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ayurveda-doshas

Know your Doshas

Written by , December 12, 2017 in Ayurveda

In Ayurveda, body constitution can be thought of as the natural form of the body with some specific physical and mental qualities. This constitution is called Prakruthi, which is based on the balance of the Tridoshas namely, Vata, Kapha and Pitta. Doshas are the energies that make up every individual, which perform different physiological functions in the body. But when the body interacts with the environment, this balance is disturbed and if not taken care, it will lead to illness. This imbalance or difference from the original body constitution is called Vikruthi.

Knowing one’s Prakruthi and Vikruthi is the first step towards a healthy life. Daily and seasonal regimens have to be followed depending on one’s physical constitution. With this knowledge you can adapt your lifestyle and food habits and thus have better chances of staying fit and ensure well being on all levels of mind and body and spiritual well being.

VATA DOSHA

Vata dosha is the leader of the doshas and it is important to keep it in balance. Vata governs all the movements in the body and the mind, including breathing, blood flow and even thoughts.

The physical characteristics of a Vata body in balance include thin and low bodyweight, dry, cold and rough skin, active body who likes physical activities, either too tall or too short and small dry and active eyes.

When out of balance, the body suffers from irregular digestion, constipation, loss of appetite and subsequent weight loss, is prone to hypertension and has disturbed/poor sleep.

The emotional characteristics of a balanced Vata body include being energetic, innovative, flexible and short memory but quick to understand. When out of balance, the person may be worried and restless, show general fatigue, be stressed and anxious, intolerant and have low confidence.

How to Balance the Vata Dosha :
A proper diet and lifestyle can help combat the imbalance in Vata dosha. Balanced Vata is all about incorporating warmth, stability and consistency in your body, mind and life as a whole.

Diet: In order to deal with the imbalance in Vata dosha, Ayurveda recommends specific diet, permitting certain kind of food while avoiding certain others. These include:
Dairy: All dairy products are acceptable
Sweeteners: All sweeteners in moderate quantity are acceptable
Fruits: Sweet fruits like apricots, avocados, bananas, cherries, coconut, fresh fig, mangoes are recommended. Avoid apples, pomegranates, cranberries and any unripe fruit.
Vegetables: Always prefer cooked vegetables, especially asparagus, beets, carrots, cucumber, radish etc. Avoid cabbage, sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, celery etc.
Oils: All oils especially sesame and olive oil are acceptable.
Spices: Prefer sweet and/or heating herbs like anise, asafetida, basil, thyme etc. Minimize bitter and astringent spices like coriander, fenugreek, parsley, saffron etc.
Meat: It is acceptable to have chicken, seafood and turkey in very limited quantities. Avoid read meat.

Lifestyle: The foremost step is to calm your mind with meditation. A moderate, relaxing exercising routine like walking, swimming and yoga should be followed. Having meals regularly and going to bed early is important. Warmth in food, clothes and touch (of loved ones) is inevitable.
An Ayurvedic massage each day before bath is recommended to pamper dry skin and improve blood circulation in the body. Daily elimination of waste from the body is important. Triphala is an effective remedy to avoid constipation.
Always protect yourself from cold and wind with proper clothing. Stay warm and comfortable throughout the year.

PITTA DOSHA

Pitta dosha is the flawless balance of two superficially contrasting elemental qualities: fire and water. The Pitta dosha controls heat, digestion, metabolism, and energy production. One of the vital functions of Pitta dosha is to facilitate transformations in the mind and the body.

The physical characteristics of a Pitta body include medium height and weight, warm body temperatures, strong appetite and excellent digestion and bright and lustrous complexion.

When out of balance, the body suffers from rashes on the skin, excessive sweating, heartburn and indigestion leading to peptic ulcers and premature greying and thinning of hair.

The emotional characteristics of in-balance body include a sharp mind, ambitious, perfectionist, energetic, charming, charismatic and being quick and a good decision maker. When out of balance, they can be short tempered, argumentative, easily frustrated, impatient, intolerant and resentful.

How to Balance Pitta Dosha:
The predominant qualities of Pitta dosha are hot, oily, sharp and liquid. In order to balance Pitta dosha, the opposing qualities namely coolness, calmness and moderation are important. Hence, the lifestyle and food should incorporate the cooling elements and should be limited in quantity.

