Ayurveda & Doshas – Understand Your Body
Ayurveda means ‘Knowledge of Life’ (ayur =’life’,’health’; veda =’knowledge’) and is very closely connected to the philosophy and practices of yoga. Ayurveda is based on the five elements; earth, water, fire, air and ether and it seeks balance between them. Ayurveda is about maintaining an optimal balance in life, especially through nutrition. Ayurveda is the oldest tradition of healing and of healthy living, which is still in use.
According to Ayurveda, the three doshas or constitution types that are combinations of the elements in us emerge from the five elements. Understanding the doshas helps us to understand how we can become and stay healthy. Ayurveda is a holistic system that eliminates the cause of the disease and does not only try to alleviate the symptoms. Knowing your own dosha helps to understand your physical rhythm. Dosha means ‘toxicity’ or ‘impurity’ because the doshas only become visible when they are out of balance. When the doshas are in balance with each other, we cannot recognise them.
The three doshas coexist in all living organisms and each is formed by a union of two elements in a dynamic balance:
Vata = air and ether
Pitta = fire and water
Kapha = earth and water
Since each dosha is a combination of two elements, it carries the qualities of both elements. Vata types tend to be free-spirited and a bit disordered. Pitta types are often very fiery and fast. Kapha types tend to be slow and systematic. The dosha that dominates someone determines his metabolic type. His Dosha is determined at conception and after birth this Dosha remains, but can sometimes change due to disharmonious lifestyle and environment.
You can quickly find out your constitution type with this test. Look at all three types. If you answered ‘yes’ to five or more questions, this dosha is your dominant one.
Example: Vata 5, Pitta 3, Kapha 2 = You are Vata-Pitta
Do you get easily excited and nervous?
Do you have a very short attention span?
Do you learn things quickly and forget them quickly?
Having trouble putting on weight?
Do you love making ‘slimy’ sounds while eating?
Do you feel connected to people who suffer from physical or emotional pain?
Do you often sleep badly?
Do you often have anxious dreams?
Are you a loner?
Can you do several things at once?
Do you tend to stay completely focused on a task?
Do you learn things fast and forget them slowly?
You can put on a little weight, but you lose it again without problems?
Do you get a easily hungry and love to eat?
Do you like being with successful people?
Do you sleep moderately and lightly?
Do you occasionally have powerful and fiery dreams?
Do you tend to be ambitious?
Do you get easily excited when you have more than one thing to do at once?
Do you have excellent stamina?
Are you learning slowly and forgetting slowly?
Are you putting on weight?
Do you love crispy food?
Do you like helping people in physical or emotional pain?
Do you sleep long and deep?
Do you have sensual dreams?
Do you get greedy on occasion?
Whatever your constitution type is, you should respect it in your own nature and in the nature of others around you and be happy for it. In this beautiful universe we are able to coexist and complement each other because of our differences and vulnerability. Our vulnerability can become our greatest force. When we recognise our ‘sensitive’ areas, we can allow ourselves to grow to a deeper level of consciousness. But we tend to be biased and hide our sensitivities. According to Ayurveda, this can make them deeply rooted in us and even more harmful. But if we allow ourselves to show our tenderness, the universe will send us its healing energies to nourish and support us.
Yoga Teacher, Munich/Germany
Anusara Inspired * Yogamazé * Yoga Alliance E-RYT 200 and RYT 500
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