Ayurvedic doshas + Health

Photo source: SR Aroma Ayurvedic Massage

If you’re relatively new to yoga, then you may or may not have heard of its sister science Ayurveda, which covers more of the medicinal end of health and wellness.

So let me begin with a bit of education. In Ayurveda, everyone has a dominant dosha, which is sometimes described as an energy or your body’s nature. There are 3 distinct doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Deepak Chopra’s site has a little quiz for you to figure out what your dosha is:

In a nutshell, Vatas are thin, often cold, a little scattered, have dry skin and tend to do a lot of things at once. Pittas hate heat, have a medium build, are highly disciplined, are easily aggravated and can be judgmental or critical. Kaphas are heavier, walk and talk slowly, are static, are deeply attached to relationships and have a craving for sweets.

Are one of these already speaking to you?

By knowing what dosha you are, you can start taking steps toward balancing your body, mind and spirit. For example, since Pittas are hot natured, they should look for cool foods and calming environments when they feel agitated. As a Pitta myself, I know how hard it is to want to sit and meditate in a dark room when I’m stressed out rather than putting on my running shoes, blasting some loud dance music and going for a run.

It’s interesting to me to think about your dosha in terms of health and wellness. In the west, we are so used to reacting to symptoms and tests to treat a condition rather than looking at a whole person and their lifestyle. I think taking a little bit of east and west gives us the best advantage for reaching maximum wellness.

I bring up doshas because with summer right around the corner (although Texas already FEELS like summer in May) and an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables in season, this is a good time to consider what your body needs to be healthy and feel better. We spent all winter eating heavy foods to celebrate the holidays with family and then the start of the new year with grand plans to lose weight and take better care of ourselves. But this is truly the time to kick it up a few notches.

I challenge y’all to figure out which dosha you are and see what aspects of your nature that can be better balanced through your yoga practice, lifestyle and food choices. Since I’m a Pitta, I’m going to try to step out of my comfort zone (again!) and find a more calming practice to balance out all the ashtanga. I’m going to avoid spicy food (boooo, no fun) and oily heavy foods (what? no french fries?!?) and see how this all affects my system. I’ll report back on how it goes. Maybe my post-baby belly will finally shrink to just a mini muffin top! 🙂

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  1. Yung says

    I’ve read about this before and have ventured into trying to balance my mind and body (am vata body, pitta mind currently) but I forget about it. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Lindsay says

    Most people are a combination of the two. I’m vata/kapha and although my body type is more kapha than vata, I have found that a balanced diet for a vata makes a huge difference for my digestive system.

    Watch out, you are going further and further down this yogi rabbit hole!

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