Ayurveda, the name of this ancient Indian system is a combination of two Sanskrit words ayur – meaning ‘life’ – and veda – meaning ‘science’ or ‘knowledge’, translating into “knowledge of life”. It is based on a philosophy that human beings are an integral part of nature and we need to learn to live in harmony with our mind, body and surroundings as good health is governed by a balance of all three.
This ancient healing system of wellness always targets the root cause of disease or illness – almost always beginning with our digestion, rather than simply treating the symptoms. It is about prevention as much as healing.
“Ayurveda provides a special language for understanding the primal forces of Nature and shows us how to work with them on all levels. According to Yoga and Ayurveda, Nature consists of three primal qualities, which are the main powers of Cosmic Intelligence that determine our spiritual growth. These are called gunas in Sanskrit, meaning “what binds” because wrongly understood they keep us in bondage to the external world”. – David Frawley, Vedic Teacher.
The three doshas or functional energies present in everyone are; Vata, Pitta, and Kapha., but the ratio between them varies a great deal from one person to the next. It is the unique ratio of these three energies that determines an individual’s Prakriti (constitution).
Vata (wind) – the energy that reflects the elements of space and air; meaning ‘wind’, movement, creativity and connection. This dosha governs blood circulation, muscle movement in general, nerve impulses, breathing, blinking, communication, and your heartbeat.
Vata types are joyful, creative, optimistic, flexible, and full of enthusiasm.
Typical signs of unbalanced Vata Dosha include anxiety, excess worrying, fatigue, poor circulation, insomnia, abnormal movements, dryness of the skin and constipation.
Pitta (heat) – the energy that reflects the elements of fire and water, digestion and transformation. This dosha governs the body’s metabolic systems, including appetite, digestion, absorption, assimilation, intelligence, homeostasis, courage, and ambition. It is mainly characterised by heat or inflammation of any kind in the body.
Pitta types are warm, intelligent, independent, passionate, sharp, organized, confident and ambitious.
Typical signs of unbalanced Pitta Dosha include anger, jealousy, inflammation, excessive heat, loose stools, migraines, fever, acid reflux, high blood pressure, rashes, bruising, bleeding disorders, sharp hunger, an overactive metabolism, and difficulty sleeping.
Kapha (earth) – the energy that reflects the elements of water and earth. This dosha is responsible for mucus, tissue, fat, lubrication, growth, fluid balance, maintaining our immune system, strength, stamina, memory, and governs structure and cohesiveness.
Kapha types are mainly calm, kind, hardworking, loving, loyal, warm, strong, grounded, with smooth, radiant skin, thick hair and have excellent stamina.
Signs of unbalanced Kapha Dosha include depression, obesity, nasal allergies, asthma, slow digestion, oily skin, sluggish bowel movements, lethargy.