As published in Le Monde au naturel magazine, October 2017
The science of Ayurveda established that we are composed, in varying degrees, of the five elements of nature ie water, earth, fire, air and space. These elements are grouped into three categories called Doshas. Any discomfort or illness, both physical and psychological, is caused by the aggravation of the doshas. This worsening usually occurs when our diet and our lifestyle are inadequate. Several external factors also affect our doshas, such as seasonal changes and our relationships with others.
VATA - PITTA - KAPHA
The three doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. At birth, we have a certain level of these three doshas within us. Like the genes, the doshas that will be predominant in a person are determined by our parents and ancestors. At the time of conception, the combination of Vata, Pitta and Kapha in each individual will also be influenced by the diet, lifestyle and emotions experienced by the parents. This combination will also be determined by several other factors, including the season of our conception, the season of our birth and the state of balance or debalancing of the doshas of our parents during the conception.
The science of Ayurveda is an extraordinary tool that enables us to understand ourselves well and helps us to take the necessary measures to always return to equilibrium, either to our own constitution (prakruti), and thus to a state of health. In balance, we live in a state of physical as well as psychological well-being, while in disequilibrium in doshas we experience discomfort or illness. "According to Ayurveda, health is not simply the absence of disease. It is rather a state of equilibrium of body, mind and consciousness. "Dr. Vasant Lad (1) Having an understanding of one's own constitution allows us to better understand our psychological tendencies as well as our physiological and psychological strengths and weaknesses. "The state of happiness and equilibrium can be created and maintained with a lifestyle and a diet adapted to the nature and the specific needs of our constitution." (2)
UNDERSTANDING EACH DOSHA
The Vata dosha is composed of elements air and space. It is the energy of movement, the initiator. In our body, Vata manages any movement, such as blood circulation, breathing, childbirth, evacuation etc... In balance, people with a Vata dosha predominate are creative, enthusiastic, sensitive, energetic and active. Their body is usually thin and they have rather dry skin and hair. In imbalance, they tend to be anxious, to feel fear and lack of anchorage. They do not have a good sleep and sometimes suffer from insomnia.
GENERAL RULES FOR BALANCING VATA
avoid eating raw or cold
avoid very cold and windy weather
eat cooked food and spices
have a regular routine
The Pitta dosha is composed of elements of water and fire. It is the energy of transformation. In the body, Pitta manages the digestion and processing of food, thoughts and sensations. In balance, Pitta's predominant people are sharp-witted, passionate, courageous, hard-working and challenging. Their body is medium in size, their hair has an oily tendency and their body temperature is slightly warmer. In imbalance, they will be irritable or even angry or jealous. Overfilling of the fire element will cause stomach burns or acidity in the digestive system, sometimes accompanied by diarrhea.
GENERAL RULES FOR BALANCING PITTA
avoid very hot temperatures and sun exposure between 10:00 and 14:00
avoid oily food limit the consumption of salt and spices
drink cool but not cold water
avoid exercising when it is very hot
The dosha Kapha is composed of water and earth elements. It is the energy of lubrication and construction. In balance, the predominantly Kapha people are devoted, loving, family and empathetic. They have the best endurance of the three doshas and their bodies and stronger. They tend to gain weight easily. In imbalance, they stagnate and feel heavy or depressed, they lack motivation.
GENERAL RULES FOR BALANCING KAPHA
do a lot of exercise
avoid heavy food
vary your routine
spice up your food
do not sleep too much
HOW TO KNOW WHAT ARE MY DOSHAS?
The Ayurvedic practitioner evaluates each person in detail to determine his or her own constitution and state of debalancing. He usually does a questionnaire and does a physical assessment. It reads your Ayurvedic pulse and takes into consideration your family history. Several tests are available online to help you determine which your doshas are predominant. But these tests are only the tip of the iceberg and do not rely on them only to guide you in your understanding of your doshas. If you do not know your doshas, the basic rule is to follow nature. For example, eating local, fresh and seasonal products helps a lot to stay healthy. Finally, remember that balance does not mean an equal amount of the three doshas. "It is rather your own proportion of the three doshas that is important. It is a dynamic balance that requires a constant renewal. "(3)
(2) (3) Dr. Vasant Lad B.A. M.S., M.A. Sc., The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies