Understanding Your Dosha

by Jessica Hunt

Ayurveda is a word in the Sanskrit language that translates to the science, or wisdom, of life. It is a consciousness based approach to healthcare helping to maintain balance and preserve health.

In Ayurveda, everything in the physical world is comprised of five elemental building blocks known as space, air, fire, water, and earth. Everything that exists in the external environment has its counterpart within each living being. Therefore, the characteristics of every substance we consume either serves to balance or aggravate the natural qualities of our constitutions. The three dosha types are vata, pitta, and kapha. Many people are not purely one dosha type, but fit predominately into one category and display secondary traits of another making up the body’s constitution.

What type are you?

Vata is comprised of air and space with characteristics that are cold, dry, and irregular. It is the energy of action, transportation, and movement in the body. Do you constantly lose your car keys, have trouble sleeping, or have a tendency to start things that you never finish? Then, you may fit into this category. Vata constitutions are generally thin with prominent bones or cracking joints, and tend to have dry skin. Vata predominant constitutions are usually intuitive and creative people, but are prone to worry and forgetfulness. They resist regularity, and often have higher energy levels with active minds. To avoid aggravation, refrain from overly stimulating activities, especially before bedtime.  Choose foods that are warm, moist, and heavy to calm, strengthen, and ground the body. Also, sticking to a routine will help maintain balance.

Pitta’s make-up is fire and water with hot, oily, and irritable characteristics. It is the energy of transformation and conversion in the body. Are you a list maker or prone to the occasional road rage? Then, you may have a pitta predominant body type.  The pitta body is generally of a medium build with strong muscles. Their personality and facial features are sharp. They tend to be good speakers, as well as highly motivated and persistent people. Pitta types are organized, punctual, and goal orientated. But, can also be stubborn, opinionated, and quick tempered. To maintain balance, avoid becoming overheated or participating in overly competitive activities.  Choose foods that are cool, heavy, and dry.

Kapha’s composition is water and earth with cold, wet, and stable qualities. It is the energy of construction, lubrication, and nourishment. Kapha is responsible for supporting the body’s structure and giving strength. Do you gain weight just by looking at food? Do you still remember your elementary school teacher’s name? Then, you likely have a kapha constitution. Kapha body types are sturdy with a round features. They tend to move slower, but have strong endurance and immune systems. They are natural athletes, but gain weight easily if they become inactive. Kapha constitutions are nurturing, peaceful, and good listeners. They have excellent memories, but become easily attached with a tendency towards living in the past. To maintain balance, stay active and avoid junk foods. Focus on a diet that is warm, light, and dry with the heaviest meal at lunchtime. Get moving and participate in activities that keep you in the present moment!

By understanding your dosha, you are given the tools to live in harmony with nature and in a state of balance.   When there is balance between your mind, body, and spirit, health and happiness are natural byproducts.