Nurturing your dosha
In the practice of Ayurveda, there are three main body-mind types, or doshas, which can be used to identify one’s constitution. Through an understanding of your dosha, you can create self-care routines that are unique to your needs.
The following descriptions can help you identify which dosha is predominant for you. Once you’ve identified your dosha, you can utilize the tips below to nurture your dosha and live a healthier, more balanced life!
Have you ever described someone as a “whirlwind?” More than likely, the person being referred to is predominantly Vata. A Vata person usually has a light frame, is often either very tall or very short, and generally has dark, dry, frizzy hair. Their skin is dry, cold to the touch, and is not smooth. They are prone to premature wrinkling, especially since they are sun worshippers and tend to be the ones with the darkest tan on the beach. Their dark eyes and lips are dry and small. They have a meager appetite along with an irregular diet and lifestyle. They are very creative and often very spiritual. They are quite accommodating to the needs of others and are very generous with their time, money, and anything else they can offer. When they are stressed out, fear and nervousness occur.
When the Either and Air elements are out of balance the skin shows signs of dehydration, flakiness, and wrinkles. In the body, one will experience joint pain, chills, gas, constipation, and lower back pain. The mind will be restless with anxiety, worry, and lack of focus. Many different factors disturb Vata, including stress, excess activity such as aerobics or constant travel, improper diet, the season of autumn, and especially an irregular routine.
Suggestions for a Vata balanced lifestyle
2. Warm water baths and steam baths
3. Low impact exercise and gentle yoga asanas (postures)
4. Eat a vata pacifying diet including sweet, sour, salty, and pungent foods. Limit bitter and astringent foods.
5. Self massage nightly with Sesame oil or Vata Pacifying Body Oil
6. Observe a regular routine every day
Food Guidelines for a Vata pacifying diet
Fruit: Sweet fruits including bananas, avocado, berries, kiwi, mangos, peaches, and all citrus fruits are most favorable.
Vegetables: Cooked vegetables such as asparagus, beets, carrots, green beans, and sweet potatoes are best. Avoid raw vegetables as in a salad.
Grains: Rice, cooked oats, and wheat keep vata in balance. Avoid barley, corn, and refined grains.
Legumes: In general, beans aggravate vata because of their dry, gas provoking quality. Limit intake of all beans except mung beans.
Dairy: Most dairies are acceptable, preferably when warm, but avoid yogurt as it is too astringent.
Spices: Heating spices such as Cinnamon, Clove, and Mustard are best, but in general, spices are great for Vata!
Everybody knows someone who has a real fiery attitude. This description perfectly fits a Pitta-predominant person. Pitta people have medium builds and tend to be on the muscular side. They have red, blond, or brown hair, and they are usually the first ones to die their hair red! They have combination skin with sensitivities to various allergens, and are most sensitive to the sun. Their eyes are lighter colors such as blue, green, and hazel, and both their eyes and lips are of medium proportion. Pitta has a voracious appetite, and if left without food can get grumpy rather quickly. They are the intellectuals, always thinking things out, asking many questions, and dishing out orders. In stressful situations, like high traffic, they get frustrated easily, honking their horn and yelling at other drivers. Pitta people are competitive, ambitious, and relentless.
When Pitta is out of balance, the skin will react with sensitivity, blotchy redness, and dry patches. Acne or eczema may also develop. In the body, one will experience inflammation, excess heat, high blood pressure, and insatiable hunger. The mind will be jealous, angry, and frustrated. A few of the things that cause Fire and Water elements to get out of balance are stress, over working, excess mental activity, improper diet, hot sunny weather, and the summer season in general.
Suggestions for a Pitta balanced lifestyle:
2. Practice Breathing exercises (often called Pranayama)
3. Do gentle yoga asanas, walks in nature
4. Eat a Pitta pacifying diet including sweet, bitter, salty, and astringent foods. Limit sour and pungent foods.
5. Nightly self massage with sunflower, coconut oil or Pitta Pacifying Body Oil
6. Scalp massage with Ajara's Coconut Jasmine Hair Oil, which contains cooling oils and the herb brahmi which is calming pitta and the mind.
Food Guidelines for a Pitta pacifying diet:
Fruit: Sweet fruits including avocado, berries, all melons, mangos, pears, sweet apples, oranges, and pomegranate are best.
Vegetables: Sweet and bitter vegetables such as asparagus, artichoke, broccoli, leafy greens, celery, mushrooms, peas, and squash are acceptable. Avoid chilies, onions, and mustard greens.
Grains: Barley, couscous, white rice, and wheat are most favorable. Avoid millet, corn, quinoa, and rye.
Legumes: In general, most beans are good. Avoid fermented beans like tempeh, miso, and soy sauce.
Dairy: Most dairies are ok, except aged cheese, sour cream, and yogurt
Spices: Cooling spices such as fresh basil, coriander, cumin, fennel, mint, and saffron. Avoid mustard, pepper, dried ginger and salt.
When a person “has both feet on the ground” or is “down to earth,” their primary dosha is probably Kapha. A Kapha person has a thicker build and tends to put on weight easily. They have a curvy body and are often slightly taller than average. Their hair is dark and thick with lustrous waves. Their skin is soft, oily, and cold to the touch. Their dark eyes are large and bright, and their teeth and lips are prominent as well. Kapha people have an average appetite, but tend to eat when not hungry, adding to their weight issues. They are usually very jovial and easy-going, and are very good with money.
When the Water and Earth elements are out of balance, it will manifest on the skin as excessive oiliness, blackheads, and acne. In the body, one will experience weight gain, congestion, and a dull sleepy feeling. The mind will have depression, greed, and attachment. Some of the causes of a Kapha imbalance consist of not enough activity or exercise, improper diet, cold winter weather, and seclusion.
Suggestions for a Kapha balanced lifestyle:
1. Lots of exercise
2. Warm, dry saunas and hot teas
3. Social activities
4. Eat a light, Kapha pacifying diet including bitter, sour, astringent, and pungent foods. Limit sweet and salty foods.
5. Daily exfoliation with a dry natural bristle bath brush or Garshana Gloves made of Raw Silk or Wool
Food Guidelines for a Kapha pacifying diet:
Fruit: Astringent fruit including apricot, cranberry, pear, apple, raisin, and pomegranate are best.
Vegetables: All vegetables, except cucumber, pumpkin, sweet potato, raw tomatoes, and zucchini are good.
Grains: Barley, corn, couscous, millet, and rye are acceptable. Avoid oats, rice, and wheat.
Legumes: Most beans are good, but avoid cold soy products and kidney beans.
Dairy: Limit dairy intake, but Kapha may use (in moderation) yogurt, sour cream and goat dairy products. Stay away from sweetened or very salty dairy in particular.
Spices: All spices are good, but salt should be limited to himalayan salt, or avoided altogether.