What is Ayurveda?
The timeless medical system of Ayurveda, taking origin in India, has since spread across the world, fueled by a 5,000+ year track record of clinical efficacy in securing health and overcoming disease. Fundamentally, Ayurveda is the knowledge of what is beneficial and harmful to health and life, as well as what generates happiness and suffering. Ayurveda provides us perspective, a lens to view ourselves and the world around us, so that we may better understand how we go out of balance and what we need to regain harmony. Through right action and healing relationships, the art of being unfolds.
From the perspective of Ayurveda, the five elements- Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth- manifest in nature and the human body as three basic principles or energy bodies called doshas. Doshas govern all biological, psychological and physiopathological functions of the body, mind and consciousness. The manifestation of the elements through the doshas is what makes us unique, giving rise to our own individual and distinctive bodies, behaviors, and personalities. The doshas are influenced by the qualities of what we do, what we eat, and how we think, and their balance is offset in predictable ways. Imbalances of the doshas ultimately manifest as disturbance in the body and mind causing illness and disease. Balancing the doshas through healing relationships brings us back to peace and harmony.
What are Doshas?
The elements of Vata dosha are Ether and Air and its qualities are dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, mobile and clear. Vata is the subtle energy that governs all movement in the body; breathing, blinking, muscle and tissue movement, pulsation of the heart, etc. In balance, it promotes creativity and flexibility. Out of balance it can lead to insomnia, fear, anxiety and worry. Eating overly dry, cold and rough foods can lead to bloating, gas and constipation. Over time, when Vata is out of balance we see degenerative diseases like arthritis, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer's . Vata dosha needs routine and grounding. Having a morning and evening routine and eating warm, nourishing foods help to balance Vata Dosha.
The elements of Pitta dosha are Fire and Water and its qualities are hot, light, sharp, spreading, liquid and oily. Pitta governs the body’s metabolic system and all transformations that occur in the body; digestion and assimilation of nutrition, as well as experiences. Balanced Pitta promotes understanding and intelligence. Out of balance, Pitta arouses anger, resentment, burn-out and inflammatory diseases. Eating a hot and spicy diet, overexposure to sun and having a high stress lifestyle will surely cause Pitta disturbances. Overtime, vitiation of pitta can lead to hives, blood disorders, ulcers and adrenal fatigue. Eating cooling foods like cucumber, coconut, cilantro and aloe vera juice, doing cooling pranayama or breath work, and allowing time for relaxation and tranquility will help balance Pitta dosha.
What is your unique doshic constitution?
The elements of Kapha dosha are Earth and Water and its qualities are heavy, slow, cool, oily, slimy, dense, soft, stable and sticky. Kapha is the energy that forms the body’s structure and supplies all waters of the body; cohesion that hold cells together, lubrication of joints, moisture of skin and immunity. When Kapha is balanced, it expresses as nourishment, love, calmness, groundedness and strength. Out of balance, Kapha leads to attachment, possessiveness, greed, laziness and congestive disorders. Obesity, diabetes and congestive heart disease are the result of long-term imbalances of Kapha dosha. Daily exercise which promotes sweating, salt scrubs, working through obstacles, brain stimulation and stoking digestion all help to balance Kapha dosha.