The Ayurveda Guide For Vata Dosha

Disclaimer:
All content included on this website (including, but not limited to,  images, photos, graphics and text) is the property of ‘Healthy Ayurveda’ and ‘Vedic Sage’ and as such is protected by US and international copyright and other intellectual property laws. 

 

Vata Dosha Disease Process

The concept of vata originates from the Sanskrit word “vyv” [vaya] which implies ‘that which moves things’. Eventually, vata began to be depicted as wind. In essence, vata is the principle and dynamic force which governs all movement. When vata is balanced it promotes great creativity, evokes feelings of freshness and lightness which springs forth the sense of happiness. When vata becomes imbalanced it then promotes dispersing qualities which can then make the mind and body vulnerable to a wide-range of health conditions. Let us now see how various factors express themselves in the realm of vata dosha.

Samprapti/Shad Kriya Kala
The ancient writings of Ayurveda describe “Samprapti” as the disease process which, if understood properly, can actually detect and address certain health conditions at each and every stage; i.e. addressing the root cause. According to this philosophy [i.e. samprapti/pathogenesis], there are six stages for the disease process.

The Six Stages Of Disease:
1. Accumulation Of Doshas – Sanchaya
2. Aggravation/Provocation Of Doshas – Prakopa
3. Spread Of Doshas – Prasara
4. Deposition/Localization Of Doshas – Sthana Samshraya
5. Manifestation Of Qualitative Changes – Vyakti
6. Differentiation & Destruction Of Tissue – Bheda

 

 

Stage One – Accumulation [Sanchaya] 
During the initial stage of vata imbalance the cold quality accumulates which may create conditions of constipation, lower abdominal distention, and gas. Likewise, this increased sensitivity to cold weather can also creates pain and stiffness in muscles and joints. The natural inherent tendency is to warm the stiff muscles and painful joints. In the same manner, our initial goal is to create this same sense of warmth within to help balance the cold quality of vata dosha.

Quality – Cold
The exposure to cold food and cold climate can aggravate vata dosha.

Introduce warm qualities such as:

  • diet: warm and spicy food
  • warming spices: ginger, black pepper, cumin, and mustard seeds
  • lifestyle: dress warm, avoid cold climates and air-conditioning
  • warm castor oil compress on the abdominal region
  • warm water bottle to the abdomen
  • warm sesame oil basti/enema

 

Stage Two – Aggravation [Prakopa] 
As vata dosha continues to become further imbalanced with cold, dry, and light qualities it soon becomes aggravated primarily in the colon with symptoms of fullness in the abdomen along with the above-mentioned symptoms of constipation, lower abdominal distention and gas.

Qualities: Cold – Dry – Light
This may occur with increased intake of raw food, exposure to gusty winds especially during the dry and cold autumn season.

Balance cold, dry, and light qualities with:

  • regular oil massage [i.e. abhyanga]
  • adding extra oil or ghee to food
  • additional warm clothing when exposed to cold & dry climate

Base oils infused with a decoction of one or more Ayurvedic herbs combine nourishing and soothing qualities of oil with the healing properties of the herbs.

– warm dashamula tea basti/enema
– triphala guggulu
– gandharva haritaki

Vata's Secondary Sites:
As vata dosha increases and begins to become aggravated in the colon [primary site], vata also begins to increase in the secondary sites which may begin creating certain signs and symptoms associated with vata dosha.

Stage Three – Spread [Prasara] 
As vata dosha continues to become further imbalanced the mobile quality now allows vata to spread from the gastrointestinal tract into the general circulation. The dry and light qualities of vata can affect blood tissue [rasa dhatu] which can create signs and symptoms of dehydration, dry skin, palpitations, ringing in the ears, cold hands and feet. Likewise, the mobile qualities of vata can begin to create physical symptoms of tics, spasms, tremors and even uncertainty [“shakiness”] within the mind; amongst many other conditions.

Qualities: Cold – Dry – Light – Mobile
Excess mobile quality of vata may arise with increased physical and mental activities such as running, jumping, flying and excess stimulation of the mind such as loud noise, excessive talking, etc.

Balance cold, dry, light, and mobile qualities with:

  • rest & relaxation
  • abhyanga [oleation massage]
  • snehana [self-massage with oil]

Prevention Is Better Than Cure
At this point, vata has now entered the general circulation and has the ability to cause disease if it enters into certain bodily tissue. Therefore, appropriate measures should be taken in order to prevent the progression of disease.

Abhyanga [Oil Massage] & Svedana [Sweating]

Vata Types may use sesame oil for the oil massage followed by swedana [sweat therapy] using a steam box under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic professional. Likewise, vata types may want to consider adding a few drops of nirgundi oil to the steam box.

Pitta Types may use sunflower oil for the oil massage followed by swedana [sweat therapy]. Likewise, pitta types may want to consider adding a few drops of sandalwood oil to the steam box during swedana – sweat therapy.

Kapha Types may use olive oil for the oil massage followed by swedana [sweat therapy]. Kapha types may want to consider using a few drops [i.e. 3-5 drops] of eucalyptus oil added to the steam box during swedana – sweat therapy.

