Before becoming certified to teach yoga, I did not know a lot about Ayurvedic medicine. I knew that it originated from Eastern cultures and was a more holistic approach to medicine. I knew that it often went hand in hand with yoga. But that was the extent of my knowledge. It wasn’t until I entered training that I finally learned what my dominant dosha was and that knowing it could help me to stay more balanced and healthy both physically and emotionally.
You may be asking yourself “what the heck is a dosha?!”
You may also be asking yourself “what the heck is Ayurvedic medicine?!”
Let me explain….
As I said before, Ayurvedic medicine is a holistic approach to healthcare that originated in the East thousands of years ago. The two main principles of Ayurveda are: 1) the mind and the body are inextricably connected, and 2) nothing has more power to heal and transform the body than the mind.
Have you ever been so emotionally upset that it made you sick to your stomach? Or gotten a tension headache after a long stressful day? The mind affects the body in ways we still don’t fully understand. Ayurvedic medicine addresses both the physical and emotional.
Now onto doshas…. There are 3 mind/body types in Ayurveda called doshas. They are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each type has specific physical and emotional traits. Each human being possesses a unique combination of these doshas but usually one is dominant.
Still with me?
Your dominant dosha type effects your physical constitution, psychology and way of thinking. Each mind/body type tends to get imbalanced in unique ways as well. Once you know your dosha, you can begin to tailor your lifestyle and eating habits in a way to keep you balanced and healthy.
Which dosha are you dominant? There’s a ton of quizzes online that you can take to find out, but here’s a breakdown of just the basics…..
Physically, Vata individuals are thin with prominent bony structures, tend to be cold all the time and prone to dry skin and hair.
Mentally, they learn quickly but also often forget quickly. They enjoy change, and are very creative. Vata’s tend to get enthusiastic about new things but change their mind/mood easily.
Emotionally, Vata types are excitable and enthusiastic but prone to anxiety. It’s best to maintain a regular routine to remain in balance. When in balance, Vatas tend to be active, creative, and gifted with a natural ability to express and communicate. Out of balance they can become anxious, overstimulated or excessively tired.
Physically, Pittas have a medium (possibly muscular) build. Often they will have blond/white, reddish, golden, grey or receding hair. They are prone to have skin that is generally more sensitive, maybe freckly and burns easily.
Mentally, Pittas have a powerful intellect and a strong ability to concentrate.They are precise, sharp-witted, direct, and often outspoken.
Emotionally, Pittas tend to be more fiery, dynamic, focused, and competitive. They tend to like order, systems and ‘having lists’. When they’re in balance, they are good decision makers, teachers, and speakers. Out-of-balance pittas can be demanding, short-tempered and argumentative.
Physically, Kapha individuals usually have a larger/sturdier build. Often they have soft but possibly oily skin, bright eyes, and thick lustrous hair. They also can be prone to sluggish digestion and weight gain.
Mentally, Kaphas tend to be slow to start new things/get information, but once understood they have great endurance and rarely forget things.
Emotionally, Kaphas are usually sweet, dependable, earthy, stable & supportive. They tend to be easygoing and passive. They are not easily stressed. When in balance, kaphas can be a point of stability for others. Out of balance, they are prone to depression and laziness.
Once again, all 3 doshas are present in each individual. One thing I was very excited to discover is that my husband, daughter and myself are each dominant in each of the 3 different doshas. We are very well balanced as a family!
I am an almost textbook example of a Vata, from my dry skin and hair to my tendency to be anxious and overstimulated.
My daughter, bless her fiery soul, is a definite Pitta. This child is determined, feisty, hot tempered, and extremely intelligent. She is also ridiculously argumentative. I would find it impressive if I didn’t have to go head to head with her each day…. yikes.
My husband…. oh my dear sweet husband. He is a Kapha through and through. Before learning about the doshas, I had difficulty even classifying the type of individual my husband is. I still have yet to meet anyone else as easygoing, sweet, and dependable. He’s truly a gentle soul and we’re blessed to have him.
I always felt that my little family was complete with just the 3 of us. I feel as though our personalities fit so well and learning about Ayurvedic medicine only went to reinforce this belief.
There’s also a ton of homeopathic treatments that are part of the Ayurvedic lifestyle. I know I’m a big nerd but I think it’s really interesting stuff. Let me know what you think!
Love and Light,
PS. If you’re curious about your dosha, I found this quiz pretty helpful.