Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word in the Hindi language meaning “the science of life”. It has been in practice for thousands of years and has now become very popular in the West. Over the last thirty years many texts in the Sanskrit language on Ayurveda have been translated into English, benefiting those who have chosen this way of life.
The basic principles of Ayurveda and its undisputable health advantages is why it has become so popular. Ayurveda recognizes the uniqueness of the individual and it considers all three aspects of the person including the body, mind and spirit. It offers natural ways in treating disease, its prevention and to promote good health and longevity. It gives the person power to take control over their health, lifestyle and overall wellbeing, while being cost effective. The biggest draw to this wonderful way of life is that it works.
Whereas in the West doctors look mainly to the physical body for answers to disease and isolate different organs for diagnosis, Ayurveda looks to the whole body and how every organ is related and works in unison. Ayurveda also recognizes that it is not just the physical body that can cause disease but how the mind and spirit can contribute to create an imbalance leading to physical and emotional ailments.
Ayurveda uses three names to describe the different body types; these are called Pitta, Vata and Kapha. Each person has a dominate ‘Dosha’ that rules the body, and the remaining two follow it. Everyone is slightly different in their order of body types and it is important to focus mainly on your strongest one.
Here is a basic description of all three.
Pitta Dosha is responsible for mental functions like intelligence, confidence and organization. Pitta is also responsible for emotions such as joy, happiness, anger and jealousy. It controls all of the digestive functions, digestive enzymes and rules the body in absorption and assimilation of the foods eaten. It regulates body heat, sweating and controls the metabolism of the individual. Pittas basic elements are fire and water and have qualities of hot, moist, sour smelling, light and sharp. Pitta individuals, when in balance are very intelligent and quick thinkers and their digestion is good. When out of balance they can have fiery tempers, acne, hot flashes, bad breath and have extreme digestive irritations such as ulcers, heartburn and increased thirst.
Vata Dosha includes the individual’s intuition, sensitivity, and imagination. It is responsible for the function of the nervous system, endocrine system, sense organs and movement inside of the body; this includes intestines, heart, colon and lungs. The basic elements for the Vata Dosha are wind and space. When the Vata Dosha is in balance they are very communicative, creative and resilient. When out of balance the Vata Dosha can experience fear, doubt and insecurity. They can suffer from intestine and bowel problems including gas and constipation. They will also suffer from weight loss, chapped and dry skin, constipation and gas.
Kapha Dosha includes mental functions like memory, tranquility and emotions such as devotion, faith and sympathy. The physical aspects of this Dosha are the muscles, skeletal system including the body frame. This will affect the joints, muscles and tissue building. When in balance the Kapha Dosha is strong, calm and patient. They show healthy signs of love and forgiveness. Have clear lungs and are free of congestion and allergies. The basic elements for Kapha are earth and water. When out of balance they can suffer from greed, mental dullness and lack of motivation. They will have trouble controlling their weight, and become lethargic and are easily depressed and over possessive.
Each Dosha rules different aspects of the body, mind and spirit and together, when in balance, a person is happy, content and healthy. When anyone of the Doshas become out of balance the person will suffer both physically and mentally. They key is to keep all three Doshas in balance by listening to your body’s needs and desires. If you are unfamiliar with Ayurveda and wish to study more there are many websites with free information and some even have basic questionnaires you can take to get you started on this wonderful way of living. I have been practicing Ayurveda for over ten years and it is a wonderful way to create a healthy lifestyle.