Why Ayurveda Quizzes Aren’t Helpful

Why Ayurveda Quizzes Aren’t Helpful

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We like to believe we know ourselves. But is that enough for determining our dosha?

If you’re reading this, you likely already have an idea what Ayurveda is, where it comes from, and the science and philosophy behind the doshas. You may also have seen ads in your newsfeed for a dosha quiz and your curiosity was piqued.

Are you the type of person to take online quizzes? Do you believe in the accuracy of the dosha quiz results? Then I urge you to keep reading.

I certainly get the allure of the online dosha quiz. It’s fun, fast, and fascinating. People are inquisitive, after all, and these quizzes, through multiple-choice options, promise to reveal your predominant dosha. Is it Vata hair and Pitta temperament? Pitta mood and Kapha body shape?

A Little Knowledge Is a Dangerous Thing

I once heard a woman say, “My client is so happy now that his Vata is all balanced.” That sentence makes no sense according to the Ayurvedic principles of healing, whereby each dosha has gunas, which are qualities. Which aspect of Vata was imbalanced? What was the imbalance to begin with?

The reality, and one reason these quizzes aren’t reliable, is that most humans have a skewed perception of self.

We like to believe we know ourselves. That’s possible, but is it enough for determining your dosha? I had a female client who was convinced her body was medium frame (Pitta-body) and the extra weight was a carryover from the holiday season even though she had strong, broad bone structure (a Kapha trait) and had been morbidly obese most of her adult life. She also had an unhealthy attachment to food, which she didn’t want to admit (Kapha in the house again). Then there are women who might be battling dysmorphia and believe they are obese and so identify as a Kapha body type.

What if you were on vacation and overindulging in food and drink? Addiction tends to be a quality of Pitta imbalance. If you took the quiz during your vacation, you might assume you were Pitta in your mind. Results can also depend on which season it is when you take the quiz.

Risking a Deeper Imbalance

Only an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner can tell your prakruti (balanced doshas) and vikruti (currently imbalanced doshas). While you might be able to answer the prakruti questions on a dosha quiz, most will get their vikruti wrong. If you misdiagnose your vikruti and start taking herbs or make changes to your diet based on your incorrect evaluation, you’ll likely go into deeper imbalance and create messier health issues. Remember: In Ayurveda, we work on imbalances, and disease develops in stages.

[Read: “No, Ayurvedic Cooking Isn’t Just Making Indian Food.”]

Ayurveda is a customized approach to healing. There is no kale or mushroom fan-following. No trends to hype. Foods aren’t labeled good or bad. The adjustment to the diet to balance your vikruti is for a defined period of time. That’s why it’s important to see an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner if you are serious about Ayurveda as a healing modality.

Consulting the Experts

Diagnosis in Ayurveda is different from the concept of diagnosis in Western medicine, where the disease is identified after it presents in the body. Ayurveda treats the root cause of the disease and not just the symptoms. Both the rogi (patient) as well as roga (disease) are examined.

An Ayurvedic clinical examination includes three necessary diagnostic methods (trividhapariksha):

  1. Inspection (Darshana): Involves observation of the body parts, for example, skin, hair, eyes, and tongue.
  2. Palpation (Sparsana): Includes pulse & palpation of body parts (wrist pulse, abdominal palpation, and so on).
  3. Questioning (Prasna): An understanding of the patient’s medical history, symptoms, mental state, and physical state is gained during the questioning stage.

    When you visit a trained Ayurvedic practitioner, they will ask questions about your life, relationships, diet, lifestyle, mental health, emotional wellbeing, exercise, work, and much more.

    The exhaustive examination helps the Ayurvedic practitioner not only diagnose the disorder but also individualize treatments for each patient. Depending on the stage of samprapti (the evolution of an illness), treatment and choice of herbs/compound formulae are prescribed.

    If you agree that an online dosha quiz can’t help you in the way an Ayurvedic practitioner can, you’ve passed this test with flying colors! Learn more about Ayurveda and find out your vikruti today.

    Something you can do on your own: Ayurvedic Abhyanga (self-massage).

    This content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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