Ayurveda is one of the worlds most sophisticated and powerful mind-body health systems. Developed in India, it’s more than a system of treating illness. Ayurveda is a science of life (Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge), and the two main guiding principles are 1) the mind and body are intimately connected, and 2) nothing has more power to heal and transform the body than the mind.
Three Ayurvedic Doshas
There are three ayurvedic mind and body types, or doshas—Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each dosha has a unique set of characteristics, and according to Ayurveda, each of us has a unique mix of three mind/body principles which creates our specific mental and physical characteristics. If you know how to balance your doshas, you can eliminate ill-health, create perfect balance and therefore enjoy ideal health.
Attributes of the Three Doshas
If you’re dominated by Kapha, you will naturally:
- be sweet, dependable, earthy, stable and supportive
- have a larger build with wide hips/shoulders
- have thick wavy hair and soft but possibly oily skin
- have good physical stamina
- be slow to learn, but have a great memory
- be very loyal, stable, and reliable
- be down to earth and happy (slow to stress)
- be well liked for your easy-going, sweet and supportive disposition
Kapha individuals are often referred to as the “rocks” in a relationship.
If you’re dominated by Pitta, you will naturally:
- be more intense, fiery and competitive
- enjoy high energy levels
- have a medium (possibly muscular) build
- have blond/white, reddish, golden, grey or receding hair
- have skin that’s generally more sensitive, maybe freckly and burns easily
- have really strong digestion—they can eat almost anything
- like order, systems and having “lists!” Pittas are very focused.
- be motivated, ambitious, passionate and have strong drive about something
- tend to be perfectionistic
- become easily irritated
If you’re predominantly Vata, you will naturally:
- have a lighter/slimmer build—the most slender of the three body types
- be more light, quick, enthusiastic, fun
- be more changeable, versatile and creative by nature
- have a tendency towards dry hair and skin
- tend to be cold all the time
- have little muscle tone
- learn fast and forget fast; be quick thinking
- like to talk, communicate, express…chat, gossip, etc.!!
- enjoy change
- be very creative and an “ideas” person
- become easily anxious
Determine Your Dosha
There are a couple ways to determine your dosha. The most accurate is through the detailed history and physical by an Ayurveda physician. However, even taking a quick ayurvedic quiz will provide you with tremendous insight into your principal dosha. Most people are a combination of two doshas, but one typically predominates. To find out your dominant dosha, take the Dosha quiz.
Are You ‘Out of Balance’?
The doshas govern everything in the universe, everything you do, and affects the balance of doshas within your mind and body. For example, due to particular weather/seasonal influences, lifestyle, foods, relationships, etc., you may create too much or too little of one or more doshas in your mind-body.
Anyone can develop doshic imbalance from 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 do you know if you're out of balance? How do you regain balance? Check out this blog, "Is Your Dosha Out of Balance?"
In Health and Happiness,
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods