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Balance doshas to achieve wellness
As Ayurveda describes the five elements of space, air, earth, fire, and water make up everything in the universe including the human body. These elements come together in various combinations to create three different constitutional types or known as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. These types of building blocks are called doshas.
One whose doshas are in balance have a healthy body, blissful mind, senses is called a healthy person.
Knowing your dosha can help you understand what activities, foods, and lifestyle elements are best suited for you.
Ayurvedic Body Type Quiz
Select any single answer which is most suitable to you for every question.
Vata literally means ‘wind’. Vata personalities are governed by air and space.
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If Vata dosha predominates,movement of body and of thoughts are characteristic of your nature. As long as Vata is in balance, you will be lively and enthusiastic, with a lean body.
Qualities of Vatha
- Can be tall or short. Thin build and small-boned.
- Prominently visible joints, don’t put on weight easily
- Skin is dry, rough, cool, chaps easily with prominent veins
- Hair is coarse and dry
- Small, active, dark eyes
- Lips are thin, dry, chap easily
- Brittle, ridged or cracked nails
- Variable appetite, can get very hungry
- Very physically active
- Bowel movements irregular, hard, dry
- Mind is active, restless
- Little strength, tires easily
- When under stress, have tendency toward fear or anxiety
- Recent memory is good, long-term memory is poor
- Light sleeper
- Cold hands and feet, little perspiration
- Tendency towards constipation, anxiety, nervousness, poor sleep
- Dreams are fearful, flying, movement
Those who have a predominance of Vata dosha usually have a thin, light frame with excellent agility. Vatas typically have cold hands and feet and dry skin and hair. They tend to have delicate digestion with occasional digestion problems
When the Vata dosha becomes imbalanced, it causes body weight loss, constipation, hypertension, arthritis, weakness, restlessness, and digestive challenges.
When in balance Vatas are energetic, creative, and flexible. They are quick to be angry but also to forgive.
When unbalanced, they are prone to worry and anxiousness, lack of self-confidence and often suffer from insomnia.
How to Balance Vata
A regular lifestyle routine helps ground Vata.
- Avoid becoming chilled.
Wear adequate clothing appropriate the cold season and better to keep your head covered when the weather is cold.
Be touched regularly by the people you love, and schedule regular massage treatments. Use warmer, heavier oils like sesame and almond for the head.
The music best suited for a Vatha person or someone who is experiencing a Vatha imbalance is to listen or play instruments with soft, low, and mellow tones, including string instruments such as the guitar, mandolin, bass, and cello and wind instruments, such as chimes.
- Favor aromas that are sweet, heavy, and warm. Examples include basil, bay, cinnamon, frankincense, lavender, citrus, cloves, pine, sage, and vanilla.
Nutrition suggestions for Vata
According to Ayurveda, the food you consume should have a balancing effect on your dominant dosh. If a dosha is aggravated, eat food which should pacify (stabilize) the specific dosha.
- Eating habit: No restriction to eat in larger quantities though should be careful not to overeat
- Fat and Oils: Fats and oils are beneficial in the digestive system for Vata to help to reduce Vata. Use up to three teaspoons daily of ghee or extra virgin olive oil, dairy products like warm milk that are not in excessive quantity.
- Grains: Rice and wheat are the best grains for balancing Vata. Use other grains, not in excess.
- Fruit: Prefer sweet, heavy fruits such as bananas, mangoes, apricots, plums, berries, melons, papaya, peaches, pineapples, kiwi, dates, nectarines, and dried fruits. Eat less light fruit such as apples, pears, and pomegranates.
- Cooked vegetables are best. Raw vegetables should be minimized. Minimize your consumption of beans as it can aggravate Vata
- All varieties of nuts are recommended.
The primary function of Pitta is transformation. Since Pitta controls digestion, metabolism, and energy production, those with a predominance of the Pitta tend to possess excellent digestion, metabolism and energy levels.
Qualities of Pitta:
- Medium build
- Moderate body weight, may be athletic, muscular
- Oily skin, warm, sensitive skin, reddish, inflamed
- Excellent memory
- Hair is fine, oily, may have balding or premature greying
- Bowel movements easy and regular, soft, oily and loose
- Medium, penetrating, light-sensitive eyes
- Lips are soft, medium-sized
- Medium strength
- Strong appetite, irritable if you miss a meal or can’t eat when you’re hungry
- Enjoys the physical activity, especially competitive
- Mind is focused and sharp
- Tend toward anger, frustration or irritability when under stress
- Usually sleeps well
- Soft and flexible nails
- Good circulation perspires frequently
- Dreams fiery, angry, violence, passionate
- A tendency towards inflammation, high blood pressure, hypersensitive, aggression
Pittas dosha’s types are usually of medium size and weight. They have a warm body temperature. Baldness or thinning medium oily hair is also common in a Pitta. Due to their excellent digestion, sometimes they to believe they can eat anything. They sleep soundly for short periods of time. In balance, Pittas have perfect digestion, strong appetite and abundant energy.
When out of balance, Pittas may suffer from burning sensations, indigestion peptic ulcers, excessive body heat, skin rashes etc.
They are like to speak, direct, and outspoken at times.
When they’re in balance, they are good decision-makers, teachers, and speakers.
Pitta in an out-of-balance tent to be short-tempered and argumentative.
How to Balance Pitta
To balance pitta, make choices that are cooling, sweet, and stabilizing.
Eating habits: Do not skip meals or wait until you are starving to eat. Also eat more cooling foods such as cucumbers, sweet fruits, and melons.
Body care: Perform a daily massage with cooler oils such as coconut or olive oil.
