How to Balance your Dosha
As I am preparing for teaching an Ayurveda Workshop this weekend, I am reminded about the WHY in what I do. The healthy eating programs I share with my clients were created through my knowledge and understanding of Ayurveda. They are seasonal, constitutional, and educational. So what is Ayurveda and what is a Dosha? Read more to find out!
Ayurveda as a Complementary System of Healing: Ayurveda maintains that all life must be supported by energy in balance. In summary, Ayurveda addresses all aspects of life— the body, mind and spirit. It recognizes that each of us is unique, each responds differently to the many aspects of life, each possesses different strengths and weaknesses. In Ayurveda, body, mind and consciousness work together in maintaining balance. They are simply viewed as different facets of one’s being. To learn how to balance the body, mind and consciousness requires an understanding of how vata, pitta and kapha work together. According to Ayurvedic philosophy the entire cosmos is an interplay of the energies of the five great elements—Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Vata, pitta and kapha are combinations and permutations of these five elements that manifest as patterns present in all creation. Vata is the energy of movement, pitta is the energy of digestion or metabolism and kapha, the energy of lubrication and structure. All people have the qualities of vata, pitta and kapha, but one is usually primary, one secondary and the third is usually least prominent. The cause of disease in Ayurveda is viewed as a lack of proper cellular function due to an excess or deficiency of vata, pitta or kapha. Disease can also be caused by the presence of toxins.
1. Vata Dosha — Energy that controls bodily functions associated with motion, including blood circulation, breathing, blinking, and your heartbeat.
• In balance: There is creativity and vitality.
• Out of balance: Can produce fear and anxiety.
Vata is the subtle energy associated with movement — composed of Space and Air. It governs breathing, blinking, muscle and tissue movement, pulsation of the heart, and all movements in the cytoplasm and cell membranes. In balance, vata promotes creativity and flexibility. Out of balance, vata produces fear and anxiety.
qualities: quick mind, movement, flexible, creative, alert, active, easily fatigued, less willpower, intolerance, unstable, ungrounded, anxious. Creative; Quick to learn and grasp new knowledge, but also quick to forget, Slender; Tall and a fast-walker; Tendency toward cold hands and feet, discomfort in cold climates; Excitable, lively, fun personality; Changeable moods; Irregular daily routine; High energy in short bursts; Tendency to tire easily and to overexert; Full of joy and enthusiasm when in balance; Responds to stress with fear, worry, and anxiety, especially when out of balance; Tendency to act on impulse; Often have racing, disjointed thoughts; Generally have dry skin and dry hair and don’t perspire much.
How to balance Vata:
Avoid cold, frozen or raw foods ,Avoid extreme cold
Eat warm foods and spices Keep a regular routine
Get plenty of rest
2. Pitta Dosha — Energy that controls the body’s metabolic systems, including digestion, absorption, nutrition, and your body’s temperature.
• In balance: Leads to contentment and intelligence.
• Out of balance: Can cause ulcers and anger.
Pitta expresses as the body’s metabolic system — made up of Fire and Water. It governs digestion, absorption, assimilation, nutrition, metabolism and body temperature. In balance, pitta promotes understanding and intelligence. Out of balance, pitta arouses anger, hatred and jealousy.
qualities: Medium physique, strong, well-built; Sharp mind, good concentration powers; Orderly, focused; Assertive, self-confident, and entrepreneurial at their best; Aggressive, demanding, pushy when out of balance; Competitive, enjoy challenges; Passionate and romantic; Strong digestion, strong appetite, get irritated if they have to miss or wait for a meal; When under stress, Pittas become irritated and angry; Skin fair or reddish, often with freckles; sunburns easily; Uncomfortable in sun or hot weather, heat makes them very tired; Perspire a lot; Good public speakers; Generally good management and leadership ability, but can become authoritarian; Subject to temper tantrums, impatience, and anger; Typical physical problems include rashes or inflammations of the skin, acne, boils, skin cancer, ulcers, heartburn, acid stomach, insomnia, dry or burning eyes.
How to Balance Pitta:
Avoid excessive heat and steam
Avoid excessive oil
Limit salt intake
Eat cooling, non-spicy foods
Exercise during the cooler part of the day
3. Kapha Dosha – Energy that controls growth in the body. It supplies water to all body parts, moisturizes the skin, and maintains the immune system.
• In balance: Expressed as love and forgiveness.
• Out of balance: Can lead to insecurity and envy.
Kapha is the energy that forms the body’s structure — bones, muscles, tendons — and provides the “glue” that holds the cells together, formed from Earth and Water. Kapha supplies the water for all bodily parts and systems. It lubricates joints, moisturizes the skin, and maintains immunity. In balance, kapha is expressed as love, calmness and forgiveness. Out of balance, it leads to attachment, greed and envy.
Qualities: Easygoing, relaxed, slow-paced; Affectionate and loving; Forgiving, compassionate, nonjudgmental nature; Stable and reliable; faithful; Physically strong and with a sturdy, heavier build; Have the most energy of all constitutions, but it is steady and enduring; Slow speech, reflecting a deliberate thought process; Slower to learn, but outstanding long-term memory; Soft hair and skin; tendency to have large “soft” eyes and a low, soft voice; Tend toward being overweight; may also suffer from sluggish digestion; Prone to depression; More self-sufficient; Gentle, and essentially undemanding approach to life; Excellent health, good immune system; Very calm; strive to maintain harmony and peace in their surroundings; Not easily upset and can be a point of stability for others; Tend to be possessive and hold on to things. Don’t like cold, damp weather; Physical problems include colds and congestion, sinus headaches, respiratory problems including asthma, allergies, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
How to balance Kapha:
stay active, minimize naps
avoid heavy foods
avoid iced food or drinks
vary your routine
avoid fatty and oily foods
eat light and dry foods