The principle medical system of India is known as Ayurveda and is over 5,000 years old. This "Science of Life" is considered the art of living in harmony with nature. In Ayurvedic philosophy, people, their health, and the universe are all thought to be related. It is believed that health problems can result when these relationships are out of balance. The goal of Ayurveda is to integrate and balance the body, mind, and spirit. This is believed to help prevent illness and promote wellness.
Developed from the ancient text of The Vedas, Ayurveda views the human body as a homunculus of our cosmic Universe, regulated by the balance between three primordial humours, call dosha.
Your dosha is your Ayurveda mind & body type. There are three doshas in Ayurveda: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. We each have all three of the doshas in our physiology, just in different proportions, so your dosha is unique and personal; it is like your fingerprint.
- Each dosha is made up of one or two of the five basic elements: space, air, fire, water, and earth.
- Each dosha has a particular relationship to body functions and can be upset for different reasons.
- A person has her own balance of the three doshas, although one dosha usually is prominent. Doshas are constantly being formed and reformed by food, activity, and bodily processes.
- Each dosha is associated with a certain body type, a certain personality type, and a greater chance of certain types of health problems.
An imbalance in a dosha will produce symptoms that are related to that dosha and are different from symptoms of an imbalance in another dosha. Imbalances may be caused by an unhealthy lifestyle or diet, too much or too little mental and physical exertion, or not being properly protected from the weather, chemicals, or germs.
Determine Your Dosha
The following test will give you a good idea of the levels of your doshas. We have to remember that everyone has all three doshas, but in varying degrees. After reading each description, mark 0 to 7 in the space provided. Note that values 2 and 5 are not assigned at all (don't use them).
0, 1 = Does not apply
3, 4 = Applies sometimes
6, 7 = Applies most of the time
Evaluating My Vata
1.My physique is thin - I don't gain weight easily.___
2. I am quick and active. ___
3.My skin is usually dry, more so in winter.___
4.My hands and feet are usually cold.___
5.My energy fluctuates and comes in bursts.___
6. I usually develop gas or constipation.___
7. I usually have difficulty falling asleep or having a sound night's sleep.___
8. I am uncomfortable in cold weather.___
Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Attributes
9.My nature is lively and enthusiastic.___
10. I have difficulty memorizing things and remembering them later.___
11.It is easy for me to learn new things quickly, but I also forget quickly.___
12. I am not good at making decisions.___
13. I am anxious or worrisome by nature.___
14. People think I'm talkative and that I talk quickly.___
15. I am usually emotional by nature and my moods fluctuate.___
16. My mind is restless, but also imaginative.___
17. I have irregular eating and sleeping habits.___
Total Vata: ___
Evaluating My Pitta
1. I don't tolerate hot weather. ___
2. I sweat easily.___
3. I can't tolerate delaying or skipping a meal.___
4.My hair is fine, straight, light, blonde, red, graying early, or balding. ___
5.My appetite is very good and I can eat big meals.___
6.My bowel movements are regular. I might have occasional loose stool but not much constipation.___
7. I like cold drinks and such foods as ice cream.___
8. I often feel hot.___
9.Spicy, hot foods upset my stomach.___
Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Attributes
10.I consider myself efficient.___
11. I try to be organized and accurate.___
12. I have a strong will and my friends think I am stubborn. ___
13. I am impatient by nature.___
14. I tend to become irritable or angry quite easily.___
15. I try to be meticulous and am a perfectionist by nature.___
16. I get angry easily, but I don't hold a grudge.___
17. I am usually critical of myself and others.___
Total Pitta: ___
Evaluating My Kapha
1.It is easy for me to gain weight but difficult to lose.___
2. Skipping meals is easy for me and does not cause any problems.___
3. I tend to have congestion, mucus, or sinus problems.___
4. I'm a sound sleeper.___
5. I have thick, oily, dark, wavy hair.___
6.My skin is smooth and soft with an almost pale complexion.___
7.My body frame is large and solid with a heavy bone structure.___
8.My digestion is slow, so I feel full after eating.___
9. I have a steady energy level with good endurance and strong stamina.___
10. I'm sensitive to cool and damp weather. ___
Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Attributes:
11. I tend to be slow, methodical, and relaxed.___
12. I need to sleep a minimum of eight hours to feel well the next morning.___
13.By nature I am calm and composed. I don't get angry easily.___
14. I am not a quick learner but I am good at memorizing things and remembering them later.___
15.Many people consider me affectionate, forgiving, and peaceful.___
16.I usually oversleep and have difficulty waking up the next morning. ___
17.I am very reluctant to take on new responsibilities.___
Total Kapha: ___
My total scores are: Vata_____, Pitta_____, Kapha_____.
I am ________ first, ________ second, and ________ third.
Prakruti: Your Constitution
Your constitution is an energetic force that expresses itself through your own unique genetic make-up. It determines the physical and structural characteristics that define your body and your internal physiological tendencies such as level of your metabolism, strength of your digestive system.
