"Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food". This is a quote to live by and one that many who practice Ayurvedic medicine believe in. Ayurvedic medicine is the primary healthcare practiced in India and one of the oldest and most holistic forms of medicine practiced around the world. Ayurveda is a sanskrit term made from "ayus" meaning life and "veda" meaning knowledge or science, therefore, Ayurveda means the "science of life" and focuses around balance between bodily systems, the mind, the senses, and the spirit. Ayurveda focuses on promoting health, preventing disease, and achieving long life. The basic philosophy of Ayurveda is centered around panchamahabhoota, or the five elements theory. This theory states that the universe as well as the human body is made up of five elements, air (vayu), space (akash), earth (prithvi), fire (agni), and water (jal). These five elements combine to form "controlling forces" or Dosha, also known as our constitution, to western medicine it would be equivilant to our physiology. The dosha are responsible for sustaining the living body in a balanced state. There are three types of dosha: Vaata, Pitta, and Kapha.
Responsible for active movements. There are five types of Vaata:
→ Diseases caused by disorders of Vaata are: asthma, epilepsy, mental disorders, urticaria, viral fever, anaemia, obesity, diabetes, constipation, diarrhea, and reduced function of the thyroid and adrenal glands.
Rresponsible for the chemical reactions in our body. There are also five types of Pitta.
→ Diseases caused by disorders of Pitta are: toxic fevers, gastritis, vomitting, diarrhea, jaundice, skin diseases, and all infections.
Responsible for growth brought about by secretions of different types of organs. The five types are as follows:
→ Diseases caused by disorders of Kapha are: common cold, infection of the lungs and other parts of the respiratory system, jaundice, eczema, pimples and skin infections, arthritis, rheumatic heart disease, swelling and infection of the kidneys, peritonitis, encephalitis, meningitis and other infections of the brain, and benign tumors.
In Ayurveda the tissues of the body are known as Dhaatu and form the basic structure of the body. The seven types of dhaatus are: lymph, blood, muscle, fat, bone marrow, sperm, and ovum. The waste products produced from the various bodily functions are known as Malas and include products like sweat, urine, bile, gas, and mucous secretions.
Thus in Ayurveda diseases are due to imbalances of doshas, dhaatus, and malas.In Ayurveda every person is born with their "constitution" or dosha. Even though all people have each of the three doshas present there is typically one and sometimes two that dominate your constitution. Once you learn what your dominant dosha is you can find better balance through food, exercise, meditation, and climate. Below you will find another breakdown of Vaata, Pitta, and Kapha which will help you determine which dosha is dominant to you. Look through the chart and see which characteristics most match who you are. You can place a mark next to each characteristic and once you have looked through all you can tally up which dosha has the most marks, this will be your dominant dosha.
|Thin, light, delicate structure; either very tall or very short||Medium body size, steady weight||Large, well-built frame, tend to be overweight|
|Dry hair, skin, lips, constipation||Hot body temperature, dislikes heat||Sensitive to cold and damp; likes the sun and wind|
|Rough skin, hair, nails, hands, and feet||Light-colored eyes||Large eyes|
|Cracking or unstable joints||Light colored hair||Smooth, soft skin|
|Stiff muscles||Fair, freckled, or red skin that burns easily||Sensitive to touch|
|Sensitive to cold; dislikes cold climates||Oily skin and hair||Soft, wavy hair|
|Cold extremities, poor circulation||Prone to acne, rashes, or inflammation||Strong immunity when in balance|
|Prone to palpitations, irregular heartbeat, muscle spasms, nervous stomach||Good digestion, loose stools||Reliable energy; strong physical stamina|
|Tremors and tics||Strong, urgent appetite||Slow metabolism and digetion|
|Changeable moods, irregular daily habits||Dislikes oily food||Slow and steady in most activities; stable, easygoing, reliable|
|Irregular appetite; irregular digestion; prone to gas||Sensitive to light||Slow learner, but retains information once learned|
|Sensitive to wind and sound||Eyes are sensitive and easily irritated||Slow to anger|
|Prone to sore throats, earaches, dry coughs, headaches, anxiety||Abundant energy||Loving, affectionate, kind, gentle|
|Low endurance, tends to overexert||Sharp memory||Difficulty expressing emotions|
|Energy comes in brief sudden spurts||Prone to heartburn, stomach acidity||Loves food, especially sweets|
|Likes travel||Profuse sweat, urine, feces||Loves sleep|
|Light sleeper, sometimes insomniac, many dreams that are active and quick moving||Strong body odor, smelly feet and armpits||Prone to problems involving mucus production; colds and flu|
|Highly imaginative and creative||Prone to anger and impatience, judgmental and critical||Prone to asthma and allergies|
|Enthusiastic, excitable, positive when in balance||Hardworking and successful||Prone to diabetes and heart problems|
|Mentally quick but forgets easily||Earns good money, but spends it too||Prone to depression|
|Can't save money easily||Sharp logical minds||Hold onto money|
In order to find balance with your dosha you will need to choose foods and activities that are opposite the qualities of the dosha. If the dosha prefers hot spicy food, you will need to eat cool foods such as fruits to find balance.
|Balancing Vaata||Balancing Pitta||Balancing Kapha|
|Avoid cold temperatures and make sure to keep warm||Avoid hot temperatures, as well as hot, spicy food||Stay warm and dry|
|Eat warm, spicy foods||Stay away from grease, oil, and salt||Avoid heavy, sweet, fatty, oily foods|
|Don't overexert yourself||Adequate exercise||Avoid dairy and cold drinks|
|Regular and adequate rest||Drink cool beverages and eat cool foods||Don't oversleep|
|Create routines and stick to them||Find something positive to focus your energy on||Get plenty of vigorous exercise|
Can you determine what my dominant dosha is?
I am 5ʼ2 and weigh between 115-120 with little variation in my weight gain. I am blonde with blue eyes and a very fair complexion. I tend to burn easily and I ALWAYS wear sunglasses. When it comes to eating I must eat as soon as I am hungry or I become grumpy. I can eat a lot of food for my size, but I also burn a lot of calories through running. I love fruits and vegetables, but I also have a HUGE sweet tooth! I enjoy the heat, but canʼt take too much without feeling ill. When it comes to work and school I learn quickly and tend to remember most of what I have been taught. I love to do activities that challenge me and I love to travel.
ANSWER - Even though I have qualities of all three doshas, my dominant dosha is PITTA!!