How Ayurveda Can Benefit You
You are unique. Your path to perfect health is unique. Your body has the ability to heal itself. Sounds pretty good, right? Well, it’s true! Ayurveda, a natural healing system originating in ancient India, is based on these very principles and has been successfully practiced for over 5,000 years. Ayurvedic treatment involves a twofold approach: One, remove the causes of imbalance. Two, nurture the body’s innate ability to heal itself using the medicine that Mother Nature has provided.
The healing programs offered at Dakini Ayurveda are based on effective, time-honored principles that focus on understanding your particular body-mind constitution and the unique nature of your imbalance.
The Tree “Doshas”
In Ayurveda, the three “doshas” are the foundation of health and disease in the body. The doshas are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each dosha is composed of two elements and, therefore, has the qualities of those elements:
- Vata (air & ether) is light, dry, hard, cold and mobile.
- Pitta (fire & water) is hot, light, sharp, penetrating, and slightly moist.
- Kapha (water & earth) is moist, cold, heavy, soft and stable.
The doshas are bodily humors, which are constantly functioning in relationship to one another in order to carry out the physiological processes of the body and mind. Each person has all three doshas, but the ratio of the doshas differs from person to person. Ayurvedic treatment is based upon determining:
- Prakruti = Your doshic constitution.
- Vikruti = Your current state of imbalance caused by an excess of one or more of the doshas.
Your prakruti is the ratio of the doshas at the moment of your conception, and it is the balance of the doshas where you experience “perfect health.” When any of the doshas become excessive, you will experience symptoms of imbalance and disease characteristic of the excessive dosha(s). This is your vikruti. Your Ayurvedic practitioner works to bring the doshas back to a state of balance (your prakruti) with a carefully developed treatment plan created specifically for you.
For example, if your prakruti is 60% Vata, 20% Pitta, and 20% Kapha, that balance of the doshas is where you will experience ideal health. How is this determined? And what does that mean? The qualities of the dosha or doshas that are most predominant in a person’s constitution will be expressed through his or her physical structure, long-term bodily functioning, personality, mind and emotions. If this was your prakruti you would be predominant in Vata and your physical structure, long-term bodily functioning, personality, mind and emotions will likely have a predominance of the mobile, light, cold, irregular, dry and hard qualities of Vata (both figuratively and literally). As any of the doshas become excessive beyond that ratio for you, you will experience symptoms of whatever dosha or doshas are out of balance. Every symptom or disease that manifests can be attributed to an imbalance of one or more of the doshas.
(Note: The following are very brief examples of each doshic type and should not be considered as a full explanation of each constitution.)
Vata dominant people tend to be thin, petite or very tall with a small frame, have small features, tend to feel cold, and have dry skin and mucous membranes. The light, mobile, and cold qualities can also be seen in their minds and emotions. When balanced, Vata-types are enthusiastic, vivacious, creative, and inspired. Vatas make exceptional artists and healers. Their speech is often fast or dreamy, as their minds and speech represent the mobile or ethereal quality of the air and ether elements. Vata-types or those with Vata vikruti tend toward low stamina, depletion, fatigue, and cold, light, mobile emotions and states of mind, such as worry, anxiety, fear, insomnia, and overwhelm.
Pitta dominant people express the hot, light, sharp, penetrating and oily qualities of the fire and water elements in body and mind. Physically, they tend to have moderate frames and/or athletic build, and fairer complexions that burn most easily in the sun. When balanced, the Pitta mind is clear, focused, and intelligent. The light of the Pitta mind has the ability to discern truth and light the way for other seekers. In this way, Pitta types make excellent leaders and teachers. When out of balance, the fiery qualities of the body and mind may become excessive, expressing itself through imbalances such as burning indigestion, inflammation, acne, anger, jealousy, competitiveness, or extreme ambition.
Kapha dominant people embody the qualities of the earth and water elements, which are moist, cold, heavy, soft and stable. Physically, kaphas have solid and stable builds, with the tendency to become overweight when out of balance. Given that Kapha is the dosha with the greatest mass, the features of Kapha types are often the largest of the three types. Large, beautiful eyes, round face, thick hair, full lips, and curvy frames are all possible physical manifestations of the Kapha dosha. When balanced, Kaphas are incredibly grounded and nurturing, often being “the rock” of mental and emotional stability upon whom others depend. Their voice and speech is often slow, stable, thoughtful and melodic. When out of balance, the heavy, stable and moist qualities of Kapha may become excessive, leading to symptoms such as mental and physical lethargy, excess mucous, weight gain, and melancholy.