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What are the Dosha and How to Keep Them Balanced for Vitality

Oct 08, 2020

What is a Dosha?

Ayurveda teaches us that we are born unique individuals.  There is no one else like you.  According to Ayurveda there are three basic body types.  They are referred to as Vata, Pitta and Kapha.  It is vitally important to understand that everyone has an original doshic makeup as well as a current doshic status.  Your original dosha will not change. A better way to understand this is to consider it “nature”.  I often refer to this original dosha in the Dragonfly Plan as your unique blueprint.  Let me give you a better example.  When the sperm and ovum met to form you, your original blueprint (dosha) was formed, however, while you were still in your mother's womb you were being influenced by everything your mother felt, ate and experienced.  It is when you were born and you took that first miraculous breath that your original blueprint (dosha) was sealed.  You are like a thumbprint.  There is no one else like you.  You were divinely created to fulfil a vibration on this earth that only you can fill.  Ayurveda calls this original blueprint Prakriti.  It is your job to live in this unique vibration and in doing so, complete the vibration of the earth to make it whole and complete.  We need your authenticity.   When we are not walking in our authenticity, not only do we suffer, but the world suffers as well.  Individually, we are that important!  Our original blueprint coincides with what is natural to us. 

Our current dosha status can change.  This change can happen due to upbringing, events, trauma, diet, lifestyle, environment, and seasons.   In fact many things can influence our current dosha status.  The further we are removed from our original doshic makeup, the more stress, anxiety, dis-ease, distress and other issues will develop.  Part of living at peace with ourselves is living in line with our original doshic makeup.

So to reiterate, there are three main doshas.  Vata, Pitta and Kapha.  Most people will have a dominant dosha, then a secondary dosha and a tertiary dosha. There are a few that are tridoshic.  Tridoshic means all three doshas are equal.   

Keep in mind that although one particular person might be predominantly pitta, their pitta type will more than likely be different than your pitta type.  Let’s take a look at each body type(dosha).  Please keep in mind that the examples I have here is a very simplified overview of the body types.  The recommendations listed are a good generalized starting point.

The Three Doshas

             Vata ~ The Creative

 Vata is made up of the elements of ether and air, movement and impulse, creativity and connection.

Vata in the body is breathing, the pulsation of the heart, muscle movement in general, nerve impulses, sensory, perception, communication, our capacity to experience flexibility, joy and expansive consciousness. 

When “The Creative” person is balanced they are quick to catch onto things and highly creative and intuitive.  Out of balance, they can be anxious and nervous and experience insomnia and constipation. 

Physically, The Vata or also known as “The Creative” in the Dragonfly plan, tends to be on the dry side.   To keep the Creative balanced it helps to keep them moisturized on the inside with ghee and unctuous, nourishing foods.  They also need moisturized on the outside with nourishing vata oils.

Elements

Qualities

Ether

Dry

Air

Light

 

Cold

 

Rough

 

Subtle

 

Mobile

 

Clear

The first subtle signs of a Vata imbalance is :

Vata Physical Symptoms of imbalance:

  • Constipation (low back ache)
  • Pain in the thighs
  • ringing in the ears
  • aches and pains in the joints
  • tingling and numbness in the skin.
  • Heart Palpitations

Vata Psychological Symptoms of imbalance:

  • Sense of unease
  • Anxiety
  • Nervousness

To keep “The Creative” in balance focus on :

  • Warm, cooked foods
  • Hot beverages
  • Soft moist foods such as pasta, cooked cereal, and soup
  • Oily foods, such as those containing ghee, oils, nuts or avocados.
  • Sweet foods.

The take away key here is OIL, Lubrication and nourish.

To avoid aggravating “The Creative” try to stay away from :

  • Light, dry and crunchy foods
  • Cold foods
  • A completely vegan lifestyle.

Lifestyle habits to keep “The Creative” feeling optimal :

  • Keep regular hours
  • Get enough sleep (about 9 hours)
  • Stay warm and moist
  • Practice gentle moderate exercise - gentle yoga, yin yoga, slow hatha flow, walking.
  • Manage anxiety and notice nervous habits - meditation

 

            Pitta ~ The Achiever

 Pitta is made up of the elements of fire and water.  It is the energy of transformation. 

Pitta in the body governs appetite, digestion, absorption, assimilation, intelligence, charisma, courage and ambition. 

In The Dragonfly Plan, I call the predominantly Pitta person “The Achiever”.  “The Achiever” is ambitious and driven.  Most Business owners, CEO’s, Athletes are high Pitta people.  When “The Achiever” is balanced they are focused, sharp and get things done.  The Achiever tends to run hot and cold.  When “The Achiever” is out of balance they experience anger, irritability and can be intimidating. 

