Ayurveda is the “science of life” and is considered to be the medical arm of yoga. Developed by the Rishis, ancient mystics from India, it explains that human beings, like all living things around us, are made up of a specific combination of each of the five basic elements found in nature.
According to Ayurveda, the elements, which include Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Space, combine in unique ways to form doshas. A dosha is a description of the way these elements, whose source is life force energy, animates each of us in a specific way. The elements are considered to be the building blocks of life. It is the way in which these elements combine that differentiates the organs, tissues, and cells in our body, and that creates each of us in unique ways.
There are three doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. They perform different physiological functions in the body. Each of us have all three, in an individual combination. The practice of Ayurveda suggests that by balancing the doshas through lifestyle choices, specifically by how and what we take in to our bodies and minds, we have control over our health. By paying attention to such things as what, where, when, and how we eat; the thoughts we think; how we breathe, act, and exercise; and other things, we can pacify the doshas and enjoy good health on all levels: body, mind, heart, and soul.
How do the elements combine into doshas, and how do we keep the doshas balanced to maintain good health? Here is a brief discussion.
The Vata Dosha is comprised of the Air and Space elements.
It is the energy in the body/mind that manifests as movement. The Vata Dosha influences the workings of our mind and our digestion (movement of food through the intestines). It affects the circulation of blood and lymph, the flow of breath, the blinking of your eyes, and the beating of your heart. And, due to it's light and subtle nature, it is the dosha that becomes most easily unbalanced, which may lead to an imbalance in the other two doshas.
The Pitta Dosha is comprised of the Fire and Water elements.
This energy influences the body's metabolic systems, including digestion, absorption, and assimilation. It gives on the drive to achieve and to manifest transformation.
The Kapha Dosha is comprised of the Earth and Water elements. It offers a stability that results in growth. Like mud, the Kapha Dosha holds moisture in the body, nourishing tissues and supporting the immune system.
When you come in to see me for an ayurveda pulse reading and dosha assessment, you may request information about diet and lifestyle choices to support your unique constitution. In general, the Vata Dosha is pacified by eating warm, lightly cooked foods like stews broths, and nourishing teas, especially in the winter months. Using warming spices like cinnamon and ginger, or mustard seed and cumin, may facilitate good digestion. Keeping a regular schedule and including plenty of fluids in the diet is important. When cold, the movement that the Vata Dosha provides slows down. As a result, one may experience constipation, dry skin, anxiety, and insomnia.
The Pitta dosha is balanced through moderation. A predominantly Pitta person will benefit from eating three hearty, well balanced meals a day. This gives them the energy needed to remain happy while making things happen in the world. Exercising adequately, and getting a good night’s sleep helps keep the Pitta person calm and focused, as well. The trick is to not overdo things.
For those of a predominantly Kapha dosha, you will benefit from exercising every day and choosing foods that are light, warm, and spicy in order to boost overall activity levels in body and mind. Avoid heavy, oily, and sugary foods as they lead to the build-up of mucus in the body. Using spices such as black pepper, ginger, cumin, and chili and eating lots of bitter dark greens helps reduce mucus build-up, fostering healthy immunity.
Questions? Schedule an appointment to discuss this in more detail. Or partake of the special that I am currently offering: Valued at $138, you may receive a pulse reading and dosha analysis, breathing assessment, and short reiki energy clearing session for only $47. The offer continues through Valentine's Day.
To summarize, Ayurveda is the Science of Life and the medical arm of yoga. It uses the system of the three doshas, known as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, to assess one’s overall health. The doshas are derived from the five elements found in nature. According to Ayurveda, health is defined as the dynamic state of balance between mind, body, and environment. An imbalance in one or more of the doshas leads to dis-ease.
By balancing the doshas we facilitate healing and overall wellness. This is done through specific recommendations for diet, and lifestyle choices. Also known as mind-body types, the doshas express unique blends of physical, emotional, and mental characteristics. When you have a sense of your dosha personality, or how the elements combine in your body/mind to make you unique, you can make choices to support balance.
To quote Deepak Chopra, “Just as every snowflake is unique in shape and form, every human has their own blueprint. It’s like a map of the body that’s made up of an infinite variety of shapes, behaviors, emotions, and appearances.” Learn how the elements express through you, and make choices that support a healthy expression, and you may live a life filled with greater levels of health, wellness, and joy. Begin today by scheduling a consultation with me.
Yours, in health.
~ Sharon Harvey Alexander, C-IAYT