By observing nature we realize we are nature, we are not separate. When we are aligned with the natural rhythms and cycles of a day, a season, a life, we move gracefully with the ebb and flow of what is. Ayurveda offers the wisdom and experience from over 5000 years of integration and a simple (but not necessarily easy) road map for living a healthy life. The key is to understand your unique nature, your dosha.
Ayurveda is derived from two roots Ayu meaning life and Veda, which means knowledge. The knowledge of life, the science of life, is Ayurveda. It is an inclusive healing modality; Ayurveda is the mother of all medicine and at its essence understands everything through the lens of the 5-element theory. Through the foundational principles of Ayurveda we understand how one person may react to a substance in a particular way and another person has an entirely different response to the same substance. This is because we are all different!
There are three constitutional types, or doshas. The three doshas are expressions of the five elements that make up all of creation: earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Every individual has a unique ratio of these five elements, determined at conception, creating physical structure, and mental and emotional predispositions. This is your true nature, your prakruti.
Vata dosha is comprised mainly of the air and ether elements. Vata predominant types are often tall, thin, light, airy, can be very creative, enthusiastic, and adaptable. They may tend towards dry skin, constipation, overwhelm, insomnia, and worry when out of balance.
Heavy, warm, and moist foods are best as well as daily routine and stability.
Pitta dosha is made up of the elements fire and water. Pitta individuals are usually medium in build, athletic, have deep-set eyes, rosy complexion, independent, intelligent, and discriminating. When out of balance they may present with heartburn, acne, rash, diarrhoea, anger, frustration, or judgement.
Cooling and grounding foods as well as routine, and a calm, non-competitive approach to life will go a long way in keeping pitta in balance.
Kapha dosha is mostly formed from earth and water elements. Kapha types tend to be large boned, big eyes, thick skinned, have soft skin, and luxurious hair. If out of balance they may be overweight, lethargic, have excess mucous, greedy, manipulative, or attached to material comforts.
Light, warm, and spicy foods and well as daily dynamic activity help restore balance for kapha individuals.
The journey of Ayurveda takes us from our current state, vikruti, which is a state of imbalance (from very subtle symptoms to full blown disease), back to our individual true nature where we are healthy, happy, balanced, and energized.
Because we are all unique we must understand what foods, yoga practices, lifestyle, and environment will be most supportive to us as an individual for disease prevention or healing. Ayurveda is a complete, holistic system that sheds light on the most sustainable and deeply transformative practices for body-mind-and-soul.