I went to a medium-sized Catholic university 12 miles outside of Philadelphia, PA. I met a lot of wonderful people who were exactly the type of people I expected to attend this kind of school. Then, I met my forever roommate. She opened my eyes to so many things, including the world of complementary medicine that is so central to my life. Specifically, my roomate’s father was (and still is) a doctor of Ayurvedic medicine. Dr. D is a brilliant man who is like a cross between Deepak Chopra, Robert DiNero, and Dr. Oz. How cool is that?
My roommate and her family taught me a lot about the basics of Ayurveda by living the life the way they did/do. I first learned about meditation ad herbal supplements through them, had my first glass of raw celery juice in their kitchen, and encountered the concept of “doshas” over a discussion of why we shouldn’t eat ice cream in the winter. Let me
explain try to explain.
I want to start this off by saying that Ayurveda has been around for thousand of years. I’m not a doctor, and what you are going to get from this post is a very rudimentary explanation from someone who has read a little bit, talked a decent amount, and used herself as a guinea pig. This information is accurate to the best of my knowledge. That said, I’m hoping it peaks your interest to explore the concept of Doshas further because it is flipping’ fascinating. (There, disclaimer made).
According to Ayurvedic medicine:
…each of us has a unique mix of three mind and body principles, which creates our specific mental and physical characteristics. These three principles are called doshas. The three doshas are known as: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.” (1)
“The central concept of Ayurvedic medicine is the theory that health exists when there is a balance (between Vata, Pitta and Kapha).” (2)
“Ayurvedic medicine considers your diet to be the best way to keep your body type in balance and fight disease and aging” (3)
According to Ayurveda, we all have a combination of the three doshas in different amounts, and each of us has one (or sometimes two) dominant dosha (s). An ayuvedic doctor can determine your dominant dosha, or. you can get a rough idea of your dosha by taking one of the quizzes I provide links to below.
Ayurveda is all about balance. Creating balance in your doshas, and therefore in your body, can help to maintain mental and physical health, and prevent ailments.
Diet is essential to balancing the doshas in Ayurveda. It is important to eat foods that do not aggregate your dominant doshha, and pacify any dosha imbalances in your body. Basically, Food Matters.
So I know my dosha, now what? Let me give you an example.
My dominant dosha is Vata, which means that my body naturally tends towards Vata qualities. When in balance, Vata can mean creativity and enthusiasm. Out of balance, Vata can mean fear and anxiety. In general, I need to pacify Vata rather than intensifying it because my body naturally has more Vata qualities than the other doshas.
For me, understanding my constitution/dosha means knowing that cold and windy days will throw me off. Vata is associated with Wind, so windy is days are tough for me because they thrown me into a Vata tailspin. On windy days, I know that ayurveda would suggest I eat Vata pacifying foods (like baked sweet potatoes-a Kapha intensifying food) instead of vata aggregating foods like raw vegetables or popcorn. If I eat too many raw vegetables or popcorn it will upset my digestion because those foods intensify vata constitution, of which I already have so much.
The doshas are each also found in nature in abundance based on the season. For example, winter is associated with Kapha in nature, so ayurveda followers (especially those who are Kapha dominant) would want to stay away from kappa aggregating foods like Ice Cream. If their kappa dosha becomes too unbalanced, they might get a sinus infection.
Ayurveda is very complex, and people spend there whole lives studying this ancient wisdom.
Ayurveda is much, much more than just knowing your doshas. It is an entire way of life complete with yoga poses, herbal supplements, meditation, and even “spa treatments” designed to balance the doshas. How cool is that?”
I hope this gave you a little info and piqued your interest to discover more. In all of your free time, of course 🙂