Diet: For Pitta balance, always choose cooling foods – both energetically and in temperature. Dry foods (not oily) which are naturally sweet, bitter or astringent are recommended.
Dairy: Milk, butter and ghee help balance Pitta dosha. Avoid yoghurt, cheese and sour cream as they have a sour taste. Consume milk one hour before/after a meal and never with the meal.
Sweeteners: Consume naturally sweet food and other natural sweeteners except honey and molasses. Fruits: Sweet fruits like grapes, avocadoes, melons, cherries, coconut are beneficial. Minimize the consumption of sour fruits like grapefruit, papaya, unripe pineapple etc.
Oils: Coconut and sunflower oil are considered excellent. Minimize almond, sesame and olive oil. Vegetable: Prefer cucumber, green leafy vegetable, cauliflower, broccoli, pumpkin etc. Reduce Chilly, tomato, onions, garlic and radish as they aggravate Pitta dosha.
Spices: Cinnamon, coriander, fennel and cardamom are cooling spices. Reduce ginger, fenugreek, clove, mustard cumin etc., which are strong in flavor.
Meat: Avoid red meat, highly processed food especially deep fried eatables.
Minimize caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and other stimulants.

Lifestyle: A daily routine is important for all the activities like eating, sleeping working etc. Relaxation is essential to balance Pitta dosha to ensure the mind and body stays cool and calm. A daily massage for 10-15 minutes with warm oil is recommended. A regular and relaxing walk through the nature can be very beneficial as well as some moderate exercises like yoga, swimming and biking is very helpful. Wearing light and natural clothing with soothing colors like white, blue and green is favored.

With the recommended dietary and lifestyle changes, Pitta dosha can be balanced leading to a wholesome and healthy life. So, start today and live your life to the fullest every day!

KAPHA DOSHA

Kapha dosha is believed to hold the body together, providing structure and stability. It also lubricates the mind and the body- the brain, the joints, the lungs and the protective lining in the stomach. Kapha is primarily found in the stomach, but a part of it is found in the head, chest, throat and even in the pancreas.

The physical characteristics of a Kapha body include strong build and bones, thick, radiant skin and hair, great immunity and excellent stamina, proper digestion and sound sleep.

When out of balance, the body suffers from weight accumulation, congestion, lethargy, depression and excessive sleep.

The emotional characteristics include being calm and thoughtful, loyal, reliable, patient, slow and steady and willful. The negative characteristics include the inability to let go irrelevant things, thoughts and relationships, resistance to change, stubbornness, possessiveness and being complacent.

How to Balance Kapha Dosha:
Kapha dosha can be pacified with stimulations that incorporate anything light, hot and movable. The key is to keep your body warm and avoid any kinds of dampness that aggravates Kapha.

Diet: Kapha imbalance can be managed effectively with an appropriate diet. Since Kapha dosha aggravates with cold and stale food, always consume warm, dry and light food. It is recommended to have freshly cooked warm food rather than stale, reheated processed food. Pungent, bitter and astringent tastes are advocated than salty, sweet or sour tastes.
Dairy: Kapha dosha requires minimum dairy intake. Goat milk and ghee can be consumed in moderation.
Sweeteners: Honey is very beneficial, but reduce other sweeteners.
Fruits: Astringent fruits like apples, strawberries, pomegranate and dry fruits are recommended.
Vegetables: beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, radish, carrots, eggplants and other vegetables which are bitter and pungent can be consumed.
Oils: All oils in moderation are good for Kapha dosha.
Spices: Most of the spices are hot and dry, hence beneficial for the Kapha dosha.
Meat: White meat like chicken, turkey and fresh water fish, shrimp and rabbit is recommended.
Avoid nuts as they are oily.

Lifestyle: A sedentary lifestyle magnifies and worsens the Kapha dosha. Hence, always get up and get going. Getting involved in in stimulating activities like vigorous exercises (in limited amount) like Cycling, running aerobics and dancing is highly beneficial. It is important to maintain warmth in the body and in the food consumed (avoid cold stale food).

A Kapha body benefits from waking up early in the morning and avoiding mid-day naps. It helps to avoid clutter in life and space by de-cluttering unwanted things and undesirable thoughts. The use of bright and warm colors like red, yellow or orange is helpful. It is also important to explore and experience new things in life and motivating oneself.

An improved understanding and effective implementation of the above steps can help you balance Kapaha dosha easily.


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