What is the Dosha? Dosha Types Guide
What is the Dosha? The Dosha, body and mind profiles, stems from arguably the the oldest holistic medical science in the world, Ayurveda.
Records show that the Ayurvedic medical system has been in practice in India for over 4,000 years. Ayurveda comes from Sanskrit, one of the world’s oldest languages.
Ayus – meaning life
Vid – meaning knowledge
When put Ayus and Vid together we get
Ayurveda – the knowledge of life
Based on Ayurvedic teachings there are 4 aspects of life
Combined these 4 aspects contribute to our overall heath and well-being. Ayurvedic practice teaches us how to keep these aspects in balance and a healthy equilibrium through restoring energies if we become ill but more importantly by keeping our body’s immune and defense systems strong in times of optimal health.
So we again have direct reference to holistic treatment – the belief of prevention rather than cure.
So what is the Dosha and how does Ayurveda come into it?
As we have discussed before current Allopathic (or Western medicine) is typically “cure” based and treats the symptoms of illness and disease, so used after you become ill.
Ayurvedic medicine, the birthplace of holistic medicine, is “preventative” meaning the practitioner works with the patient to prevent illness occuring. They do this by monitoring the patient’s lifestyle:
- emotional state
- level of activity
- sex life
- home and work conditions
Combined with this lifestyle referencing Ayurvedic practitioners encourage the use of natural organic foods and herbal remedies and most would recommend the patient participates in meditation or yoga. And this is where we discover what is the Dosha.
What is the Dosha? – Basic Ayurvedic beliefs and principles:
- Our body, like everything in nature, is made from the five elements
- The five elements when combined in a specific way form three body and mind profiles.
- These 3 body and mind profiles govern our physical composition and also how we tend to react and interact with others, the environment and everything around us.
- What is the Dosha? The Dosha (or doshas) are the 3 body and mind profiles. In Sanskrit the Dosha are know as:
While all of us tend to belong more to one Dosha we should be aiming for balance of the three. When a correct balance is achieved then we remain in good health and maintain excellent well-being.
Because each of us is an individual if we aim to find and maintain a healthy balance correct for our dosha make up we first need to determine our unique proportions of vata, pitta and kapha. This needs to be done through an Ayurvedic practitioner (rather than online quiz! – although they can be fun and are ‘reasonably’ accurate).
It is however relatively easy to self assess and discover what is the dosha with dominant proportion for you.
Read the characteristics below, keeping in mind that while it is common that you will have attributes of all 3 in varying amounts most people naturally align to one, this being their dominant dosha.
What is the Dosha?
- Body types are usually small and thin.
- The lightest body type of the 3
- Skin is normally dry and can be rough
- Hair is average to dry
- Teeth are normally larger than average, tending towards crooked and can point outwards
- Highly imaginative but often with disjointed thoughts
- Has a natural dislike for cold weather
- To maintain balance the best time to nap is between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Balanced Vata promotes creativity and flexibility.
Unbalanced Vata produces fear and anxiety.
Elements: Air and Space
Physical Ailments usually associated with the air element:
- arthritis, are predominant
Guide for balancing Vata
- keep warm
- maintain calmness
- avoid raw or cold foods
- stay out of cold weather
- keep a regular routine.
- Body Types are usually medium to heavy, strong, well-built
- Skin is fair, light, freckled and usually sunburns easily
- Hair is normally fine, straight with a tendency for thinning
- Teeth tend to yellow, regardless of eating and drinking habits
- Have a very sharp mind
- Good powers of concentration
- Normally seek to avoid and dislike hot weather
- Benefits from daily meditation after 6 p.m.
Balanced Pitta promotes intelligence and understanding.
Unbalanced Pitta produces anger and jealousy.
Elements: Fire and Water
Physical ailments usually associated with the fire element:
- inflammatory diseases
Guide for balancing Pitta:
- avoid excessive heat or steam
- avoid excess oil
- limit salt intake
- exercise only when able to keep cool – air conditioned gym, or coolest time of the day
- Body type is a larger sturdy build
- Regardless of size they are usually physically strong
- Skin is oily and moist, usually pale
- Thick hair
- Usually very white teeth
- Deliberate thought patterns; Reflective and Calm
- Dislike of damp and/or cold weather
- Early to bed and early to rise is best for the Kapha
Balanced Kapha promotes calmness and forgiveness.
Unbalanced Kapha produces greed and envy.
Elements: Water and Earth
Physical ailments usually associated with the water element
- excess mucous.
Guide for balancing Kapha:
- staying active
- ensuring plenty of exercise
- avoiding heavy oily foods
- limit dairy and iced drinks
- vary your daily routine.
I hope this Dosha Types Guide explained what is the Dosha and you have been able to identify what your Dosha Type is.
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