“The Achiever” tends to be the most healthy and have the strongest digestion of all the body types. 

Element

Quality

Fire

Hot

Water

Sharp

 

Light

 

Liquid

 

Spreading

 

Oily

First subtle signs of a Pitta Imbalance:

Pitta Physical Symptoms:

  • Hyperacidity - ulcers
  • indigestion
  • Belching
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • hypoglycemia

Pitta Psychological Symptoms of Imbalance:

  • Irritability
  • anger
  • envy
  • jealousy

 To keep “The Achiever” in balance focus on :

  • Juicy foods, such as grapes, mangoes, lettuces, and cucumbers
  • Cooling foods, such as kale, arugula, melons, and coconuts
  • Foods with high water content
  • Room-temperature to lukewarm drinks

 The key take away here is COOLING and calm.

To avoid aggravating “The Achiever” try to stay away from :

  • Spicy foods
  • Sour foods
  • Acidic foods, such as vinegar
  • Salty tastes

 

Lifestyle habits to keep “The Achiever” feeling optimal :

  • Stay passionate and creative - The Achiever needs something to be passionate about.
  • Get enough sleep - 8 hours
  • Practice short bursts of fast moving exercise - running, swimming, biking, just being outside. For yoga, Yin/Yang yoga, ashtanga (but be careful here, don’t make it a competition).
  • Practice awareness about what you say and how you say it.
  • Avoid being a workaholic - make sure you play!

             Kapha ~ The Lover

 Kapha is made up of the elements of earth and water.  Kapha is the energy of lubrication.  Water and earth, structure and cohesiveness, grounding and stability. Kapha in the body is nourishment, growth, lubrication, regeneration, fluid balance, fat regulation, strength, stamina, memory, and our ability to feel compassion and contentment. 

In The Dragonfly Plan, I refer to the high Kapha person as “The Lover”.  “The Lover” tends to be relaxed, mellow, chill and have a ‘let it be’ approach.  They don't sweat the small stuff. They are kind and generally ‘the rock’ that people lean on.  When out of balance, “The Lover” can tend towards depression and overeating. 

Element

Quality

Earth

Heavy

Water

Slow

 

Cool

 

Oily

 

Smooth

 

Dense

 

Soft

 

Stable

 

Gross

 

Cloudy (Sticky) 

First subtle signs of Kapha imbalance:

Kapha Physical Symptoms:

  • Congestion - can cause sinus headache
  • swelling of extremities - retention of fluids
  • sluggish body
  • weight gain

Kapha Psychological Symptoms:

  1. Over sleeping
  2. Sadness
  3. Feeling a sense of doom
  4. Feeling too much responsibility
  5. Loneliness
  6. Insecurity
  7. Living in the past
  8. Hoarding or holding onto things

Key take away is CLEANSE, let go and focus forward.

To keep “The Lover” in balance focus on :

  • Warm cooked foods
  • Dry foods, such as popcorn and rice cakes
  • Light foods, low in fat and oil
  • Hot or warm beverages
  • A vegetarian or especially vegan diet

To avoid aggravating “The Lover” try to stay away from :

  • Large quantities of food, especially at night
  • Heavy food
  • Cold food
  • Watery food
  • Sweet, sour, and salty tastes
  • Cold beverages

Lifestyle habits to keep “The Lover” feeling optimal :

  • Get moving! The Lover needs to be stimulated
  • Don't oversleep - 7 hours or less
  • Get deep tissue massages
  • Let it go - material and physical - “The Lover” tends to hold onto things.
  • Routine cleansing - especially seasonal.

Ayurveda does not believe that any diet that is extreme is healthy. However, when we look at trendy diets, on a short term basis, The Creative (Vata) tends to do well on the Paleo diet. Whereas, the Achiever (Pitta) tends to do well on an alkaline diet and/or a Mediteranean diet.  Finally, The Lover (Kapha) tends to do well on a vegan diet.  Remember, restricted dieting is short term.   But keep these recommendations in mind regarding the lifelong choices in diet.  Also, not to further complicate things, but keeping your ancestral heritage in mind when choosing a consistent diet and lifestyle is important to holding to your original blueprint.

Knowing both your Ayurvedic Original Blueprint (dosha) and your current state of balance is incredibly helpful.  This knowledge will allow you to adjust the most basic components of your day, like how you exercise or when you eat.  This will help support your overall well-being and is based on your unique makeup and not on someone else's ideal. 

