What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is a traditional system of medicine that originated in ancient India over 5,000 years ago. The word “Ayurveda” is derived from the Sanskrit words “Ayur” (meaning life) and “Veda” (meaning knowledge or science). Ayurveda is often referred to as the “science of life” or the “knowledge of longevity.”

Ayurveda is based on the principle that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit. It focuses on promoting good health, preventing illness, and treating diseases through natural means.

Ayurveda is the sister science of yoga. It is not only a set of guidelines for eating and digestion, but also a lifestyle design choice.

Why Should We Care?

Adopting an ayurvedic lifestyle can radically change your life for the better. Ayurveda believes there are three constitutional types, made from five elements, called doshas. Each of us are born with a dominant dosha type, with the other two in differing percentages. Our dosha determines how our digestion works, which is the root of all health and wellbeing.
In Ayurveda, the primary goal is to restore and maintain balance among the doshas. This is achieved through a holistic approach that includes lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, herbal remedies, massage, meditation, yoga, and other therapeutic practices. Ayurvedic treatments are personalized according to an individual’s dosha and specific health concerns.

What Are The Doshas?

The three doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata is a combination of the elements Air and Ether. Pitta is Fire and Water. Kapha is Earth and Water. In addition to our constitutions, the doshas govern seasons of the year and time of day. Understanding the dosha influences will allow us to tailor our eating and activities for optimal wellbeing.

What Are The Qualities Of The Doshas?

Vata constitutional types tend to be thin, with pale skin and a tendency toward dryness. They are often cold and experience constipation. Vata governs Fall and early Winter, the hours of 2-6 (am and pm), and life after age 50.

Pitta constitutional types tend to be medium build/athletic, with reddish skin and a tendency towards oiliness. They are often warm and with irritable digestion (more than 1-2 eliminations per day). Pitta governs Summer, the hours of 10-2 (am and pm), and adulthood (30-50).

Kapha constitutional types tend to be curvier, with luminous skin. They are  often cool and with slow digestion. Kapha governs the late Winter and Spring seasons, the hours of 6-1 (am and pm) and childhood (birth-30).

How Can I Find Out My Dosha?

There are lots of online quizzes for identifying your dosha. One of my favorite sites for Ayurvedic education and products is banyanbotanicals.com. I highly recommend checking out their site to find out your dosha. 

Do Doshas Change?

While the dosha you are born with, called Prakriti, does not change, you can become out of balance. Being out of balance means you have an excess of one dosha in your body versus your natural state. It is easiest to go out of balance in your dominant dosha, often by eating foods that stimulate that dosha. Similarly, it is important to take the seasons into account , and the time of day, as those “add” influence for that dosha.

How Can I Learn More?

If you’re interested in learning more about yourself, and how you can make changes to your lifestyle to support optimal health and wellbeing, there are tons of wonderful online resources, such as the Banyan Botanicals website. I have listed some of my favorite sites, products and books in the Resources section.

If you’d like to have an in-depth discovery session about your doshas and how to incorporate Ayurvedic practices into your life, please reach out to book a consultation!


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