06/02/2020 Mind-Body Health
Knowing and understanding the nuances of your child’s dosha can help you decide which activities will engage them most, which foods will nourish them best, and how to help soothe strong emotions when life gets hectic.
Your child is unique. Your child is incredibly special in ways no one else but you will ever know. There is, indeed, not one single person in the world like your child! That being said, if you have an interest in learning how to better understand your child, and help nurture their well-being, you may wish to investigate the Ayurvedic doshas.
In Modern Ayurveda: Rituals, Recipes, and Remedies for Balance, author, and yoga teacher Ali Cramer explains that Ayurveda is, “A complete system based on the elements of nature and living a life in accordance with the natural rhythms of the world.” According to Ayurvedic philosophy, “The three doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—are derived from the five elements. Also known as mind-body types, the doshas express unique blends of physical, emotional, and mental characteristics.” A dosha is sometimes referred to as your constitution. Understanding the doshas can help you bring harmony to your own life and your child’s life; in fact, the ultimate goal in Ayurvedic medicine is balance.
Healing Your Child’s Imbalance
The objective of Ayurvedic medicine is healing imbalance. Imbalance can come from the seasons, the environment around you, life circumstances, the food and drink you consume, the media you absorb, and the energy of the people you are around. Your child may experience imbalance during the following:
- A period of transition such as the school year starting, a good friend moving away, or a sports season coming to a close
- Eating too much sugar for breakfast
- Playing violent video games
- Feeling worried about a stressful family situation.
The main takeaways to remember from Ayurvedic philosophy are that like increases like, opposites bring balance, and one size does not fit all. That means taking into consideration your child’s dosha can help their overall wellness (and yours!), but you will still attend to their unique needs.
Your Child’s Dosha
Your child’s primary dosha will become obvious when you or your child experience an imbalance.
Does your child get irritable after playing in the sun on a warm day? That could be their fiery pitta nature coming forward. Remember, like increases like so getting overheated could stoke their little inner fire and induce irritability. They will likely feel better after a few bites of cool watermelon or a run through the sprinklers! Remember, opposites balance.
Does your child smile and coo, “I love you so much, Mommy!” after cuddling on the couch reading a book? That could be their Kapha nature shining through. Remember, like increases like so sinking into the couch is exactly where a Kapha child wants to be. They are likely feeling grounded and relaxed under the cozy blankets surrounded by safe grownups.
You can find out your own dosha by taking a quiz online or consulting an Ayurvedic practitioner who will feel your pulse to determine your dosha. You can fill out the dosha quiz for your child if they are not old enough to take it themselves.
The Elements of Your Child’s Dosha
Kids may be particularly interested in the doshas because they are associated with all of the elements around you: earth, water, fire, air, and space.
- Vata dosha is comprised of the elements of air and space.
- Pitta dosha is comprised of the elements of fire and water.
- Kapha dosha is comprised of the elements of water and earth.
We have all of these elements within us, though usually there is one combination that dominates and influences your life experience. Many people have two dominant doshas. Some people are even considered “tri-doshic” and are affected equally by all the elements. Knowing your child’s dosha can help you lead them toward a harmonious life.
If Your Child Has a Vata Dosha
Knowing that your child is influenced by Vata energy can help you remember that they are potentially prone to clumsiness and “spaciness.” Your vata child may:
- Have trouble sitting still for long periods of time
- Have susceptibility to feeling afraid
- Take a longer time to adjust to change
- Be activated during autumn and winter seasons (again, remember, like increases like); on a windy, wintry day, Vata types may feel more agitated because it stirs up the energy within them, so your child may experience overwhelming emotions, fatigue, and physical discomfort during those seasons
Knowing that your child is influenced by Vata energy can help you prepare grounding and focused activities to help them feel balanced. Vata children need help learning to treat themselves extra tenderly. Vata children thrive on warm foods, mellow music, and soft lighting.
If Your Child Has a Pitta Dosha
Knowing that your child is influenced by Pitta energy can help you remember that they are prone to:
- Itchy skin
- Trouble just “chilling out,” and may get quickly upset about seemingly small incidents
- Push themselves too hard in school or sports
- Being activated during the summer season, so your child may experience overwhelming emotions and physical discomfort during that time
Knowing that your child is influenced by pitta energy can help you prepare for relaxing and inspiring activities to help them feel balanced. Pitta children need help learning how to “cool down” and self-soothe. Pitta children thrive on fresh fruits, exercise or exertion several times a week, and unstructured time to explore in nature.
If Your Child Has a Kapha Dosha
Knowing that your child is influenced by Kapha energy can help you remember that they are prone to:
- Sluggish digestion
- Lack of motivation
- Liking to sleep a lot
- Being overly attached to friends, family, and pets
- Being activated during the spring season, so your child may experience strong emotions and physical discomfort during that time
Knowing that your child is influenced by Kapha energy can help you prepare motivating and fun activities to help them feel balanced. Kapha children need help learning to shake up routines and try new things. Kapha children thrive on home-cooked, whole foods; energizing morning routines; and a clean room.
Only you and your child can thoroughly know what will best serve their daily needs. Considering your child’s dosha can be one way to look at your child holistically. The doshas can help you and your child prepare activities, foods, and strategies for when life feels out of balance.
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