Dosha types are the classifications used in the practice and study of Ayurveda to categorize the primary body-mind personalities. The traditional Indian practice of Ayurveda determines a person’s natural tendency as being dominant in Vata, Pitta, and Kapha doshas. These three dosha types have specific characteristics in each person, that can often become out of balance and have a direct impact on the person’s mental and physical well-being. Each type also corresponds to a natural force; Vata for air, Pitta for Fire, and Kapha for Earth. These natural forces make up a person’s dosha personality, and can also vary by season and environment.
Vata dosha types can be described as the elements of space and air. When Vata dosha is dominant, the characteristics are dry or rough skin, lightweight, lots of movement, quick, rapid thinking and talking, creative, and enthusiastic. These types tend to move towards warm environments, and are light sleepers. When Vata is out of balance, all of these qualities can become pronounced or ‘aggravated’ in the sense that they take over other qualities. This aggravation can lead to insomnia, confusion and lack of focus, inability to concentrate for long periods of time, excessive hurriedness, and extreme fatigue as a result! In order to balance the Vata dosha, there are some lifestyle changes that can be incorporated into the daily routine.
For food, Vata’s should choose a few healthy and high-fat options such as olive oil, ghee, and butter. They need to eat plenty of cooked food such as soups, hot cereal, and hot beverages. It is recommended that they avoid dry, uncooked, and cold foods as these are unlikely to digest properly. Increasing digestion with spices such as turmeric and cumin also adds some variety to meals. Vata’s can also try sipping on warm water throughout the day.
Lifestyle changes include grounding walks outside and in nature, light jogging, and stretching early in the morning. Yoga and centering exercises are also excellent ways to ground the Vata dosha. In addition, it is advisable to take time to wind down at the end of the day, and practice concentration for focused periods of time.
Pitta dosha types can be described as elements of fire and water. Physical traits include a balanced and even figure, and are often average to medium height and stature. Personality traits of the Pitta dosha include: highly creative, easily ‘flowing’ from one subject to another, intense, ambitious and a marked self-confidence. Pitta’s are moderate sleepers, and prefer cooler environments. When the Pitta dosha is out of balance, these types can become easily irritable, intolerant, easily stressed out, angry and bitter, obsessive, and very critical. In order to balance the Pitta dosha, there are some lifestyle changes that can be incorporated into the daily routine.
For food, Pitta’s should choose cooling and nourishing foods such as milk, cold juicy fruit, almonds, and dates. Dry cereal, granola bars, and cereal are excellent snack choices. Vegetables such as broccoli, green beans, and brussel sprouts are good for cooking nutritious meals, and lightly spiced dishes are recommended.
Lifestyle choices include water-based activities and nothing that involves too much sun. Meditation is recommended for the Pitta dosha, as is making sure that there is enough time to get adequate sleep.
Kapha dosha types can be described as elements of water and earth. The Kapha dosha qualities contribute to a heavy, slow disposition but also translates to a larger frame, thick skin, calm and stable thought. Kapha’s are generally long sleepers. When the Kapha dosha is out of balance, it is most likely caused by lack of exercise, too many fried, sweet, or salty foods, and sleeping during the day. The result can be weight gain, excessive tiredness, oily hair, and feeling unmotivated. In order to balance the Kapha dosha, there are some lifestyle changes that can be incorporated into the daily routine.
For food, Kapha’s should choose light, warming foods such as vegetable soups, beans, and stews. They need to avoid using too much salt, spices, or extra flavorings to enhance food. Other choices include dry cereal, crackers, and light whole grains and staying away from excess sugar.
Lifestyle changes for the Kapha dosha include physical exercise every day. Vigorous exercises such as jogging, aerobics, or any high-cardio activity are ideal. Puzzles, a new class, or starting a new hobby can also help in creating movement both physically, and mentally. Kapha’s need to make sure to deeply cleanse the skin and use a concentrated shampoo to regulate excess oil for the hair and scalp. They can also drink warm water to detoxify the body naturally. Meditation is important to rest and recharge at the end of a busy day.
Once you have established what type of Dosha dominates your daily lifestyle, it is easy to determine where you may need to create balance. Remember that each person is made up of all three Doshas, but one usually dominates for a period of time. The levels can vary by season, emotional changes, or climate, so be sure to take the time to understand what best suits you. When you take the steps to make lifestyle and dietary changes, you will notice a greater state of well-being, and an overall grounded state of mind. You’ll quickly notice that your appetite becomes better regulated, and your body much better rested in just a few short weeks!