If you’re interested in Eastern medicine, you may have wondered, “what are doshas?” Dosha is a Sanskrit phrase that means “mind-body personality.” Ayurveda, a medicinal and psychological philosophy, suggests that there are five elements or mahabhutas, that make up everything within the body and outside of the body. The mahabutas are space, water, air earth and fire. Biology partners these elements together into three categories that are known as doshas. Your doshas are the paths that your mind and body take to dictate the way you behave.
The Vata dosha comes from the elements of air and space. This dosha is in charge the of the change and movement that our bodies and minds undergo. Vata people are often thin in stature and very agile. Your skin is typically dry, and your hands and feet are naturally cold, regardless of the climate. If Vata is predominant in your body, you are likely a person who naturally and willfully engages in movement and change. People who are ruled by Vata are always on the go, and are creative and innovative. These individuals also tend to have a lean body due to their constant activity. However, it is not uncommon for you to have bouts of fatigue.
However, stress entering your life can cause your Vata dosha to feel unbalanced. Instead of feeling fulfilled by accomplishing tasks throughout the day, you’ll feel overwhelmed with all the things you need to do. Your mind will likely race when you’re under stress, which can cause harmful physical conditions like insomnia and anxiety. Physical symptoms can also include constipation, arthritis, high blood pressure and restlessness. To get your Vata back in balance, take control of your health by meditating, going to bed early, and not skipping any meals.
The Pitta dosha is made of fire and water, and is in control of the digestive and metabolic processes of the body. If you’re a Pitta, you usually are of medium weight and height. It is also common for you to have thinning hair or to be bald, although some Pittas have bright red hair. You likely eat a variety of foods, since your digestive system is so strong, and you can function well on just a few hours of sleep. When your Pitta is healthy, you are able to healthily digest information and life experiences. If Pitta becomes imbalanced, you may experience physical symptoms like heartburn, indigestion, skin rashes, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure and inflammation. This is the result of having too much of the fire element in your body.
Too much of the Pitta dosha in the mind can also cause anger and irritability. This is a sign that it’s time for you to slow down and calm your body and mind. Go for a walk in a park filled with trees and flowers, and limit your consumption of alcohol, which is also referred to as “fire water” in Ayurvedic medicine.
Earth and water are the elements that make up the Kapha dosha. Physical traits of someone with a strong Kapha dosha include thick hair, smooth skin and large eyes. People whose Kapha dominates are stable and reliable. However, when a person has too much Kapha, the body will react with symptoms like allergies, weight gain and water retention. If there is excess mental Kapha, stubbornness and a resistance to change are the result.
If Kapha is most abundant in your body, you have a tendency to hold onto things like a job, relationship or way or life long after it is no longer healthy or beneficial for you. To get your Kapha back in balance, start being more physically active. This should be fairly easy, since people with a dominant Kapha dosha tend to have exceptional stamina. Eat foods that are slightly spicy to boost your metabolism, and consume meals in smaller portions. Also, give away clothing or items that you are no longer using to free up your physical and mental space.
Keep all three of your doshas in good health, regardless of which one naturally dominates in your body, is key to achieving good health. In addition to meditation and light exercise, there are also eating plans, like the dosha balancing diet, that help your body to begin desiring foods that are good for you. During times of stress or fatigue, we tend to reach for snacks and meals that are harmful to the body in an attempt to gain immediate comfort. However, listening to your body’s signals and striving for balance in all things will bring about the peace of mind and body that is required for the doshas to function properly.