Ayurveda, a sister science of yoga, is a traditional Hindu system of medicine focusing on preventative healthcare, detoxification, rejuvenation and longevity. Native to India, Ayurveda means, Ayu – “life” and Veda – “knowledge or science”, so it can be interpreted as the “science of life”. Ayurveda is mankind’s oldest healing system, dating back beyond 5,000 years, using foods, herbs, oils, massage, stones, yoga and meditation to maintain doshic balance. Ayurveda brings the body, mind and spirit into unity so you may live in harmony with your true nature.
Each of us is made up of a combination of the elements: ether (space), air, fire, water and earth. Our individual bodily make-up, or constitution, when honored allows us to live in harmony and serenity. The five elements then pair-up into three combinations (known as doshas) to form the primary forces of nature.
Each of us carry our own unique dosha that is established at time of birth. This is known as our prakriti. Our current constitution, known as our vikriti, has the ability to change while prakriti does not. Life influences (such as diet, environmental factors, lifestyle, etc.) cause vikriti to move out of balance from our prakriti, shifting us out of harmony. In excess this can lead to disease. Ayurveda strives to keep us in a state of serenity and out of a state of stress.
The 3 Doshas: Vata, Pitta, Kapha
Ayurveda states that each of us is born with a unique combination of elemental energies, called doshas. Our dosha is derived from a combination of the five great elements: ether, air, fire, water and earth. The doshic combination we are born with (our prakriti) stays with us throughout our lifetime, while our current state of being (vikriti) may be swayed away from our original nature by outside factors.
All of us embody all three doshas, while maintaining a dominant (or dual-dominant) dosha. Keeping our original doshic nature in balance allows us to experience life in a harmonious state. The three doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Vata (ether and air):
The three dominant qualities of Vata are light, cold and dry. Vata dominant individuals have thin frames and small or narrow features. They are creative, spontaneous and enjoy change and movement. Vata individuals have little or a light appetite. When Vata is out of balance it may produce anxiety, fear, insomnia, and irregular digestion.
Pitta (fire and water):
The three dominant qualities of Pitta are light, hot and oily. Pitta dominant individuals have a medium build, proportionate facial features and sparkling or intense eyes. They are orderly, intense and focused. Pitta individuals have a sharp appetite and can be irritable when hungry. When Pitta is out of balance it can lead to anger, resentment, inflammation and ulcers.
Kapha (water and earth):
The three dominant qualities of Kapha are heavy, cold and oily. Kapha dominant individuals have a large build with full, soft features. They are relaxed, patient and conservative. Kapha individuals have stable and regular digestion, but can be prone to emotional or “boredom” eating. When Kapha is out of balance it can cause attachment, lethargy, depression and congestion.
Vata is balanced using warm, wet and heavy elements. Pitta is balanced through cool, relaxing and nurturing methods. Kapha is balanced by energizing, mobilizing and stimulating means. *The statements expressed above are general descriptions and do not reflect all considerations. To determine individual doshic combination, schedule a consultation.
How can Ayurveda benefit me?
To bring us back into balance is to find health and happiness. Doshic balance can be maintained through our daily routines and rituals. Ayurveda uses a combination of herbs, oils, foods, yoga and meditation (to name a few) to align each of us back into harmony. Ayurveda can be used in conjunction with western medicine for anyone who is interested in finding balance using natural remedies, honoring our original one-of-a-kind nature. We are divine beings. Using the tools and the awareness of Ayurveda, we can navigate through life’s influential factors while maintaining a state of bliss.
*Ayurvedic practitioners do not diagnose, treat or prescribe. Instead, they make suggestions and recommendations to help patients find health, happiness and serenity.