In the ancient Indian healing art known as Ayurveda, it’s believed that each individual has three main elements that govern the body and mind. These elements, which are fire, water, and air, need to be balanced properly in order for optimal health to occur. When out of balance, such as when there’s an overabundance of one element over the others, disease, discomfort, emotional distress, and other difficulties can occur. Getting these elements back into balance is the key to not only ridding yourself of symptoms that are associated with a condition but also finally curing yourself by assisting the body in healing itself naturally. It works somewhat like energy healing, which you can learn more about by taking this course, because you’re treating the body on a deep level, but it’s also very different.
The Three Doshas and How They Affect You
The three elements are divided into three doshas, which are kapha, pitta, and vata. Kapha is associated with the earth element, which is grounding, stable, nurturing, and protective. Pitta, on the other hand, is associated with fire, which is the catalyst of creativity, determination, and passion. And, finally, vata is associated with air and space, so it’s all about movement, evolution, and growth.
Everyone is born with a predominant dosha that will dictate the majority of that person’s physical and mental state. For example, someone who’s born with a predominance of vata will typically have a small frame, a strong intellect, and the tendency to get frazzled or nervous easily because of all the wind and movement in the body and mind. A pitta, on the other hand, will have a medium frame and be very passionate about pursuing work opportunities, but may get so intense in their efforts that they literally burn themselves out with skin rashes and an elevated body temperature. And a kapha will have a larger frame and a nurturing, slower-paced attitude toward life, but may get too lazy and become prone to gaining weight.
It’s completely normal for one or two doshas to dominate while the third is expressed less strongly. Some people are also tri-doshic, which means all of the doshas are expressing themselves in equal proportions. No matter what, as long as you feel good and you’re exhibiting the positive aspects associated with these doshas, you’re in a state of balance and health. But when the negative attributes associated with them start to show through, it can lead to feeling unwell and unhappy.
Ayurvedic Treatments: What to Expect
While meditation for self-healing or restorative yoga can help, as both of these practices are integral components of a good Ayurvedic treatment plan, Ayurveda goes much further by providing you with suggestions for the way you eat, the supplements you should be taking, the herbs that may help your condition, and even the number of hours you should sleep. Depending upon the dosha that’s out of balance, an Ayurvedic doctor will give you advice on what foods to consume and which to avoid, as well as what exercise routines are best for you, and even what hobbies you can pursue to bring enjoyment and balance into your life.
Taking the Dosha Test
Taking a simple test will help you determine whether you’re considered a vata, kapha, or pitta. This will help you take steps on your own to bring balance back to the body and mind by cooking the right foods for your dosha, doing the right exercises, and quieting the mind through meditation.
Below is a sample of a dosha test you can take to narrow down your dosha. For each category, choose the option that’s closest to your current condition, as doshas can fluctuate and change in intensity over time and you want to see what’s going on right now rather than what your body and mind were like in the past. Write down the letter associated with each option and then tally your results.
A. Thin and slender, petite
B. Medium build and good muscle tone
C. Large, stocky, broad
A. Low body weight with a tendency to lose weight easily or forget to eat
B. Average weight with the ability to gain or lose weight easily
C. Heavier body weight, with difficulty losing weight and finding it easy to gain weight
A. Dry, frizzy, brittle
B. Fine hair that tends to gray or thin easily
C. A lot of hair that’s thick and oily
A. Dry, thin, rough
B. Reddish complexion, easily irritated, sensitive
C. Smooth, moisturized, thick
A. Active eyes that are small in size
B. Intense eyes and gaze
C. Large eyes that are soft and pleasant
A. Pop or crack easily, thin, noticeable
B. Flexible, loose
C. Large in size and padded
A. Cold feet and hands and a preference towards warm weather
B. Warm body temperature, with a preference for cooler weather
C. Adaptable, but with an avoidance of wet, cold weather
A. Enthusiastic, welcoming of change
B. Intense with a lot of purpose and drive
C. Easygoing and supportive
A. Light sleeper
B. Sound sleeper without requiring a lot of sleep
C. Deep sleeper who needs a lot of sleep
A. Anxiety and nervousness build up easily
B. Aggressive, easy to anger, argumentative
C. Withdrawing and not wanting to deal with it
Calculating Your Results
If you answered mostly A, you have a predominance of vata. If you answered mostly B, you’re a pitta. Finally, if you’re a kapha, the majority of your answers are C. You may also notice that two doshas are equally expressed or that you’re expressing all three doshas equally.
Keep in mind that this is a basic quiz and there are more detailed tests Ayurvedic specialists use, as well as other methods they employ in order to determine what doshas are out of balance. For example, they may look into your eyes to see how white or red they are, examine the tongue for color and texture, and feel your pulse.
Beyond these physical characteristics, your dosha will also affect your mind and emotions, so an Ayurvedic doctor would also ask you about stress in your life and how you deal with it, what your childhood was like, what your job is like, and other questions that can help you figure out what’s imbalanced. To help a vata who’s been feeling a lot of anxiety, for example, meditation would be prescribed. Read this blog post to learn more about the benefits of meditation for all doshas.
Treating Your Dosha
Every dosha is associated with positive and negative characteristics, so you don’t always have to bring them back into balance if they’re working in your favor. Check out this blog post to learn more about the good and bad attributes associated with each dosha.
Vata – To balance vata, stick to a routine of waking and sleeping at the same time every day. Meditate, practice yoga, and indulge in relaxing fragrances. Stick with sweet, salty, and sour foods, making sure to eat three meals a day. Drink relaxing herbal teas. Enjoy a daily relaxing massage.
Pitta – If pitta is imbalanced, take time to retreat to nature and spend more time outside. Meditate and make sure you spend quiet time each day to yourself just to relax and recharge. Stick with foods that are bitter, astringent, and sweet that help cool your body. Choose soothing fragrances, indulge in relaxing massages, and drink herbal teas. Surround yourself in cool colors, such as white, green, and blue.
Kapha – Kaphas should wake up very early in the day and look for opportunities to change and let go of what no longer serves them. Bitter, astringent, and pungent foods should be consumed only when hungry. A clean environment and exercise are necessary. A kapha should also stick with invigorating fragrances and herbal teas, as well as colors that inspire passion and spontaneity, such as red, yellow, and orange. And, like the other doshas, meditation and massage are also healing.
Once you know your dosha, you can take this exciting course on Ayurvedic yoga that will balance it. Before you know it, you’ll feel more grounded and clear-headed, as well as healthier in body and mind.