The foundation of Ayurvedic wellness and healing is the knowledge that well-being is not a 'one size fits all' proposition. One must honour the unique nature of each person and their environment. With Ayurveda we can develop a greater understanding of ourselves by learning about the three dosha’s: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These doshas rule our physical and emotional processes and offer every living being with a discrete blueprint for well-being. Doshas are derived from the five elements of nature and their allied properties, in which Vata is composed of space and air, Pitta of fire and water and Kapha of earth and water.
Ayurveda states that as long as we live in harmony with our Ayurvedic personality, we will stay healthy. Since we are most vulnerable to imbalances associated with our doshas, having an understanding of these concepts is vital.
Vata dosha (Wind energy): Inspired by the elements like space and air, Vata dosha is known as the kinetic energy and it creates movement in our bodily processes as well as in our thoughts. When balanced Vata types are vibrant, enthusiastic and active with the natural capability to express and communicate well. They can be the life of a party, are out-of-the-box thinkers and are always full of new ideas.
But in case of a vata imbalance, they can become impulsive, depict mood swings and respond to stress with anxiety. People of Vata body type have a lean body frame with prominent joints and veins. Since the air element embodies movement, dryness, and cold, it reflects in their physical features. Hence the Vata type skin and hair can be dry and rough. This quality of dryness makes the Vata type prone to stiff and cracking joints or arthritis. It also impacts the digestive system, making them prone to dry stools or constipation. As the wind likes to move, Vata people have tendency to move from one thing to another and like to multi-task.
A few ways to balance Vata is by following a disciplined routine to ensure the Vata person gives enough time to one task before moving on to the other. Eating warm food with healthy fats can help counter the dryness and lightness created by the air element. Focusing on grounding principles like Hatha Yoga can help to balance the space element.
Pitta Dosha (Fire energy): Pitta is fire and water and signifies the body’s metabolic and digestive capacity. When balanced pitta types are intelligent and depict the emotions of courage, determination, joy and willpower. They can quickly grasp situations and react with agility. Considered to be good orators, they possess excellent management and leadership skills, are usually competitive by nature and enjoy taking up challenges. Pitta controls the body’s digestive process these types have a strong metabolism and digestion and hence end up having a strong appetite.
In case of a pitta imbalance they depict emotions like anger and become irritable, aggressive and very self-critical. Those with Pitta dosha usually have a medium height and have a delicate and slender body frame with moderate muscle development. They are prone to ulcers, indigestion and inflammation.
Pitta can be balanced by consuming pacifying diets with bitter, astringent, sweet flavours alongside balancing activity and rest. All standing forward bends and heart opening yoga postures like Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) and Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) can help to balance pitta.
Kapha Dosha (Water energy): Kapha is based on earth and water. People with this dosha are strong and compassionate. Kapha’s nature is to bind things together, therefore Kapha people are very good support system for others. They are grounded, rarely get upset, think before acting, and go through life in a deliberate manner. Some other strengths of Kapha dominant people include, being empathetic, trust-worthy and patient.
Since earth likes to stay, being stable and grounded reflects in their personality trait. However, when there is a kapha imbalance, they can stagnate or become rigid and may face obesity and congestive issues. They are a little larger in build, with thick lustrous skin and good muscle development.
Kapha can benefit from establishing a regular sleep routine, following a plant-based diet, and eating warm foods. Kapha people can engage in more strenuous exercises and vinyasa style of yoga but they should build their capacity gradually.
(The writer is a Yoga and Ayurveda Lifestyle Specialist, Founder – Yoganama)