In Ayurveda Medicine, doshas are biological energies found throughout the human body and mind, and its believed they govern all physical and mental processes.
This blog is a follow up from the blog, “What’s Your Dosha?” in which we explored the three Ayurvedic mind and body types, or doshas—Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The blog reviewed the unique set of characteristics for each dosha, and encouraged you to find out your dosha via the Dosha quiz. Once you identify your dosha, you can understand what keeps your dosha in and out of balance. If you know how to balance your doshas, you can eliminate ill-health, create perfect balance and therefore enjoy ideal health.
How Do Doshas Get ‘Out of Balance’?
Because the doshas govern everything you do and affect the balance of doshas within your mind and body, you may create too much or too little of one or more doshas in your mind-body.
Anyone can develop an imbalance in any of the three doshas, but typically your predominate dosha is more prone to getting out of balance. For example, individuals with naturally strong vata tendencies are more prone to vata imbalances.
How Vata Gets Out of Balance (Excessive)
Vata is increased/aggravated by “too much” of the following:
- Cold – food, drinks, weather, etc.
- Dryness – windy weather, dry (non-oily) food, etc.
- Change – irregular mealtimes, variable routine, changing seasons, etc.
- Stimulation – computers, action movies, intense exercise….coffee!
Signs Your Vata Is Out of Balance (Excessive)
- You feel anxious or worried.
- You find it hard to make up your mind…and change it often.
- You forget things regularly (“where did I leave my car keys?”).
- Your skin/hair gets dry, as do your bowels, possibly making you constipated.
- You find it hard to “settle down” to sleep well.
- Your digestion/appetite, mood and energy levels fluctuate throughout the day.
- You feel the cold, get tired easily and just wish life could slow down.
If Your Vata is Out of Balance, How do you regain your Vata balance?
- Rest – go to bed early and get plenty of rest generally
- Good Routine – regular daily routine such as sleep, mealtimes, etc.
- Warmth – keeping your body warm with warm food and drinks
- Oil – unctuous diet (non-dry), warm oil body massages
- Sweetness – more sweet foods, relationships, etc. Vata types love touch and hugs.
- Slowness – go for more relaxed, calming activities, exercise. ie: meditation, gentle yoga, quiet time, cat naps
- Listen to relaxing, soothing music.
How Pitta Gets Out of Balance (Excessive)
Pitta is increased/aggravated by the following:
- Too much hot or spicy food.
- A lot of sour or salty food
- Hot weather
- Too much “intensity/seriousness”
- Not enough fun, play, relaxation
Signs Your Pitta Is Out of Balance (Excessive)
As the fire of the mind and body becomes unruly, the laughing Pitta quickly becomes the yelling Pitta. Anger, rage, and ego replace Pitta’s positive attitude.
- You feel angry, irritable and impatient.
- You are over-competitive or over-critical (usually of others!).
- You are too serious. People say “you need to chill out.”
- You are really uncomfortable in hot weather.
If Your Pitta is Out of Balance, How do you regain your Pitta balance?
- Coolness –cold foods, drinks, climate (avoid hot sun), water activities such as swimming
- Fun/Leisure – take regular breaks from work and have more fun time
- Natural Beauty – spend time looking at trees, moonlight, tranquil water, etc.
- Sweet and Bitter foods – and reduce hot and spicy, salty and sour foods
How Kapha Gets Out of Balance (Excessive)
Kapha is increased/aggravated by the following:
- “too much” cold – food, drinks, weather, etc.
- Heaviness – excessive heavy or oily foods (or too much food in general)
- Insufficient activity/exercise
- Damp weather
- Not enough variety, change, stimulation
Signs Your Kapha is Out of Balance (Excessive)
- You feel lethargic, depressed and lazy.
- You have gained weight and generally feel ‘heavy’.
- Your digestion is sluggish…you feel ‘stuck’.
- You may feel congested and resistant to change.
- Can lead to insecurity and envy.
If Your Kapha is Out of Balance, How do you regain your Kapha balance?
- Variety –keep diet, exercise, work, etc. varied
- Lighter foods – reduce heavy, sweet foods and drinks
- Stimulation – go for spicier foods or more vigorous exercise
- Warmth – keep your body warm, have warm food/drinks
- Dryness – less oil in the diet
- Regular exercise
Stay tuned for future blogs about Ayurveda medicine and the doshas related to diet.
In Health and Happiness,
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods