Do you ever feel like everyone around you has more energy? Or perhaps you wonder why you find it hard to relax? Well, the ancient life science of Ayurveda – translating as ‘knowledge of life’ – might be just the tool you need…
Words: Sareta Puri
Do you ever look around your friends and colleagues and think: how are some people always so full of energy? Or perhaps the opposite – you can’t comprehend some people’s love for a lie-in. Well, the answer may lie in Ayerveda.
This ancient Indian life science helps us to understand how our constitution – known in Ayurveda as dosha – affects all aspects of our life, health and wellbeing.
Ayurvedic principles are governed by the five elements: earth, water, air, fire and ether. We are all composed of a combination of these, and the balance will signify our dosha. When we understand our dosha, we can balance our lives to maximise our wellness.
There are three doshas: vata which is comprised of air and ether, pitta which is made up of fire and water, and kapha which is formed of water and earth. Everyone has a different ratio of each dosha, usually with a prominence of one, that influences physiological, emotional and mental health. Each manifests in different ways.
Do you have a meltdown if you can’t fit in your intense workout routine?
You might be vata.
Are you driven by being the best, whilst doing everything perfectly?
This is a pitta trait.
Or, perhaps you have less drive and motivation and prefer a slower pace of live?
Vata people tend to be active, creative and spacey. However, they can also get anxious and be overthinkers. Their natural body shape is slim, and they typically prefer raw, cold, dry foods.
Pitta individuals are fiery and passionate, goal-driven people. This heat can also create jealousy and anger. Their natural build is athletic, and they gravitate towards spicy and oily foods.
Kapha types are supporting and caring. But can suffer from a lack of motivation, depression and slugginess. They are often bigger-boned and enjoy warming, comforting foods.
Illnesses or conditions are signs of an imbalanced dosha. For example, eczema is a drying vata imbalance, inflammation is a heating pitta imbalance and congestion is a damp kapha imbalance.
Ayurveda addresses imbalances through diet, herbal remedies and lifestyles. This is why it is important to understand how each dosha presents itself. You can do a dosha test online, but to fully understand your natural constitution and any imbalances, it is recommended that you consult with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner or doctor.
In the west, we live in a highly pitta-dominated society. Being pushed to excel, to work hard, to succeed and be perfect. Stress is normalised and our minds – and bodies – easily overheat. Even the increasing global temperatures are a sign of pitta’s heat. This work-hard mentality is perfect for pitta people but what about the spontaneous vatas or leisurely kaphas?
By understanding the natural flow of your dosha, you can live a life that is manageable for you. This knowledge and awareness can enable you to find your groove and bring balance, instead of trying to keep up with behaviours that are not conducive for you.
To dig deeper, let’s explore what typically works – and does not – for each dosha:
Vata people tend to love running, cycling and HIIT workouts. However, if imbalanced, they should opt for pacifying activities such as meditation and slower-paced yoga. This might seem hellish to vata people as they love to burn energy and be on the go but it is important to slow down and be present. Never try to box in that spontaneity though – let vatas fly otherwise they will feel trapped.
Pitta people are naturally competitive so team sports are great for them. Although, they should not exercise in the heat – or do hot yoga – as that will only increase their natural fire. Instead, calming and cooling activities should be the focus. Pittas will always work hard, but they must take regular breaks to avoid burnout. Listening to calm music and bringing in regular breathwork practice will help to slow the mind.
Kapha people can be quite solitary figures which is ok – it is important for them to have alone time and not feel pressured to constantly socialise. They sometimes need motivation so exercising with a friend is beneficial. Kaphas should go at a pace that works for them and not feel pressured to be part of the hustle lifestyle. Embracing change can take time but everything the do will be done with commitment.
So listen to your body. Tune into what does and does not feel good. Reflect on changes experienced through certain activities, foods and seasons and find what works for you. And get ready to feel empowered.
Which dosha sounds most like you?