What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is the sister Science to Yoga. It is a holistic system to balance the body and mind in order to achieve optimal health and homeostasis. It is the oldest medical system documented, estimated to be over 5-10 thousand years old. Ayurveda is founded on the belief that everything is made up of 5 elements; earth, water, fire, air and ether/space. According to this ancient holistic science, our bodies and mind function with all of these elements daily. In Ayurveda there are specific combinations of theses elements called Doshas or constitution that are dominant in individuals. There are 3 Doshas or Constitutions; Vata, Pitta and Kapha. It is the belief that we are born with a dominant Dosha(s) and the art or science of Ayurveda is to ensure these Doshas are in balance with the fluctuations of external influences.
Vata: Air and Ether
Influences creativity and imagination. Qualities are rough, light, cold, coarse, sharp and mobile. Physical Characteristics thin, delicate bone structure, low body fat, hard to gain weight. Personality Traits Tends to be spacey yet creative. Could benefit from some structure to focus the imagination.
Influences happiness, pleasure, ambition and drive. Qualities are oily, irritating, light, strong, strong smell, hot and fluid. Physical Characteristics medium body frame, well proportioned, prone toward muscularity, easily overheated. Personality Traits leadership traits, takes control and initiative. Could benefit from calming techniques when overheated or under stress.
Kapha: Water and Earth
Influences intelligence, knowledge and enthusiasm. Qualities are cold, heavy, very oily, smooth and tender.Physical Characteristics larger body type, not necessarily overweight, gains weight easily, holds fat and water, strong, great powerful athlete when in shape.Personality Traits loyal and reliable. Could benefit from techniques to motivate like setting goals.
How to Balance Your Dosha
There are many factors to consider when trying to balance your dosha(s). First you have to consider if your Dosha(s) is in or out of balance which requires awareness and/or have a consultation with a trained Ayurevedic Doctor. Balancing your diet according to your Dosha(s) based on Ayurevedic principles is one of the best way to maintain or improve your overall health. There are many quizzes you can find online to learn what your constitution is, however, once again the most accurate way to find out your dominant Dosha(s) is to see a trained Ayurevedic Doctor. For more more information check out Vasant Lad or Dr. John Doulliard who have written many books on the subject as well offering online resources.