Favorite aromas are of cooling and sweet. Sandalwood, mint, lavender, rose and jasmine is recommended.
Music: Soft, rhythmic music with a mid-range tone is suitable for Pitta type constitutions. Instruments include the flute, clarinet, mouth organ and saxophone. If preferring string instruments, go for the violin, dulcimer, or mandolin. All types of percussion that are gentle are also very soothing.
Nutritional Guidelines for Pitta
Since Pitta dosha in excess overheats the mind and body, prefer cool foods and liquids. Foods with sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes are best. Reduce foods that are pungent, salty, and sour. Hotter spices such as ginger, cumin, black pepper, fenugreek, clove, salt, and mustard seed should be used sparingly. Very hot seasonings are best avoided.
- Eating habit: Do not recommend to eat larger quantities as there is generally strong digestion.
- Includes milk, butter, and ghee which can help balance the heat of Pitta. Try to reduce sour, fermented products such as yogurt or cheese as sour tastes aggravate Pitta.
- Oils: The best oils to pacify Pitta are olive, sunflower, and coconut. Try to avoid heat producing oils.
- Grains: Wheat, rice, barley, and oats are the best grains to balance Pitta when it is out of balance.
- Fruits: Sweeter fruits are preferred such as grapes, melons, cherries, mangoes, pomegranates, fully ripe pineapples, oranges, and plums. Reduce sour fruits such as grapefruits, apricots, and berries.
- Vegetables suitable are cucumbers, potatoes, green leafy vegetables, pumpkins, broccoli, cauliflower etc. The vegetables to avoid include tomatoes, hot peppers, carrots, onions, garlic, radishes, and spinach
- For non-vegetarians,chicken is preferable while seafood, and eggs increase Pitta and should be minimized.
Kapha’s elemental makeup consists of water and earth. It governs the structure of the body. According to Ayurveda, It is the principle that holds the cells together and forms the muscle, fat, bone, and sinew. Kapha is the dosha responsible for the stability, substance, lubrication, and support of our physical body.
Qualities of Kapha:
- Thick, ample or stocky build. Larger bone-structure.
- Thick skin, cool, prone to acne
- Thick hair, shiny, lustrous
- Large, round eyes with thick eyelashes
- Strong and thick nails
- Strong, good endurance
- Bowel movements thick, oily, heavy, slow
- Mind is calm and slow
- Tendency to avoid situations that are difficult
- Memory is slow but sustaining
- Less active, sometimes lethargic
- Lips are large, smooth, full
- Sound, heavy sleeper
- Moderate perspiration
- Dreams peaceful, romantic, water, ocean
- Tendency towards respiratory congestion, water retention, lymph congestion, cystic acne, tiredness
Large, soft eyes; smooth, radiant skin; and thick hair are also important Kapha characteristics. Those who are primarily Kapha are slow, tend to sleep soundly and have regular digestion.
In excess, Kapha results in weight gain (overweight), fluid retention, and allergies manifest in the body. When they’re out of balance, Kapha types may become overweight, tend to oversleep, and may suffer from asthma, diabetes, and depression.
Kaphas are naturally peace-loving, calm, thoughtful, and loving in nature. They are comfortable with routine works, loyal, patient, and steady.
Excess Kapha in the mind manifests as resistance to change and stubbornness.
How to Balance Kapha
Change and stimulation: Kapha’s tend to stick to the status quo and routine, so they need the stimulation of new sights, sounds, and experiences.
Follow a healthy daily routine: Avoid taking naps during the day. Wake up early (say by 6) in the morning.
Stay warm and avoid dampness. Kapha’s are particularly sensitive to cold, damp conditions and tend to be healthy in warmer climates. Avoid exposing your nose, throat, and lungs to cold weather if you are not feeling well.
Perform a regular massage with ama (cellular waste products) removal specific oils on your body to stimulate circulation to support the removal of.
Exercise: Having regular exercise is the best way to avoid stagnation and the accumulation of toxins in the body. Favor running, bicycling, swimming, aerobics, and competitive sports.
Music: Energizing music with a solid bassline accompanied by higher tones is suitable for Kapha. All types of drums, such as the dholak, tabla, African conga and water drums, as well as bells, chimes, electric keyboard and piano are all great instruments for a Kapha person to listen or learn to play.
Favourite aromas for a Kapha person are rosemary, peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus, sage, tea tree and wintergreen.
Nutritional Guidelines for Kapha
Since Kapha is oily, cold and heavy, light, dry, or warm will pacify (stabilize) it. Consuming foods with pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes are most suitable for pacifying Kapha. Try to reduce foods with sweet, sour, and salty tastes.
Grain: Barley, corn, millet, are preferred over oats, rice, and wheat for balancing Kapha.
Dairy: Try to reduce dairy products which tend to increase Kapha. Use small amounts low-fat milk, and low-fat yogurt or ghee.
Sweeteners to be avoided. Honey is a sweetener that can best pacify Kapha. Better avoid or reduce other sweeteners since it can increase the Kapha dosha causing blocked sinuses, allergies, colds, lethargy or similar problems.
Fruits: Suits lighter fruits such as pears, pomegranates, apples, apricots. Reduce heavier fruits like bananas, pineapples, peaches, coconuts, melons, dates, and figs.
Eat lots of vegetables. All vegetables especially beans (except for soybean-based) are recommended though you should reduce sweet and juicy vegetables such as tomatoes, and zucchini.
Favour pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. Reduce all nuts and seeds.
Reduce consumption of fats, oils red meat
Hot Ginger tea with meals to help stimulate a slow digestion and to refresh dull taste buds.