Ayurveda plays an important role in our everyday lives. The Sanskrit word for “science of life” is a healing practice commonly known to balance our lives through diet, exercise, routines, and spiritual practices. It is also the basis of Vedic astrology and can be applied to yoga for a more healing practice.
The underlying principles of Ayurveda brings you into alignment with your natural circadian rhythm, which is your internal clock. Living in sync with your personal timetable helps you sleep better, be more alert during the day, balance hormones, and improve your overall health and wellbeing. Your circadian rhythm also helps you live in harmony with nature as the seasons change.
Basic Principles of Ayurveda
Everything consists of the three main doshas, or constitutions — vata, pitta, and kapha. The doshas are present in our minds, bodies, food, time of day, seasons, geography, and the planets. Each dosha represents a different element. Vata is air and ether. Pitta fire and water. Kapha earth and water.
Doshas are interconnected. Vata is bodily movement, joints, breathing, creativity, feelings and emotions. Pitta is our body heat, digestion, secretions (like sweat), and intelligence. Kapha provides fluid to joints and skin, helps us retain memory, being loving and compassionate, and keeps us stable.
We are born with all three constitutions, but one is dominate throughout life. However, it is possible to have two that are prominent. For example, a person can be vata, vata-pitta, or vata-pitta-kapha. Similar combinations can be present for pitta and kapha doshas.
A vata dominate person may have a thin body and lean be towards artistry. Pitta appear muscular and may enjoy academic and athletic pursuits. Kapha have thicker bodies and are philosophical and nurturing. These descriptions are generalizations but aspects may be detected when a person is balanced.
Imbalances can result in the following physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual challenges.
- Vata — fear, anxiety, gas, mentally scattered, large intestine issues
- Pitta — anger, indecisive, foul bodily odor, issues with stomach and small intestine
- Kapha — greed, jealousy, unhealthy attachment, and problems with lungs and chest
Changes in meals, exercise, and spiritual practices are some of the ways imbalances are corrected. An assessment may also include herbs, yoga, meditation, and living in a different climate.
Learning About Your Dosha
A consultation with an Ayurvedic counselor will provide the deepest understanding about your dosha. They will provide an assessment of your constitution by taking your pulse and through a series of questions to determine your dosha, the presence of imbalances, and remedies for healing.
Vedic astrologers will see the constitution in the sidereal natal chart through the ascendant and moon sign. Similar to an Ayurvedic counselor, the astrologer can detect imbalances and upcoming changes due to transiting planets.
Another way to learn your ayurvedic constitution is by taking a dosha quiz about your diet, digestion, and other aspects of life. The assessment and results may not take allergies and sensitivities into account the way an Ayurvedic counselor will. Be sure to consult your doctor, therapist, and nutritionist before making changes to your lifestyle.
Ayurveda provides an understanding about the mind and body. When we feel out of alignment the science of life will guide us to live in harmony through everyday choices.