Monday, April 29, 2013

Introduction to Ayurveda: The Doshas

Back in February I wrote this post about The Elements as part of introducing Ayurveda to my readers. I got distracted by visitors, recipes, and being sick. But now I am ready to share more information with you about Ayurveda. Once we have an understanding of the five major elements: fire, water, earth, air, and ether we can explore the doshas.

The doshas, three major principles of ayurveda, are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. All three are found in every part of the universe. The elements pair up to create the doshas. 

Vata is the combination of air and space and is associated with movement. It governs breathing, blinking, muscle movement, the pulsation of the heart, and digestion.

Pitta is the combination of fire and water and expressed through the metabolic system. It controls digestion, absorption, assimilation, nutrition, metabolism, and body temperature. 

Kapha is the combination of water and earth and creates structure and form. It is the "glue" that holds our bodies together such as our bones, water, lubricates joints, moisturizes skin, and maintains immunity. 

The exiting part is when you can start to apply the three doshas to your individual body. Remember, everyone has all three doshas in their body makeup but certain aspects become stronger in each individual. These descriptions are a great generalization just to introduce the difference between the doshas.

Vata (Air and Space)

  • Thin, long bones
  • Low body weight, poor development of muscles
  • Fast movements and speech
  • Creative, anxious, variable personality
  • Short memory but quick understanding
  • Crave sweet, sour, and salty tastes
Pitta (Fire and Water)
  • Medium build and sharp features
  • Good digestion and metabolism
  • Intellectual, strong mind, impatient, and irritable
  • Skin is soft and warm
  • Crave sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes
  • Body temperature is slightly hot
  • Emotional tendencies towards hate, anger and jealousy when provoked, and passion and drive towards things they love
  • Good leaders
Kapha (Water and Earth)
  • Sturdy and strong build
  • Slow speech and movement
  • Great memory
  • Thick skin
  • Reliable, steady, and loving but can exhibit greed, attachment, and envy
  • Crave pungent, bitter, and astringent foods
Question of the Day: Which of the three doshas do you relate more strongly towards?

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