The ancient traditional Indian medicine of Ayurveda is all about achieving balance between the three types of life energy: Vata, Pitta and Kahpa, known as the doshas. If one or other of the doshas is dominant, physical or mental complaints can arise. An ayurveda programme is geared around restabilising equilibrium between the three doshas. At birth, we all receive our own ‘Dosha mix’ of physical characteristics, immune system, character and behavioural traits.
Which type is most dominant in you?
Vata: impulse principle Vata dosha governs physical movement, the nervous system and elimination processes.
A Vata type is mobile and enjoys change and excitement. Vatas are always on the go and bursting with energy. This energy comes in fits and starts, and a Vata type will often also experience bouts of tiredness. Vatas soon get angry but forgive just as quickly. They tend to have a slight build, dry skin and hair and cold hands and feet. They are light sleepers and have a sensitive digestive tract.
Ask yourself: Do you get hungry at random times? Do you enjoy excitement and change? Do you go to bed at varying times? Do you skip meals? Do you hurry places? Do you have emotional outbursts that soon pass and are easily forgotten?
In Balance: cheerful, enthusiastic, energised, creative and flexible. Take initiative and are animated conversational partners.
Out of balance: weight loss, constipation high blood pressure, arthritis, restlessness, digestive issues, and tendency to worry, fear and insomnia.
Words associated with Vata: movement, changeable, air, space, dry, cold, light, refined, fast.
Pitta: fire principle Pitta dosha governs digestion and energy production.
Pittas are fiery types. They are intense, precise, witty, direct and outspoken. Pittas are strong thinkers and have good concentration. But they can become easily frustrated, impatient and hot-headed. Pittas have an average body weight, some have red hair, but thinning hair or baldness is also common. They have a strong digestive system and high body temperature. They sleep like babies, but not for too long, and have a healthy libido.
Ask yourself: Do you feel famished if you don’t eat at meal times? Do you hate wasting time? Do you wake up at night feeling hot or thirsty? Do you like to take charge? Are you demanding or critical? Do you often get skin rash? Did you go / are you going grey young or is your hair thinning? Do you wake in the mornings and find it difficult to get back to sleep? Do you suffer from heartburn? Are you a perfectionist?
In balance: excellent decision makers, eloquent, good teachers, a healthy colour, lots of energy, a good appetite and perfect digestion.
Out of balance: a short fuse, quick to get into debates, skin rash, stomach ulcers, overheating, heartburn.
Words associated with Pitta: intense, metabolism, fire and water, hot, sharp, light, moist, fluid, acidity.
Kapha: structure principle Kapha dosha governs the body’s structure. Kapha binds the cells together and builds muscles, fat, bones and nerves.
Kapha types have a sturdy build and great stamina. They are big, have soft eyes, soft glowing skin and thick hair. They are good sleepers and their digestion is regular. Kaphas have a calm nature, are thoughtful, empathic, attentive and loving. They enjoy life and feel good with routine and permanency. They therefore have a tendency to stick in relationships or jobs for longer than is good for them.
Ask yourself: Do you think for a long time before making a decision? Do you have trouble getting out of bed in the mornings? Do you need a lot of coffee? Do you resign yourself to situations? Are you an emotional eater? Are you very compassionate?
In balance: strong, loyal, patient, steadfast and supportive.
Our of balance: weight gain, moisture retention, allergies, staying in bed too long, asthma, diabetes, depression, stubbornness.
Words associated with Kapha: structure, permanency, water and earth, heavy, cold, oily, sweet, stable, slow, soft, viscous, sluggish, supple.
Read more information about Ayurveda on our Special Ayurveda Information Page