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  • Introduction to Doshas

    August 21, 2021 3 min read

    What are doshas?

    In Ayurvedic medicine, an alternative health system originating from India, doshas are universal energy elements that govern the physiological and psychological functions of the human body. Doshas include three elemental energies (i.e., Vata, Pitta, and Kapha), and each person has a unique combination.

    Allowing the various energies to find equanimity is paramount to avoid disease and illness. (Ayurveda is known as the “science of life.”)  

    According to this system of medicine, the body inhabits the elemental qualities of earth, water, fire, wind, and space. Unresolved issues in a person's life build and spill into a stew of unrest, disease, and illness. Well-being is an integral balance of the emotional, physical, and spiritual spheres. Ayurveda seeks to balance Vata, Pitta, and Kapha for maximum health.

    Yoga & Doshas | Mukha Yoga

    "Balance in the body is the foundation for balance in life." BKS Iyengar

    Vata Dosha

    Vata is the energy that governs movement and is associated with air and space elements. It is responsible for breathing, heartbeat, and muscle movement. Those with a Vata constitution often demonstrate creativity, energy, and fluidity. When out of balance, the Vata individual may experience digestion issues, fear, anxiety, and insomnia.  

    Using food as a healing medicine, Vata's are encouraged to eat warm foods, drink warm beverages, and seek out spices like ginger, cinnamon, and cumin to aid digestion.  

    Pitta Dosha

    Pitta is associated with the elements of fire and water, and it is the energy center that governs metabolism. Those with the dominating Pitta constitution often have increased metabolic activity, intelligence, and fairness. When Pitta is out of balance, a person may experience anger, inflammation, and skin problems.  

    Foods good for Pitta include cooling beverages to dose the fiery constitution, mild spices, and herbal teas (e.g., mint, chamomile, and licorice).

    Kapha Dosha

    Kapha combines earth and water prana sources. The moisture in this constitution leads to lubrication inside and outside the body for stability and growth. Emotional harmony rules this dosha except when it is out of balance, then lethargy, weight gain, congestion, and envy preside. Kapha energy, when in balance, demonstrates a calming, loving, nurturing presence.  

    Kapha, out of balance, may feel sluggish or heavy, so incorporate warm, light, and spicy foods to rev the engine. Add ginger, black pepper, and chili peppers. Eat grains, legumes, and low-fat foods.

    Exercises for each Dosha

    Vata and Pitta benefit from low-impact movement as medicine; try yoga, Tai Chi, walking, hiking, Pilates, and swimming.

    Kapha, on the other hand, thrives from cardiovascular exercises that get the heart rate up and help burn excess fat and fluids. For yoga practices, Kapha may benefit from Power Vinyasa or Hot Yoga classes.Also, consider kickboxing and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Exercise that involves short bursts of high-intensity activity followed by rest periods will help boost metabolism and energy.

    How do the natural elements govern a person’s constitution?

    The classical elemental system has a pattern of opposite (as illustrated). Think of water and fire elements on opposite ends of the spectrum; whereas air and earth are on the opposite ends of another intersection.

    The interaction of these characteristics determines the expression of someone’s doshas and determines how an ayurvedic doctor may suggest the balancing of an individual’s natural constitution.

    Elements of Doshas | Mukha Yoga

    The interaction of these characteristics determines the expression of someone’s doshas and determines how an ayurvedic doctor may suggest the balancing of an individual’s natural constitution.

    Ayurvedic practitioners have an entire spectrum of intaking and monitoring where and how people function within these categories. They may determine a person's unique doshic constitution, examine pulse diagnosis, physical examination, and questions about lifestyle and habits. More than likely, people tend to reside in one dosha but harbor traits from the other types.  

    The practitioner would use recipes, herbal supplements, lifestyle choices, yoga, and meditation to balance, heal, and purify someone’s doshas.

    Consult a certified Ayurvedic practitioner or books to learn more about the energetic health system. Curious to learn more? Read What is Ayurveda?

    Tricia Louvar l Mukha Yoga

    By Tricia Louvar; All Rights Reserved @2021

    Tricia Louvar l Mukha YogaBy Tricia Louvar; All Rights Reserved @2021