Ayurveda uses the dosha’s to define body type, physical and mental constitution. Rarely if ever is someone purely a single dosha; rather we are influenced to varying degrees by the three doshas, vata, pitta, and kapha.
Considered the most potent or powerful dosha, vata combines the air and ether. As such, it holds control over the primary functions and basic processes of the body like your lungs and breathing, your heart and blood flow, processing and discharge of toxins and waste products, and cell division & tissue growth.
The vata dosha can be impacted when we don’t take care of basic body care like not getting enough sleep. Grief, anxiety, and fear also aggravate this dosha, as does poor eating habits like not waiting for one meal to be digested before eating more food, and in particular eating dry fruit.
Those of us who’s main dosha is vata are more prone to anxiety, heart disease, insomnia or poor sleeping habits, and can be more susceptible to various neurological problems like RA (rheumatoid arthritis) and problematic skin conditions.
The kapha dosha involves the elements of earth and water, and has influence over growth, our levels of immunity, and physical strength. A badly balanced kapha can lead to difficulty eating, particularly nausea, becoming dependent on sweets and overly-processed foods, and over-doing our salt intake. For those of us whose dominant dosha is kapha, we are more vulnerable asthma and other respiratory illnesses, cancer, and diabetes & obesity.
The pitta dosha represents the elements fire and water. Pitta controls hormones and the digestive system. A person with a pitta imbalance may experience negative emotions such as anger and may have physical symptoms such as heartburn within 2 or 3 hours of eating. Pitta is upset by, for example, eating spicy or sour food, fatigue, or spending too much time in the sun. People with a predominantly pitta constitution are thought to be susceptible to hypertension, heart disease, infectious diseases, and digestive conditions such as Crohn’s disease.
The key to maintaining physical and mental health is in keeping these elements and doshas in harmonic balance through proper diet, herbs and life style, otherwise early aging and various diseases can manifest. These three doshas can even be traced back to the very beginning of creation as representing the three Gods in Vedic wisdom Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma. One or more of these doshas or elements will predominate in every individual living entity creating seven possible body types. By knowing which type you are by symptoms, the proper diet and herbal treatment can be established for you. •Eliminating impurities. A process called panchakarma is intended to cleanse the body by eliminating ama. Ama is described as an undigested food that sticks to tissues, interferes with normal functioning of the body, and leads to disease. Panchakarma focuses on eliminating ama through the digestive tract and the respiratory system. Enemas, massage, medical oils administered in a nasal spray, and other methods may be used.
- Reducing symptoms. The practitioner may suggest various options, including physical exercises, stretching, breathing exercises, meditation, massage, lying in the sun, and changing the diet. The patient may take certain herbs—often with honey, to make them easier to digest. Sometimes diets are restricted to certain foods. Very small amounts of metal and mineral preparations, such as gold or iron, also may be given.
- Increasing resistance to disease. The practitioner may combine several herbs, proteins, minerals, and vitamins in tonics to improve digestion and increase appetite and immunity. These tonics are based on formulas from ancient texts.
- Reducing worry and increasing harmony. Ayurvedic medicine emphasizes mental nurturing and spiritual healing. Practitioners may recommend avoiding situations that cause worry and using techniques that promote release of negative emotions
- Cold Water Extracted. It extracts and concentrates the medicinal properties of the herbs. Removing all the fibers and unnecessary parts to make the herb as pure as possible. Making just a little bit go a very long way, allowing ¼-1 teaspoon more then enough.
Understanding the doshas and maintaining balance is one of the keys to healthy living; an Ayurvedic diet will help insure this balance, and with it a healthy and happy life!