I am here going to give a shamelessly potted account of the three constitutional types in Ayurdevic Medicine with tips for each.
Bear in mind that it takes YEARS to understand this science. After all, Ayurdevic Medicine is an incredibly complex ancient discipline supported by intricate theories and comprising miniscule detail. I could not hope to cover it all here in a short post so if it whets your appetite for more knowledge on the subject that is brilliant.
Basically, all people have one of three main doshas (or constitutions): there are Vata people, Pitta people and Kapha people.
Our predominant dosha will change with life circumstances and our environment and we can have combinations of the different doshas, but we still, at our core have one main dosha which guides us as to how we should treat ourselves for optimum results.
Am I Vata?
Wiry types like myself have a vata constitution. See if many of the following apply to you and if so, you are probably a Vata person:
- Flexible body, flexible mind
- Impulsive with swinging moods
- Anxious and prone to hiccups and goosebumps
- Dry and rough skin, hair, hands and feet
- Lacking in stamina
- Cold hands and feet
- Irregular appetite and thirst
- Spectacular imaginations
- Clear and empty mind – open to new ideas
The main rules to abide by if you are Vata are to consume healthy oils, eat warm or hot foods and drinks and avoid cold meals and drinks. Take warm baths and showers (and try massaging your body with oil before bathing), regularly take saunas, avoid dry cold wind. A humid environment can work well for you. Try to make sure you get enough sleep and that you eat regular and nutritious meals. Save your money rather than fritter it away on too many frivolities. If you attempt to get away with skipping breakfast or going to work after a big night of partying you will be more grotty than Pitta or Kapha folk. Drugs and alcohol are also worse for you than the other types so keep these under control. Try to find some roots to get grounded and balance your airy Vata energy. Having family will help you as will creating a cosy and welcoming home. Your word of the day is NOURISH!
Am I Pitta?
- Average height and average build
- Flushed appearance / rosy cheeks
- Sensitive to sunlight
- Headaches from heat
- Fair skin, often with freckles
- Warm body temperature
- Prone to rashes
- Can get very angry and emotionally inflamed
- Strong digestive fire
Try to cool down that heat with cool food and drinks and by living in a cool climate if possible. Stay in the shade and avoid spicy foods. Exercise in the morning or evening when it is not too hot. Avoid eating too much oily food. Meditate and spend time with laid back and gentle people. Learn to let go and laugh at yourself more. Don’t take life too seriously: remember that we are all floating around space on a giant rock and to put our troubles into perspective nobody gets out alive – your life is just a momentary miracle so be absorbed by the wonder and let go of the stress. In other words enjoy yourself! Eat lettuce and cucumber and salads and drink iced camomile tea. Your word of the day is CHILL!
Am I Kapha?
- Heavy frame
- Thick hair, usually curly
- Cold, clammy skin
- Big, attractive eyes
- Slow but steady in movement and thought
- Kind, forgiving and compassionate by nature
- Craves sweets and salt
- Tendency to water retention
- Smooth, firm skin
Just as being a Kapha person means you have a steady, loving nature it also means you can be more prone to greed, attachment and lethargy than the other types so try to open up as much as possible. Any kind of detox or de-cluttering exercises will be beneficial to you. Give or throw away items you don’t need anymore. Have faith that whatever you need in your life will materialise when you need it – so don’t cling on to things that are past their usefulness. Walk briskly in the fresh air. Make sure you go on adventures at least once a year – and if you are not keen to travel on your own, book a holiday with a tour group for those times that you don’t have a travelling companion. Mix up your routine so you don’t get stuck in a rut. Eat more small, fresh and light meals rather than a few heavy meals. Drink a lot of room-temperature water to flush out your system. Avoid salty and sugary foods: once you get used to not eating them, you won’t miss them! Your word of the day is DETOX!
This is just a taste of Ayurvedic diagnosis. If you are interested in finding out more about this, I would suggest you visit a practitioner of Ayurvedic medicine. They will be able to feel subtle aspects of your pulse to determine your constitutional type. If you get into this subject, there is much more detail including suggested recipes, career and relationship advice for each type of dosha.
You can check out some of these books on the subject to get you started:
If you start to see results from this discipline, you may become intrigued with the practice of Pancha Karma like I did. For the uninitiated, Pancha Karma is the king of all detox programs for body, mind and spirit and I shall be writing about it in my blog soon, so keep posted.