Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ayurveda: The Three Doshas

Ok, so remember I said that doshas are “mind-body personality types”? Did you take the test from my first post about Ayurveda? It's all about Earth's natural patterns & rhythms, remember? Ayurvedic tradition believes that there are actually 5 elements in our world, which are: Space (in Sanskirt, Akasha), Air (Vayu), Fire (Tejas), Water (Jala), and Earth (Prithivi). The three doshas are a mixture of two of these elements. Your ‘main’ dosha combination describes your natural tendencies – however nature pre-determined you to be (your habits/behaviors/personality traits/etc).

 This main combination is called your prakriti, which literally means nature. It is “just the way you are,” as we say. We actually tend to relate to TWO doshas, one more strong or pronounced, and the other being secondary. Occasionally, a person can be tri-doshic - equally relating to all three.  Anyway, did you take the test to find out a bit about yourself? Once that’s out of the way, read below for a little more information about your possible tendencies!

A candle from my little altar in the space where I practice yoga at home.

Pitta is a combination of fire and water.  As for physical make up, this person tends to be of an average or medium build, with good muscle development.  So, not very thin or wispy, and not carrying much extra weight.  Their skin might tend to be rosey & they may have freckles.  Their body temperature might run a bit warm. 

They are also warm and friendly in personality (when in balance).  These are the clever folks, they can be quite fast at working out their thoughts – possessing a quick processing time.  Thus, they are sharp in intellect, they’re intelligent.  A Pitta person is passionate and likes to lead, so they are also courageous and quick to jump to action.  Pittas seem to focus intensely on getting from point A to point B in a very direct and purpose-driven way.  Their downfall is that they can be arrogant and well – sometimes mean.  Ever heard the phrase “being burned” by someone? A Pitta sometimes cannot understand why everyone is not as concerned with quickness or efficiency as they are, so they can be judgmental.

Mr. Blue Sky made fun of me for taking this picture of mud on one of our park explorations.

Kapha is a combination of Earth and water.  The typical physical body of this kind tends to be heavier, built a little more thickly, perhaps larger bones, a little extra weight - curvaceous maybe.  Their skin can be smooth and oily, and they might have a bit darker skin tone.  

I'll just say it: these folks are slow-going.  The upside is that that means they are calm, content & steady, not easily thrown off balance (not quick to anger like Pitta or quick to worry like Vata).  In fact they love routine and are quite methodical.  Kaphas are the best at enduring. While they lack speed, they have great stamina or patience.  They are loyal, dependable, and considered the most loving or nurturing of the doshas for these reasons.  However, when out of balance, they can become very lazy - to the point of inertia, doing nothing. At times, they are prone to deep depression.  They tend to accumulate things, like objects, but they also tend to hold on to bad relationships longer.  If stuck in a routine they may at times become boring.  If out of balance, they may also be clingy or over-protective.  

All this, and all I had to do was take a step outside and look up :)

Vata is a mixture of air and space.  The Vata body is light, thin, and tall.  They have a high metabolism and tend to be light eaters.  These guys just naturally forget to eat.  While prone to napping, they are light sleepers and sometimes suffer insomnia.  Their skin tends to be dry and they tend to feel chilly often, especially the hands and feet.

As far as personality goes, Vatas are wonderful communicators and skilled at lively conversation.  Like Pitta, they are also quick thinking.  They are considered most creative of the doshas.  Thus, they adapt easily and can be spontaneous.  When out of balance, they are prone to excess anxiety & will tend to worry.  An unbalanced Vata can also be irresponsible and inconsistent.

So, what do you think? Can you relate to any of these, have you gained a little insight?  I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about Ayurveda, because I'm slightly obsessed and will be talking about it here again in the future!  In fact, next time I'll let you know how I feel about my own dosha combination, and how to keep our doshas in balance.  

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