Ever heard of Ayurvedic medicine? Curious about your dosha? Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read on, my friend, read on!
Ayurvedic medicine is centered on the belief that each person has his or her own unique constitution and that understanding our unique qualities is an essential component of our health and happiness. The idea is that we are comprised of three vital energies (doshas): vata, pitta, and kapha. You may demonstrate one dosha strongly or you may be a combination of two doshas. Your dosha could also change based on a phase in your life. For example, children tend to demonstrate kapha more strongly, pitta in adolescence, and become vata in old age. An undisturbed doshic balance means a happy, healthy person! When sick, understanding what is throwing off your dosha can help you get back to health.
Ayurvedic medicine started in India about 5,000 years ago, but the tradition is recently gaining recognition in western culture. The first step is understanding your dosha, then learning how your body changes in relation to your doshic balance and how to prevent sickness based on the Ayurvedic principles.
I’m borrowing some of the information from a great book called The Book of Ayurveda: A Holistic Approach to Health and Longevity. Here are the basics (and I will say, these descriptions are not particularly flattering!):
dry, brittle, crisp, erratic, fidgety, scattering, sprawling, scaly, scratchy, empty, obvious, discreet, hidden, sensitive, flimsy, fragile, skinny, animated, changeable, swift, glassy, bitter, cool
creativity, enthusiasm, freedom, generosity, joy, vitality
“Vata skin is thin, dry, darkish, and cool, and vata hair is thin, dark, coarse, and either kinky or curly. The face is long and angular….the neck is thin and scrawny. The vata nose is small and narrow, may be long, crooked, or asymmetrical. Vata eyes are small, narrow, or sunken, dark brown or gray in color, with a dull luster. The vata mouth is small, with thin, narrow, or tight lips.”
oily, sharp, inquisitive, strong, fluid, bright, fire, fair, radiant, burning, eager, fiery, sweltering, spicy, slippery, smooth, structureless
ambition, concentration, confidence, courage, enthusiasm for knowledge, happiness, intelligence
“Pitta skin is fair, soft, lustrous, and warm, and tends to burn easily in the sun. The skin has many freckles, many moles, and a tendency to rashes. Pitta hair is fine and soft, either fair or reddish. The face is heart-shaped, often with a pointed chin. The neck is average and in proportion. The nose is neat, pointed, and average in size. Pitta eyes are average in size, either light blue, light gray, or hazel in color, with an intense luster. The pitta mouth is medium with average lips. Teeth are medium sized and yellowish.”
dense, lethargic, slippery, sleepy, tardy, clammy, mucusy, smooth, soft, firm, opaque, thick, comfortable, creamy, cushiony, mushy, receptive, calm, still, immobile
caring, centeredness, compassion, contentment, faith, fulfillment, groundedness, patience, sense of being nourished, stability, support, tenderness
“Kapha skin is thick, oily, pale, white, and cold. Kapha hair is plentiful, thick, wavy, lustrous, and generally brown. The face is large, rounded, and full. The neck is solid, with a tree-trunk quality. The kapha nose is large and rounded. Kapha eyes are attractive and large, blue or light brown in color. The kapha mouth is large, with big, full lips. Teeth are big and white, set in strong gums.”
Ready to stop guessing which is you? Take this quiz to find out what your dosha is! This is a great time of year to find out your dosha because the seasons are changing, which is a good time to evaluate your health and recalibrate for autumn. Anyone else getting wiped out by a terrible cold? Daggone kapha got me again!
Which one are you??? Firy pitta? Watery kapha? Breezy vata?