Remember, your Doshic Blueprint or your prakriti was established within you at birth and remains constant throughout your lifetime.  This blueprint is what we believe as divinely given.  This is your birthright and your map to optimal health.  Your original blueprint will not change.  This original blueprint will be the gauge you use to check your current status.  Your current status is referred to in Ayurveda as Vikriti dosha.  We will use your original blueprint (prakriti doshas) to compare with your current status (vikriti doshas) throughout this program. The closer you get your current dosha status to your original blueprint, the better health you will be in. Ayurveda teaches us that when we do not honor our unique, original blueprint we become out of balance. If not corrected, and brought back into balance, this can eventually lead to chronic disease or rather dis-ease and dis-content. 

Let’s look at an example.  Let’s say you are a high vata individual and are experiencing a symptom of imbalance such as heart palpitations. You will know that as a high vata person you are prone to anxiety, which can cause heart palpitations.  If you seek Western medicine treatment, more than likely you will be medically treated for the symptom and they will not address the root cause.  You may be given a pill to treat the palpitations or anxiety without consideration as to the cause of the heart palpitation. Western medicine has very little concept of Ayurvedic traditions and will not take into consideration your unique blueprint body type.  Remember, heart palpitations can be caused by numerous issues.  Ayurveda will factor in your unique blueprint as well as examine your lifestyle and diet choices that you have made.   Using inquiry into choices and self reflection into the mind will help peel the many layers of the onion of causation.  This process along with incorporating the change our body intuitively needs will help get to this root cause to cure the palpitations for good. The longer we go without getting to the root the bigger our onion gets.  As you can see, this can get quite complicated if we don't address the root.   Our bodies are highly intelligent.  Our body constantly tells us what it needs.  It is when we do not listen and we suppress what the body is telling us with a pill that it will then send us another signal aka symptom.  I think you get the picture.  As a nurse, I have all too often encountered many people on polypharmacy.  This means that they had an original symptom from an imbalance.  Instead of correcting the imbalance a prescription was given for the symptom.  If we do not address the root cause and we put a bandaid over the signal the body sends in the form of a symptom, the body will send another signal.  Hence, another symptom will appear and well….polypharmacy (multiple medications).  A big onion!   

Ayurveda teaches us that there is no one like you.  Your Ayurvedic Blueprint is as unique as your thumbprint.  So why should you be treated like anyone else?  Ayurveda teaches us to recognize and understand our imbalances and how to gently guide ourselves back into balance, back into our most authentic health - our divine right.

There are 9 Main Health Benefits of Ayurveda

  1. Prevention - Ayurveda treats the cause as opposed to the symptom.
  2. Daily routine - Ayurveda calls this Dincharya.  This helps you feel grounded and stable starting each day.
  3. Ayurvedic Diet and Food Combining - We look at your Blueprint and recommend generalized foods according to this information and then take into consideration your ethnic background to teach our clients how to customize food as medicine. 
  4. Exercise : Yoga - Ayurveda and yoga are Sister sciences.  There are many different types of yoga and you will learn which type works best for you and recognize when it is time to increase the pace or calm it down.  Other exercises are recommended and we will discuss more in depth throughout the program.
  5. Ayurvedic Herbal Support - We believe in using plants to gently assist the body back into balance in times of stress. 
  6. Ayurveda for Energy and Vitality - we focus on the adrenal gland and make sure we are supporting the endocrine system with foods and activities that support and nourish.
  7. Ayurveda for Beauty - When one is healthy on the inside it will reflect on the outside.  We believe in specific remedies for skin care and foods that will nourish our outer beauty as well.
  8. Ayurveda for sleep - A good night's sleep is imperative for good health.  You will learn that each one of us requires different amounts of sleep.  We use tools to help assist the body in getting a wonderful night's sleep so that you wake feeling refreshed and ready to begin another day.
  9. Ayurveda addresses Body, Mind and Spirit - Ayurveda recognizes that you are a tripartite being and if the mind or spirit is out of balance then the body will be out of balance as well.   We give you the tools to address your tripartite being through spiritual practice, meditation and creative endeavors that work for your unique blueprint.

 

If you would like a quick quiz to find out your current body type click HERE. Remember, this is only a brief questionnaire and is not intended to replace an extensive Ayurvedic Consult from a qualified Ayurvedic Practitioner.  

If you would like to schedule an Ayurvedic Consult click HERE.

If you would like to join our Dragonfly Membership - a virtual membership to support your ayurvedic lifestyle and journey please visit our homepage and find out how Dragonfly can truly transform your life!

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