What makes some people fall sick more often than others? What gives a pair of fraternal twins such drastically different personalities, characteristics, and mental attributes? Why do two people digest the same food differently? The elaborate answer to these questions lies in the 5000-year-old science of healing called Ayurveda.
Ayurveda: The Science of Life
In Sanskrit, ayur means “life” and “veda” means knowledge. Ayurveda has emerged as a popular, nature-based, sustainable alternative and complementary therapy that supports and boosts the body’s natural self-healing process.
Ayurveda aims to eliminate disease by its roots instead of just treating or repressing the symptoms. It offers a holistic and in-depth understanding of your current health status, based on how the five great elements (or panchmahabhutas) that constitute doshas interact and maintain the rhythm of life. (Book an online consultation with a Senior Ayurveda Practitioner today.)
Doshas and Prakruti
Akin to what ancient Greeks called humors, doshas are the three fundamental bio-energies that govern the major functions in our body and mind. Doshas are made up of the five elements with varying dominance, and we are in turn shaped as individuals with unique psychophysiological characteristics (called prakruti) by the doshas that dominate our constitution. The three doshas are Vata (air and ether), Pitta (fire and water), and Kapha (earth and water). To answer one of the questions in the introduction, it is a different prakruti that explains why twins have very individual personalities, and physical dispositions.
Why is Ayurveda Necessary?
According to Ayurveda, we are born in a state of perfect doshic balance. But as we grow and encounter various stressors from our environment, become exposed to toxins and pollutants, and engage in an unhealthy diet and lifestyle, imbalance (called vikruti) can occur.
Ayurveda plays a key role in managing this vikruti and brings the aggravated doshas into balance. So, how does one learn what their prakruti and vikruti are?
Ayurveda practitioners undertake exhaustive examination of an individual’s doshas, through a timeless diagnostic technique called nadi pariksha, to inform patients meaningfully about how the doshas influence their current state of health, whether or not they the client’s doshas are in balance, and to reveal what illnesses clients may be predisposed to, due to one’s prakruti.
Experienced practitioners will also show clients how to develop or maintain balanced doshas—a dosha-focused diet and lifestyle along with herbal formulations and the right Ayurvedic treatments can correct imbalances naturally.
The Three Doshas
From the seasons of the year to fruits and vegetables, from colors to bodily organs, and from movement to cognition, the doshas influence every natural process.
Vata is the combination of air and space elements governing movement and prana (life force). Vata controls nerve impulses and higher cognitive function as well as cell division and formation of body tissues. It also influences the mind, respiratory system, and circulation of blood, and produces the energy behind feelings and emotions such as fear, restlessness, alertness, anxiety, tremors, and spasms.
When Vata is balanced, one feels energized, creative, flexible and enthusiastic. When out of balance, it can lead to anxiety, fear, bloating, weight loss, and loss of appetite.
Vata-dominant people tend to be talkative, light sleepers with inconsistent personalities and a sweet tooth.
Pitta is the combination of fire and water, and is the force behind metabolism and transformation. Pitta controls the endocrine system, digestive system, heat regulation, thirst, and appetite. It also influences the skin quality, softness of the body, and light in the eyes. Pitta promotes wisdom, intelligence, and courage.
In people with balanced Pitta, you will find there is sharpness of intellect. Anger, insecurity, headaches, stomach concerns, and kidney ailments can be signs of imbalanced Pitta, among other factors. Pitta personalities are intense, and people with imbalanced Pitta may have skin problems, low tolerance for heat, an argumentative nature, and unstable joints and muscles.
Kapha dosha combines earth and water elements, and provides structure and stability to the body. This dosha regulates immunity, healing, and biological strength, and controls body fluids, lubrication of the joints, and skin moisture. Kapha is key for emotions and feelings, particularly positive emotions like joy and generosity.
When Kapha is in balance, one may project calmness, loving-kindness, care, and patience. When vitiated, Kapha dosha can exacerbate mental health concerns, aversion to cold foods, discharge of mucus, skin discoloration, excessive lethargy, and sluggish digestion. A Kapha personality is loving, attentive, and patient, with strong joints and good immunity.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.