03/03/2020 Mind-Body Health
Are you mostly Vata, Pitta, or Kapha? (If you don’t know, we have a quick quiz to help!) Once you know your dosha, Ayurvedic teachings can help you stay balanced with exercise, food, money, and more.
Have you ever wondered why the latest diets seem to work for everyone but you? Or have you observed two people handle the exact same situation with completely different emotional responses? Viewing the world through an Ayurvedic lens can shed light on why certain diets, experiences, and environments bring health and happiness to one person but do little for another.
According to Ayurveda, there are five different elements that form the foundation of all matter, including your body and mind. Though each person’s specific mix of elements is individualized, there are still predictable elemental combinations that have come be known simply as the doshas. The three main doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) express in a person’s body, emotions, mind, and intellect in varying ways. By understanding your primary dosha, you can gain valuable insight into the best ways to utilize your natural strengths and enhance well-being on every level. The following are seven specific ways that knowing your unique dosha can be of benefit.
1. Allows You to Customize Dietary Choices for Optimal Health
Understanding your dosha affords you the opportunity to select foods that balance your elemental constitution. Food selection becomes a pathway to optimal health when one redirects focus from the manipulation of carbohydrate, fat, and protein percentages to the consumption of foods that harmonize accumulated elements in the physical constitution. Eating in this way frees you from any confusion resulting from the vast array of conflicting dietary plans. Knowing your dosha and eating to balance its elements increases vitality, energy, strength, and health.
2. Identifies Origins of Emotional Responses (and How to Tame Them)
Are you hot-headed, cool and aloof, or stuck in a rut? These phrases are not simply colloquial expressions. They point to a deeper principle of emotional and elemental connection. According to Ayurveda, if the elements in your dosha accumulate they will appear not only in the physical nature but in the emotional nature as well.
For example, if the fire element rises, anger, irritability, and other “fiery” behaviors may surface. If the air and space elements increase, anxiety, worry, and overwhelm may take over the mind. When earth and water elements increase one is likely to feel depressed, stuck, or unmotivated. Knowing that emotions are often just expressions of accumulated doshas allows you to work on creating elemental balance so that you can keep your equilibrium.
3. Creates Greater Understanding of Financial Predilections
Money is energy and believe it or not, the elements of your dosha may contribute to the way in which you spend it. Vata types tend to bring their air and space elements into the financial domain by lightly holding onto money, spending quickly, and losing focus on long-term financial goals. In other words, for Vata individuals, money may leave as quickly as it comes.
Pittas, on the other hand, are planners. They tend to spend money on practicalities, self-development, and planned luxuries.
Kaphas lean toward holding onto money and saving for rainy days. Though Kapha types are good savers, in excess they may be construed as misers. Knowing your doshas can give you insight into your relationship with money. Better yet, pacifying accumulations within your dosha can inform your monetary choices so that they, too, become balanced and harmonious.
4. Reveals the Most Restorative Ways to Spend Your Leisure Time
Have you ever attended an event with someone and found that the activity filled their bucket but left yours drained? The ways in which you best receive self-care are directly linked to your dosha. Knowing your current doshic imbalance (vikruiti) allows you to select leisure activities based upon which ones are most beneficial to your current physical and emotional state.
Vata energies will appreciate fireside chats and tree-studded hikes while Pitta types will likely prefer social gatherings and ocean dips. Those with strong Kapha tendencies may benefit from motivational and movement-based activities. Whatever your dosha, by tailoring leisure activities toward its balance, you will achieve a higher restorative yield from the hours devoted to self-renewal.
5. Offers a Nurturing Approach to Beauty
Skincare, like diet, can be individualized for dosha balancing. You are not separate from the nourishment that you put in and on your body. When you understand the properties of your dosha and how those express through the skin, you can topically supply the elements needed to enhance skin health. The end result is not only skin that performs its job as a barrier from pollutants and toxins, but also skin that is radiant from the inside out.
For example, the nature of Vata is dry, thus, making absorbable hydration of paramount importance when providing skin nourishment. Pitta skin tends toward aggravation and redness, requiring a focus on calming, soothing ingredients. Kapha skin needs stimulation to facilitate the removal of toxins. Familiarizing yourself with your dosha is a great way to launch your conscious beauty regimen and customize your skincare routine.
6. Provides the Ideal Template for Creating a Balanced Exercise Program
Different doshas have varying needs when it comes to exercise. Knowing your dosha allows you to customize your workouts for maximum benefits. Vata types tend to have thin, light body frames and benefit greatly from strengthening exercises. Pitta individuals lean toward a strong physique and are natural athletes who enjoy pushing their bodies. While physical intensity can help Pittas to release excess fire, it is also important for them not to get overheated. Swimming, therefore, is an ideal exercise for Pitta-predominant doshas and can be incorporated at the end of any fiery workout.
Kapha types may have a difficult time getting started on any exercise regimen but once they do, they see how movement balances out the naturally heavy energies of earth and water. Kaphas do well when they focus on cardiovascular fitness that breaks a sweat. By crafting a movement and exercise plan that works with the elements in your primary dosha, you will increase the benefits of your exercise.
7. Encourages You to Accept the Uniqueness of Your Body
Every person’s body is a special combination of the five elements. Those elements present themselves in a diverse array of physical characteristics, including structure and size. Rather than a singular cultural image of beauty, Ayurveda offers multiple healthy variations of size and shape. Vata individuals usually possess thin and delicate frames, Pitta bodies tend to be strong and sleek, while Kapha bodies reveal beauty through curves and fullness. Knowing your dosha gives you permission to love your body in all its uniqueness without feeling compelled to force yourself into a shape that is not your natural expression. Vitality and beauty come in many variations. Understanding your dosha helps you know what shape is healthy and natural for your unique body.
Understanding your dosha provides a pathway to the creation of health, vitality, and joy on every level. Once you see how the elements express in your body and mind, and how those elements respond to various lifestyle factors, you can consciously choose actions that create balance, stability, and health. As your focus shifts from the manipulation of external factors to the balancing of your elemental structures, you will find that you are effortlessly able to craft a life that radiates well-being.