In Ayurveda, every part of wellness is completely holistic. No one component is independent of one another, and everything we do affects how we feel, look, behave, and operate. Because we are all incredibly varying individuals, we are born and shaped into different mind-body types. Our experiences, location, diet, lifestyle, social interactions, etc., all work together to design this and determine our needs.
These dispositions are known in Ayurveda as our doshas. There are three: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, and we all fit into one of them, or a combination of two, with one being the more dominant. Understanding our dosha doesn’t hold all the answers, but it can help us understand what our needs are so that we can be aware of our behaviors, and eat according to how we are feeling.
Much like Traditional Chinese Medicine, in Ayurveda, wellness is about seeking balance. Everything we do all day—everything we participate in—is input, and input has an effect on us. It’s up to us to maintain awareness and seek things that help to balance the effects of that input.
Doshas are based on the five natural elements—water, air, earth, fire, and ether. We’ve run down the doshas to give a general idea of what speaks to us as individuals, but we also recommend taking a quiz to help narrow down what dosha resonates best so that you can shape the lifestyle that serves you best.
The Vata dosha consists of the air and ether elements, making it light, dry, flowing, rough, and cool. People who are Vata dominant tend to be slim, energetic, sometimes neurotic, and a little spacey. They tend to not have a large appetite, have dry skin that lends itself to eczema or psoriasis, have fine hair, and are quick on their feet both physically and mentally.
Vatas are typically enthusiastic and quick-witted. This makes them spontaneous and fun, but they can also become easily overwhelmed. They are naturally thin but are prone to irregular eating and sleeping patterns, digestive duress, and stomach issues. It’s important for Vata types to eat foods that are opposite their disposition, as to not aggravate these instances.
Because they run cold and can feel flighty, they should eat warming, grounding foods with lots of protein and spices. Warm clothing and soft, non-aggravating materials are best for Vata types, who should try to stay warm, comfortable, and hydrated to combat an imbalance of too much Vata energy. Calming music, situations, and friends can help bring harmony to this mind-body type.
Pitta is the fire and water dosha, and those who identify with Pitta can sure be fiery. Pitta types tend to be athletic, muscular, and strong leaders. They have soft skin and tend to run hot, making them prone to hives or allergic reactions. They are deep sleepers and often have vivid dreams or nightmares. While they are great eaters and typically have a healthy appetite and digestion, they can aggravate their dosha by eating too much spicy, hot, warming, sour, or pungent foods.
In order to balance Pitta, it’s important to relax. Slow down on high-energy activity, meditate, find a solid sleep routine, and eat cooling foods. Too much spicy food can aggravate Pittas, making them agitated and upset.
The Kapha dosha is known for the earth and water elements. It’s heavy, grounded, stable, cold, thick, sturdy, and soft. Kapha types are known to be a little heavier, physically slower, and big-boned, with smooth, glowing skin and thick, shiny hair. They are known for being caring, dependable, wise, calm, happy, and romantic.
Kapha types are known to be thick-skinned, as well. They don’t take things personally too often, and they love hearing and supporting their loved ones. They are difficult to enrage but protective of their people. They tend to be more level-headed, deliberate, and intentional.
Because of their slower, intentional nature, Kapha types should avoid oversleeping as it can aggravate their disposition and cause a Kapha imbalance. They should try to eat their fair share of lighter, spicier foods rather than cool, sweet, grounding foods like bread, cream, pasta, and dense, heavy meals.
Maybe more than one of these mind-body types resonates with you, and that’s OK. Find your true type or your custom combo by taking the quiz and trying out some balancing activities!
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