In Ayurveda there is no set formula
Ayurveda is not alone in attempting to classify humans into different types. For example, in ancient medicine and in European medicine, both ill and healthy people have long been classified into four temperaments: melancholic, choleric, phlegmatic and sanguine.
In Indian medical teachings from the Vedic era which date back thousands of years, this classification determines the advice given to patients on how to live their life. Ayurveda in India and Sri Lanka is characterised by a holistic approach to humanity, the classification system of the so-called “Dosha” types is based on more than just nutrition, diet or some kind of miracle cure.
If you’re interested in Ayurveda and are open to advice on becoming healthier, it’s worth considering the question of “Which dosha type am I?”
Thousands of years of experience, shared over generations
Translated from the ancient Indian Sanskrit, the language of priests, doctors and yogis, “dosha” means something similar to “the decisive factor”. In the old script of the Vedic sages and healers, three doshas are defined: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
These in turn are composed of the five classical elements:
The properties of these elements significantly influence the doshas. According to these teachings, the entire world is formed from these basic materials, including human beings. However, our world and the people who inhabit it are far too complex to be summed up in a few attributes. And so doshas are connected with further qualities:
- Vata – air & space (movement)
- Pitta – fire and water (metabolism)
- Kapha – water & earth (structure)
A living person cannot simply by slotted by branch of medicinal science or a doctor into a formula. We come from a family, change over the course of our lives, and are influenced by the environment around us. And it is this very interplay between individual qualities which must be considered.
The basic scheme
Using this basic, experiential principle of Ayurveda, the three doshas are classified based on the innate characteristics and functions of our bodies.
Here is what they stand for:
Vata – the principle of movement
- Awareness, movement, vitality
Pita – the metabolic principle
- Metabolism, burning/digestion, heat balance, energy
- Purposefulness, emotions, intelligence
Kapha – the structural principle
- Shape, structure, cohesion, fluidity/liquid
- Balance, stability, memory
Every individual possesses characteristics and influences from all three doshas but usually one is prevailing. We are unique, individual, different. As well as this our behaviour sometimes follows typical patterns and sometimes is entirely dependent on the situation, and is an interaction both with other individuals and with our environment as a whole.
According to Ayurvedic medicine, if the three doshas are in balance then one is healthy. This however should not be seen as license to simply forget about the balance of one’s doshas. Mindfulness is the magic word for a fulfilling life.
If however our inner balance is not maintained, this can cause a feeling of discomfort, which could lead to illness in the case of increasing and persistent imbalance. Consequently, it is useful to explore your basic constitution, and to lead a lifestyle which is balanced and consistent with your own inner constitution.
Everyone’s a mixture
Depending on which doshas are strong or weak, we belong to one of three types:
- Vata type
- Pitta type
- Kapha type
Everyone will probably recognise themselves as fitting more or less into one type. In reality, however, mixed types prevail (Pitta-Vata type, Kapha-Pitta type, etc.)
Questioning is vital
A sound constitutional analysis is performed by a trained Ayurvedic doctor or therapist by means of a detailed interview and examination of the tongue, face and pulse. Individual health recommendations, assistance with regeneration, diet tips, herbal treatments and yoga exercise will be offered based on your analysis.
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