In his book Living Buddha, Living Christ, Thich Nhat Hanh states the following:
“In Buddhism, understanding is essential to love. Without understanding there cannot be true love, and without love there cannot be true understanding.”
On my personal journey through Ayurveda, I learned how to first understand myself. Ayurveda is derived form the Sanskrit words ayus meaning life and veda meaning wisdom. Ayurveda is the wisdom of life. It is a complete medical system offering a proven guide for a life of happiness, vitality, love and purpose. It is one of the oldest healing systems that has been in continue use since its cognition approximately 5,000 years ago. It has been recognized by WHO since 1980 as a valid and complete medical system.
One of the foundational concepts in Ayurveda is that everything is comprised of the basic five elements. The five elements are Space, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. These elements exist both within and around us.
Ayurveda positions the five elements into constitutional types called doshas. A dosha simply is Ayurveda’s shorthand way of describing which of the elements are most prominent in a particular being. It is said at conception, there is determined a unique amount of each element for each being which then governs every natural function and regulates every process within that being throughout their life. There are three doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each one of us contains all three, but most of us have predominance of one or two doshas. Our doshas can be in balance or out of balance.
Vata: space and air.
Physically such people are either very tall or very short, non- muscular, and thin and bony. They tend to have a quick gait with short fast steps. Their skin is generally thin and cool. The hair is thin. The face is usually long and angular. Eyes tend to be small, narrow or sunken. The mouth is often small with thin/narrow lips. The voice is soft with fast speech.
In Vata’s balanced expression, such beings are creative, enthusiastic, generous, joyful and vivacious. Vata people have restless minds and tend to be forgetful. They are active with sensitive natures. Often they are artistic with a good imagination. When out of balance, they may become fearful, worried and anxious with tendency to over-analyze. Sleep is light and often can be interrupted.
Pitta: fire and water
Physically Pitta people are moderately well developed with muscular limbs and a purposeful, stable gait of medium speed. They tend to have a loud, strong voice and precise, convincing speech. The skin is fair, soft, lustrous, warm, and tends to burn with sun exposure. They have freckles, moles, and a tendency for rashes. The hair is often fine and soft, either light colored or reddish hair that tends to gray early.
Pittas in balance express courage, happiness, intelligence, discernment, confidence, and enthusiasm for knowledge. Pittas have an intellectual and precise disposition due to a very alert, focused mind. Out of balance they can be sharp, irritable/angry, jealous and aggressive. With a developed sense of responsibility and decision making abilities, they tend to be good leaders. Often they have a good sense of humor. Their excellent memory makes them fast learners.
Kapha: water and earth
Kapha predominate people tend to have a broad, well-developed frame and large, and long limbs. They often have that perfect media voice with a pleasant, deep and resonant voice with low, slow, rhythmic speech. The skin is usually thick, oily, pale or white and cold. They tend to have abundant, thick, wavy hair and deer-like eyes that large and welcoming.
In their balanced expression, Kapha is warm, caring, grounded, compassionate, fulfilled, patient, stable, kind and supportive.
They are slow to anger. They are honorable. Out of balance, they can be lethargic or slug bugs. They are excellent in logical analysis since they take their time before reaching conclusions. Often they take long hours of deep sleep with a strong tendency of oversleeping.
Perhaps you see yourself in the descriptors above. If you want more information about your dosha please go to www.chopra.com and take the dosha quiz. Enjoy!