Ayurveda

Clean your mind and body through ancient wisdom.

According to the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, the five elements of space, air, earth, fire, and water make up everything in the universe including the human body. These elements come together to create three different constitutional types or doshas known as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. … Many people are a combination of two doshas.

Characteristics of Vata Type:

  • Light, thin build
  • Performs activities and walks quickly
  • Irregular hunger
  • Poor sleeper
  • Enthusiasm, vivaciousness, imagination
  • Excitability, changing moods
  • Quick to learn new information, but forgetful
  • Tendency to worry and overexert
  • Tires easily
  • Mental and physical energy comes in bursts
  • Imbalances associated with vata: accidents, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, asthma, brittle bones, gas, pain

Characteristics of Pitta Type:

  • Medium build and strength
  • Sharp hunger and thirst; strong digestion
  • Tendency to become angry or irritable under stress
  • Fair or ruddy skin, often freckled, with light or red hair
  • Enterprising character, likes challenges
  • Sharp intellect
  • Precise, articulate speech
  • Imbalances associated with pitta: heart conditions, skin rashes, blood and liver problems, acid indigestion

Characteristics of Kapha Type:

  • Solid, powerful build and strength
  • Steady energy; slow and graceful in action
  • Relaxed personality; not easily angered
  • Cool, smooth, thick, pale, and often oily skin
  • Slow to learn new information, but has a good memory
  • Heavy sleeper
  • Tendency toward obesity; seeks emotional comfort from eating
  • Slow digestion, mild hunger
  • Affectionate, tolerant, forgiving
  • Tendency to be possessive, complacent
  • Slow to make decisions; mulls things over
  • Imbalances associated with Kapha: obesity, depression, cancerous growths, asthma, diabetes

Each dosha has it’s own qualities. Vata is like wind; it controls movement (its qualities are cold, dry, light, mobile, and erratic). Pitta is like fire; it controls metabolism (its qualities are hot, sharp, light, and oily). And kapha is like earth; it controls structure (its qualities are cool, moist, stable, heavy, and dense). Every cell in your body contains all three of these doshas.

Just to stay alive, you need Vataor motion, to breathe, circulate blood, move food through the digestive tract, think and send nerve impulses to and from the brain. You need pittaor metabolism, to process food, air, and water throughout your body. And you need Kaphaor structure, to form muscle, fat, bone, and tendons and ligaments.

According to Aryuveda, we’re all made up of three different energies. While most of us tend to have an abundance of one or two of the doshas, they fluctuate according to your environment, diet, the seasons, the climate, your age, and other factors. When the doshas are out of balance, it can affect your health, energy level, and mood. Ayurveda teaches us how to adjust our diet, self-care practices, supplements, meditation, and exercise each season to balance the doshas and stay healthy and energetic all year long.

Ayurveda believes in five elements: earth, fire, water, air and ether or space. These elements form everything from the taste of food, to the changing seasons, to our unique individual constitution. These five elements also combine together to form the three vital doshas.

Vata is a combination of air and space.
Pitta is a combination of fire and water.
Kapha is a combination of water and earth.

An Ayurvedic principle says: like increases like, while opposites balance. So to balance a particular dosha, we must cultivate the qualities opposite to the dosha(s) we are trying to balance. For example, if we have too much air in us, we need more fire and earth.  To achieve this, we then assess everything from the food we eat, to our daily routine, through the lens of the doshas.

It takes a lot of self-awareness, mindfulness, and discipline to start to make the shifts that truly do help us to experience more balance.  But we have to start somewhere! Here are some practical suggestions to balance each of the doshas. (as studied by Insiya Rasiwala-Fin, Ayurvedic practioner)

To Balance Vata:

Practice a routine. Vata loves spontaneity which can further throw it out of balance.  Create a disciplined routine around waking up, sleeping and eating your meals. Eat meals at the same time daily, wake early before sunrise,  and sleep by 10 p.m. to balance your hormones and endocrine system.

Minimize time spent on your tech devices. Turn everything off 1 hour before bedtime. This will help to calm the nervous system which is impacted by Vata.

Eat seasonally. In the winter, abstain from eating raw veggies and smoothies as they increase vata. Favor warm spiced soups and stews, cooked fruits and warm grains for breakfast and spiced, warm milks.

Slow down the pace of your life. Avoid multi-tasking and create boundaries regarding answering emails and the phone.  Choose one thing and do it slowly.  This will increase your focus and productivity.

Slow down your workout. Avoid too many quick sports such as running.  Instead, go for a sustained, longer walk out in nature. Try a slower paced yoga class.

To Balance Pitta:

Minimize coffee.Coffee is a pitta aggravating drink.  If you do drink coffee drink it with milk, which helps to cool the acidic heat of coffee.

Eat cooling foods. Grains such as cream of wheat and oats will bring cooling sustenance to your fire.  Eat leafy green salads and avoid too much red meat, which is also pitta provoking.

Practice sports without a competitive mindset.Challenge yourself physically but look at the entire practice as a journey, not a destination, so you can stay calm and still enjoy yourself. Stay away from hot yoga or any activities in a heated environment.

Dedicate your work to a higher cause. Cultivating an attitude of service will help ease your perfectionism and ego while allowing you to give back to others.

Indulge in a little self-care. Enjoy a bath with lavender and rose oils to soothe your soul.

To Balance Kapha:

Commit to daily exercise. Kapha needs to sweat in order to move excess Kapha out, and can endure stronger exercise such as long distance running, weights and vigorous yoga. You can also sustain some heat as Kapha tends to run cold.

Create more spontaneity in your life. Commit to trying one new thing every month, so you step outside your comfort zone and don’t spend too many nights on your couch.

Minimize dairy and carbs such as wheat in your diet. Instead eat grains such as quinoa, millet and barley which are lighter on the body.  Eat lots of vegetables, less meat. Add warming spices such as ginger, cinnamon and black pepper to your food and use only raw honey as a sweetener to your foods and tea.

Try dry brushing. Adding dry brushing to your daily routine after your shower will stimulate the lymphatic system.

The Benefits of Balancing our Doshas

Ultimately, says Ayurveda, we inhabit this lifetime to carry out a specific purpose.  If we are able to stay healthy, we are able to fulfill our calling with more ease, vitality and bliss. And the more we can do to balance our constitution, the easier it is for us to stay truly healthy from the inside out.