Prakruti defines your natural state and your potential. Inherent ideal balance of the 3 doshas within your body is determined at conception and does not change throughout your lifetime.
We determine Prakruti by our most stable factors such as physical structure, nature of voice and the basic personality. One's Prakruti does not by definition produce symptoms, only tendencies. Your constitution also affects, but is not the only factor in determining your emotional tendencies and the expression of your personality
Every living creature has all 3 doshas within them. There is an infinite number of combinations and permutations with no two people being exactly the same. It is important to remember that no cell of the body can exist without all 3 doshas.
Vikruti: The Nature of Imbalance
Healing is the process of returning the Vikruti to the state of Prakruti. The word dosha literally means "that which has a fault," a system that is quick to change. Ayurveda is the pursuit of balance. To achieve this we must know our own constitution, the nature of the disease and the nature of the remedies. Often your dominant dosha will be the one that becomes imbalanced, but this is not always so. Vata is often affected because of our fast-paced lifestyle, changing jobs, relationships and living location. Our competitive culture also leads to Pitta imbalance. So our Vikruti is our current dosha state or our natural state of imbalance.
Dosha Make Up
Vata Dosha (Air and Ether)
* This is the dynamic "kinetic" principle necessary to mobilize anything from electron to a galaxy. Air is the representative in an abstract sense.
* Force within the body responsible for all motion.
* Light, cold, dry, mobile, subtle and rough.
* Its roots are in the Large Intestine.
* Prevalent in the pelvic cavity, pores of the bones, skin, ears, and the thighs
* Primary symptom is pain and any abnormal excess of motion (i.e. twitching, rapid breathing, rapid heart rate etc.)
* Other symptoms include emaciation, debility, tremors, coldness, constipation, distention, insomnia, disorientation, incoherent speech, dizziness, confusion, depression, hyperactivity and pain.
* Vata individuals are prone to diseases of the neurological system especially motor functions, mostly affecting the lower limbs and are also more pronounced during old age. Some of these diseases are tetany, wasting disorders (muscular atrophy), spasms, hemiplegia, convulsions, headache, insomnia, angina (hridgraha), dysuria, rheumatism (amavatha), osteoporosis (asthisosha), fissures on palm and soles (vipaadika), swelling and stiffness of the thighs (urushthambha), brachial palsy (avabahuka).
* Its main functions in the body is the absorption and circulation of nutrients, and the excretion of waste (the by product of metabolism).
Pitta Dosha (Predominantly Fire with a small amount of Water)
* This is the thermal, explosive force behind the ability to transform everything. Sun is the representative.
* The force within the body responsible for digestion and metabolism, heat, light, slightly oily, unstable and sharp.
* Its roots are in the lower half of the stomach and the small intestine and also the blood, eyes, skin, sweat glands, liver and spleen.
* Primary symptom is fever and any excess heat in the body.
* Other symptoms include yellow coloring, hunger, thirst, burning sensations, difficult sleep, fever, bleeding and excess discharges of sweat or urine.
* Pitta individuals are prone to diseases of the digestive and metabolic systems. The diseases mostly affect the abdomen and the areas between the breast and umbilicus. Pitta disorders are pronounced in middle age and express as intense localized burning sensation, stomatitis, acid regurgitation, jaundice, bleeding disorders, bluish discoloration of the skin.
* Its main function is regulating metabolism and the production of cellular energy.
Kapha Dosha (Water and Earth)
* This is the cohesion that holds everything together with its electro-magnetic and gravitational forces.
* Force behind the structure and stability of the body
* Heavy, cold, moist, static, smooth and soft
* Its roots is in the upper half of the stomach (mucous) and also the chest, head, plasma and in all of the liquids of the body (synovial membranes of the joints)
* Primary symptom is swelling but also weight gain, and excessive mucous production.
* Other symptoms include nausea, lethargy, heaviness of body and mind, white coloring, sallow complexion, chills, congestion, excessive sleeping.
* Kapha individuals are prone to disorders of the respiratory system especially phlegm disorders. The diseases affect the upper parts of the body such as the chest and above. These disorders are more prone during early age as seen during childhood. Disorders such as drowsiness, excessive sleep, obesity, swelling of the neck (galaganda), thick skin eruptions, congestion of the chest with phlegm, polyuira.
* Its main function is the structure of the cell, cell membranes and organelles.
Healing is the process of returning the Vikruti to the state of Prakruti. Ayurveda is the pursuit of balance. To achieve this we must know our own constitution, the nature of the disease and the nature of the remedies.
Cleansing the mind, body and spirit are the basic protocol for healing overall. Based on your dosha imbalance, remedies abound. Food plays a large part in bringing the body back to healthy digestion, good bowel movements and maintaining your idea weight. Panchakarma is a process used to clean the body of toxic waste materials left by poor nutrition and disease. Panchakarma involves daily massages and oil baths for cleansing and detoxing. Home remedies with herbs and aromatherapy oils are other wonderful ways to bring balance to your dosha excesses or deficiencies.