiz here