Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dosha: Ayurvedic Approach to Balance




Doshas are the three energies that govern the body: vata, pitta, and kapha.

According to Ayurveda, each of us is made up of some combination of three doshas, or energy archteypes, which determine both our physical and emotional health. Ayurveda combines nutrition, lifestyle, psychology and herbal medicine to cultivate wellness in both mind and body. It is said that at conception we are created with a unique blend of the five great elements (ether, air, fire, water, earth). That unique blend is called our prakruti or individual body constitution. Our prakruti is a combination of the three doshas vata (ether + air), pitta (fire + water), and kapha (water + earth). Since prakruti is made of the three doshas, knowing what your dosha(s) is/are, is key to maintaining your health.

Each of us is composed of varying amounts of the three doshas, and according to Ayurvedic principles, what we eat, how we work, and even whom we love should serve to maintain our doshic balance. Left unchecked, imbalance is believed to cause health issues ranging from headaches and skin rashes to larger issues like cancer and chronic depression.


The first step in regaining balance is to recognize that the environment around you has a profound influence on how you feel. Paying conscious attention to what you hear, touch, see, taste and smell can help create peace, balance and vitality in your mind and body. A harmonized daily routine that engages the five senses with nourishing impressions is one of the most important steps towards achieving health.
There are many online tests you can take to come closer to knowing your own dosha combination. I'll list them at the bottom. I discovered that I'm a pretty good combination of both Pitta and Kapha. In testing a little further for possible body and/or mind imbalances, I was able to discover accumulations in one area or another and sought out tips to brings myself back into better balance.
For instance, accumulated Kapha or out of balance Kapha leads to heaviness, sluggishness and congestion. Stimulation and movement help overcome the resistance of accumulated Kapha. Think activation and invigoration. Here are some tips to maximize balance and well-being:


Body - Accumulated Kapha
  • Take a yoga class to connect to your body and invoke your natural energy
  • Perform a vigorous daily self massage with invigorating herbalized oil
  • Take deep breaths throughout the day
  • Favor spicy foods with a predominance of pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes
  • Walk 5-15 minutes after eating to aid digestion
  • Drink Invigorating Tea
  • Put your full attention on your meals when eating

When Vata is out of balance, change and movement agitate the physiology resulting in a sense of instability. Balancing Vata requires introducing more grounding and stabilizing influences. Think routine and consistency. Here are a few tips to encourage balance and well-being:

Mind - Accumulated Vata

  • Meditate twice a day to quiet the mind
  • Look for opportunities to create rhythm and routine in your life
  • Go to bed and awaken at about the same time every day
  • Wear relaxing fragrances
  • Listen to slow and relaxing music to calm Vata
  • Minimize heavy reading, eating, or watching TV right before bed
  • Diffuse relaxing fragrances into your environment
  • Favor mild pastel shades and earth tones in your environment

Very interesting stuff! I was inspired by Alyssa Giacobbe's article on the subject in Body + Soul magazine, which you can read in its entirety here. Working on balancing my energies and appreciating these concepts immensely. One way I've found that helps me focus on my own wellbeing is by using products and fragrances with organic and natural ingredients. Again I'd remind you of a line perfect for just this approach - Organic Apoteke.

Want to take the dosha test for yourself? Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Namaste ... xo

6 comments:

  1. Thank You! Such lovely recommendations and explanations are sorely needed online!
    Remind her you Love her with scented Candles, Incense, Oils, or Bath & Body Prooducts! Each use will remind her long after Mother's Day has passed!

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  2. Yay! Thank you for exposing Ayurveda and for linking to HeyMonicaB! I would like to recommend a great book that I am totally in love with, Absolute Beauty by Pratima Raichur. It contains wonderful information about all things beauty - inside and out. I think you and your readers would really like it!

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  3. Hi Monica,

    Fabulous - many thanks for the book suggestion! Will definitely check that out.

    Your site was so informative ... I could get lost just perusing it for hours in awe!

    xo

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  4. I love this! I definitely fall squarely in the anxious Vata category...no wonder I'm constantly craving the beach...I just started hot yoga which has helped me unwind, so i def recommend it. Thanks for sharing!

    http://www.examiner.com/x-9539-NY-Beauty-Industry-Examiner

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  5. nice blog
    thanks for sharing information.
    Hair Care TreatmentsThe health of your hair and scalp can speak volumes about your internal balance. Factors like genetics, excessive use of chemicals, illness, weather changes and poor circulation are the major causes behind issues like hair fall, dandruff and damaged hair.

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