Ayurveda focuses on whole-body healing and states that a person’s dosha, a type of bodily humor, determines their personality and health.
Knowing your body type, or constitution allows you to maximize your quality of life, health, and happiness by following the recommendations for food and lifestyle for each constitution.
What is the importance of knowing your Ayurvedic body type?
The body is made of five elements — Aakash (space), Jala (water), Prithvi (earth), Teja (fire), and Vayu (air). The five elements (Panchamahabhutas) combine to form three basic bioenergies, humors or doshas, known as
1. Vata composed of space and air
2. Pitta composed of fire and water
3. Kapha composed of earth and water.
These three subtle elements govern all our life functions, personality traits and the mind-body complex that define us as individuals. Each of these doshas has specific traits.
Also read: The Power of Mindful Eating
The pitta dosha is made up of the fire and water element and it primarily governs digestion. The Vata dosha is the air element and is the force behind all types of movements in the body. The Kapha dosha is the earth element and provides moisture to the skin and lubrication to joints. Usually, in a person, two of three doshas dominate.
Benefits of knowing your Ayurvedic body type
-Personal analysis of dosha helps you know about your body and its requirements
-Knowing your dosha can help you maintain optimal health.
-It will help you to maintain a good and balanced personal, family and professional life
-Helps you to plan your lifestyle according to the requirements of your body
-Dosha analysis will help you plan a balanced diet
-This can help you to know how an imbalance is likely to occur in yourself.
Identifying which dosha (or doshas) you are, is the first step towards using Ayurveda to help you achieve a better balance in both your body and mind.
Type # 1: Are you a Vata?
Vata means ‘wind’. Hence, Vata personalities are governed by air and space. These people are all about movement, of body and thoughts. Generally described as cold, light, dry, rough, flowing, and spacious. Autumn represents vata for its cool, crisp days.
Body structure – People belonging to this class, generally find it difficult to gain weight. As they have a fast metabolism, they are thin with prominent bony structures, they tend to be cold most of the time, due to poor circulation (cold hands and feet) and have dry skin and hair. They also have little muscle tone. Their pulses are fast and weak.
Lifestyle – They are very active, mobile, restless and energetic. Their sleeping, eating and personal habits are usually irregular and erratic, make them prone to digestive issues and gas. Their sexual desire keeps on varying between extremes. As they sleep lightly and are easily disturbed, they are more prone to sleep disorder like insomnia.
Communication –Their mode of speech is generally very fast, they are talkative and enjoy talking a lot.
Mental state – Mentally and emotionally they are very quick. They are quick at gathering or displaying information’s or emotions. They tend to learn fast but their retention poor is weak, thus they forget fast as well.
Nature – Vata people are generally shy, modest and are low in confidence. They are often impatient but very flexible and adaptable to change. They usually feel stressed or worried in an unfamiliar or bad situation. They are most likely to be loners or non-conformists. They spent money quickly. They are highly creative, sensitive & kind-hearted.
Food for Balancing Vita
1. Drink warm milk (moderate dairy) and eat freshly prepared warm whole foods,
2. Eat foods that are naturally sweet, sour, and salty.
3. Use generous amounts of high-quality oils or ghee and warming spices like ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, and cumin in your daily diet
4. Avoid alcohol, caffeinated beverages, and chocolate
5. Boiled or steamed starchy vegetables (moderate broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and leafy vegetables)
6. Ripe fruits
7. Soupy grains: rice, wheat
8. Mild spices: cumin, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, coriander, salt, cloves, mustard, black pepper
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9. Tea: camomile, fennel, ginger, liquorice, lemon
Type # 2: Are you a Pitta?
Pitta body types are predominantly of the fire element. Pitta refers to the acid secretion in the stomach which helps digest food. Hence, this energy is involved in the transformation of food into energy and is signified by a combination of heat and water. It’s commonly described as hot, light, sharp, oily, liquid, and mobile. Summer is known as the pitta season for its sunny, hot days.
Body structure – People belonging to this class are medium build. They have good muscle tone and they always feel warm. They have prematurely grey hair or a victim of early balding. They have a reddish complexion, enjoy high energy level and have a good digestive system. Their skin is soft, warm often develop freckles, moles and are sunburned easily.
Lifestyle – Their desire for food and sex is very strong. Their sleep is moderate and is not easily disturbed. Their pulse is strong. They often dominate any conversation. They dislike hot weather, sunlight and heat.
Communication – They usually speak loudly and with passion.
Mental state – They are extremely intelligent, focused and ambitious people. Emotionally, they are passionate about life, have a tendency to be perfectionists, have a strong desire for success, and can become easily irritated and impatient.
Nature – They are usually extroverts and love to be the centre of attention. They manage money very carefully. They often aspire to attain positions of leaders. They enjoy competitive sports and games, either as spectators or participants. Their intelligence is high, and they have good insight and a keen sense of discrimination.
Food for Balancing Pitta
1. Drink 4—5 litres of warm or room temperature water every day
2. Use ghee, or clarified butter, in your cooking.
3. Boiled, steamed, raw vegetables
4. Sweet fruits
5. Moderate amounts of dairy
6. Soupy grains: rice, wheat, barley, oats
7. Mild, cooling spices: coriander, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, cumin, curry leaves, mint
8. Tea: fennel, camomile, peppermint, spearmint, liquorice, red clover
Type # 3: Are you a Kalpha?
Kapha (pronounced “kuffa”) is a combination of earth and water elements. These personalities are therefore often balanced, stable and calm people. It can be described as steady, stable, heavy, slow, cold, and soft. Spring is known as Kapha season, as many parts of the world slowly exit hibernation.
Body structure – People belonging to this class usually have the largest of all the body types. Physically they have wide hips and shoulders. They have thick and wavy hair. They generally have very good stamina. They are often overweight and tend to gain weight very easily. Their teeth are strong and very well-formed. Their pulse is slow and steady.
Lifestyle – They usually have a moderate or low appetite and their digestion is very slow. They enjoy eating luxury foods that taste and smells good. In physical activity, they are very slow. However, they are also very sluggish, lethargic and difficult to motivate. They love to sleep a lot.
Communication – They have a pleasant appearance and voice.
Mental state – They are slow learners, but their memory is very great. Emotionally, they tend to be very loyal and stable.
Nature – They like to be in familiar surroundings. They are money-savers and they are very good providers as well. Typically, they are serene and tranquil and their emotions are slow to become excited or aroused. However, they can be sentimental, nostalgic and romantic. They are highly tolerant and forgiving, with medium intelligence. They prefer to belong to a group, club or community. They cling to their family or familiar associations.
Food for Balancing Kapha
1. Foods that are astringent, spicy, and bitter tastes are conducive for keeping Kapha under check. Dry and warm food helps too.
2. Boiled, steamed, raw vegetables
3. Ripe fruits (except banana)
4. Fat-free buttermilk (another dairy reduced)
5. Grains: corn, millet, rye, oats, barley, wheat bran
6. Strong spices: pepper, paprika, salt, garlic, basil, cloves, allspice, fennel, mustard, turmeric, cumin, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, black pepper
7. Honey instead of sugar
8. Tea: cinnamon, fenugreek, peppermint, raspberry
To maintain good health, it is important to manage your current state of doshas proportional to your birth state. If there is a difference between the two conditions, then an imbalance can occur. Vikruti is the term used to denote this imbalance.
If your dosha is not balanced, you may be a victim of heartburn, constipation, mood swings, depression etc.