Chances are, unless you’ve been living under a rock in the twenty-first century, you’ve heard of holistic medicine and its many health benefits. Holistic medicine is a form of healing that considers the whole person—mind, body, spirit and emotions—for patient care and has become increasingly popular in the last twenty years, with more than one-third of patients in the United States
now choosing some form of integrative medicine as part of their healthy lifestyle approach. One of the most traditional of these approaches is known as Ayurveda and has been used in India for more than 5,000 years. Coming from the Sanskrit words for life (ayur) and knowledge (veda), Ayurveda literally translates to “the science of life” and embraces the philosophy that all of life’s ailments can be traced back to some sort of imbalance between the mind, body, spirit and environment. While more holistic approaches have officially entered the mainstream and have even become more readily accepted
by the more conventional medical community, Ayurveda still flies regrettably under public radar, despite a growing body of evidence that suggests its approach can rival that of even modern medicine
That’s why Ayurvedic lifestyle coaching is one of the core services I offer at Alpha Hearts—Because I believe that a healthy body is a balanced body; a healthy mind is a balanced mind
. Like myself, practitioners of Ayurveda believe that every person—nay, all of life—is made up of a balance between five basic elements found in the universe: space, air, fire, water and earth. In the human body, these elements are composed in the form of three different life forces, known as doshas, which consequently control or inform how the body works. They are: Vata (air and space), Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (water and earth). Believed to be established at conception
, every person is made up of some unique combination of all three, with just one of them usually being stronger than the others. This dominant dosha will have a dramatic effect not only on how each unique individual is balanced, but how each unique individual is inclined to navigate their thoughts, desires and actions on this earth.
Curious about what your own predominant dosha might be? There are many tests available online to help you find out, like this one from Yoga International
. And while you may not be able to take a test that can break down your exact combination of life forces that make up your unique equilibrium, you can use the results of your predominant dosha to get you started on your journey toward restoring your balance, understanding yourself and living your best life.
Read on to find out more about your specific type below:
The Vata type is characterized by qualities reflecting elements of space and air. Considered the most powerful of the three doshas, the Vata dosha governs movement and other processes of the nervous system. As a Vata type, you are most likely thin or slight of frame. You crave excitement and are open to new experiences. When in balance, you are creative, lively and fun to be around, an excellent conversationalist and adaptable to change. You eat warm, cooked, moist foods and dress in layers. When out of balance, you are anxious, irritable and experience insomnia and indigestion. A person of the Vata type should prioritize meditation, rest and a regular routine.
The Pitta type is characterized by qualities reflecting elements of fire and water. It is thought to control the emotions of anger, hate and jealousy and has a large effect on the functions of digestion, metabolism, intelligence and skin color. As a Pitta type, you are most likely of medium size and shape with a healthy appetite and regular digestion. When in balance, you are quick witted—a great teacher, thinker and speaker. You have an active sex drive and laugh a lot. You favor cool sweet foods and avoid acidic ones. When out of balance, you are short-tempered, argumentative and may experience indigestion, ulcers and even skin rashes. A person of the Pitta type should prioritize stability and restoration, preferably by spending time in nature.
The Kapha type is characterized by qualities reflecting elements of water and earth and controls the physical structure of the body as well as the immune system. Emotional responses governed by the Kapha dosha include calmness, forgiveness, love and greed. As a Kasha type, you have a strong build and high endurance and most likely enjoy regular sleep and predictable digestion. You tend to be thoughtful and naturally compassionate. When in balance, you are a good friend. You’re loyal, patient and sentimental. You avoid sweeteners and dairy and eat lots of vegetables. When out of balance, you are set in your ways and resistant to change, your space is cluttered, your life’s momentum is stagnant and you may not be able to let go of relationships or things that are no longer good for you. A Kapha type should prioritize stimulation and clarity—both in their physical space and their emotional mind.
Only when mind, body and spirit are in balance is a person at optimal health, but understanding how each individual person is uniquely designed at the molecular level to achieve that balance is critical. Without it, a person may experience physical illness, depression, digestive issues or environmental sensitivities, just to name a few. This has only been an introduction to Ayurveda and the three doshas, but if you are ready to put in the work then you are already on your way toward radical self transformation and truth. Because when you begin to study the science of life, you really begin to study your self, your deepest, truest self. I hope you stay the course.
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