Stage Four – Deposition [Sthana Samshraya]
This stage in the progression of vata dosha is particularly significant because the subtle quality of vata allows for the entry of vata into weakened tissue [i.e. impaired dhatu agni]. If the integrity of each tissue is intact with optimal function [i.e. dhatu agni] – then vata dosha will not be able to enter into tissue and will therefore return back to the gastrointestinal tract – where it belongs.

Stressing The Importance Of:

  • preventing the progression of doshic imbalance
  • maintaining healthy tissue integrity [agni]

Qualities: Cold – Dry – Light – Mobile – Subtle
As the qualities of vata dosha circulate through the body, the clinical manifestation of disease depends on which quality of vata predominates and which tissue is most influenced by the predominating qualities of vata dosha.

Very Briefly
Dhatus are similar to tissue. Dhatu comes from the word “dha” which means ‘to hold’. Therefore, dhatus are “that” – which hold certain functions; which is similar to our modern understanding of bodily tissue. We can think of dhatu agni as being the tissue’s protective barrier to disease. If this tissue barrier [dhatu agni] becomes impaired, this allows the qualities of vata dosha to enter the tissue and begin to create clinical signs and symptoms of disease.

Stage Five – Manifestation [Vyakti]
During this stage of the disease process the rough quality of vata predominates and now the full manifestation of disease occurs. The rough quality of vata can create conditions of fissures, fistulas and excessive rough and scaly skin [i.e. psoriasis] amongst many other health concerns.

Qualities: Cold – Dry – Light – Mobile – Subtle – Rough
Rough and raw foods will further aggravate the qualities of vata. Instead, we should consider oily and lubricating qualities such as “maha snehana” – combination of oil, ghee, animal fat and bone marrow – applied at the site of roughness.

 

As Vata Dosha spreads throughout the body and enters various bodily tissue [i.e. dhatu] it manifests as characteristic signs and symptoms such as ...

  • Impaired Rasa Dhatu allows for the subtle and mobile qualities of vata to enter into rasa dhatu [plasma] creating symptoms of fever with chills [vata jvara], dehydration, fatigue, generalized body ache, etc.
  • Impaired Rakta Dhatu allows vata to enter rakta [blood] dhatu [rakta gata vata]  which may lead to impaired circulation creating symptoms of poor circulation, cold hands and feet, blood clots, varicose veins, aneurysms, etc.
  • Impaired Mamsa Dhatu allows vata to enter mamsa [muscle] dhatu [mamsa gata vata] and create symptoms of muscle spasms – tics, restless leg syndrome muscle wasting, etc.
  • Impaired Meda Dhatu allows for vata to enter meda [adipose] dhatu [meda gata vata] which can lead to lack of lubrication with cracking and popping of ‘dry joints’, dry skin, hernias, displacement of internal organs [i.e. descending kidneys and/or spleen; due to diminished supportive omentum [adiposity].
  • Impaired Asthi Dhatu allows for vata to enter into asthi [bone] dhatu [asthi gata vata] which can create symptoms of osteoporosis, lower back pain, hair loss, splitting hair, receding gums, ringing of the ear [ear drum – specialized bone], and even thyroid dysfunction.
  • Impaired Majja Dhatu allows for vata to enter into majja [nerve/bone marrow] tissue [majja gata vata] and may create neurological symptoms of tingling and numbness in extremities, cluster headaches, tics, spasms, neuralgia and sciatica, etc.
  • Impaired Shukra/Artava Dhatu allows for vata to enter into shukra/arthava [male & female reproductive dhatu and create symptoms of various male and female health concerns.

 

Stage Six – Complications [Bheda] 
In this final stage of the disease process, the clear quality of vata leads to further complications nearly abolishing or “clearing out” the function of the already weakened tissue. Here, the individual should seek immediate care of a qualified professional.

Qualities: Cold – Dry – Light – Mobile – Subtle – Rough – Clear

Panchakarma
Once the doshas have begun to significantly cause an imbalance or disease, it soon becomes necessary to consider certain purification techniques to cleanse the body of excess doshas and toxins [“ama”]. This purification process is called “panchakarma” which involves five cleansing actions.

Panchakarma is an Ayurvedic purification system which helps to remove impurities and toxins from the physiological channels of the body. With proper purification of the body springs forth greater cellular intelligence allowing for optimal functioning of the body as a whole.

The Five Purifying Actions Of Panchakarma:

  • vamana: therapeutic vomiting
  • virechana: purgative or laxative therapy
  • basti: medicated enema therapy
  • nasya: nasal administration of medicated oils
  • rakta moksha: blood-letting; purifying blood

Click Here – To Learn More About Panchakarma

 

Disclaimer:
All content included on this website (including, but not limited to,  images, photos, graphics and text) is the property of ‘Healthy Ayurveda’ and ‘Vedic Sage’ and as such is protected by US and international copyright and other intellectual property laws. 

This information is strictly for educational purpose only and not considered medical advice. Always first discuss with your primary care physician before considering any new health regimen.

Resources:

Ayurvedic Perspective On Selected Pathologies, Vasant Lad, BAMS – 2nd Edition Revised
Textbook Of Ayurveda Vol. 3, Vasant Lad, BAMS


What The Heck Are Doshas & How Do We Keep Them Balanced?

 

What The Heck Are Doshas? 
Disease doesn’t just suddenly appear. After all, having good health for the most part is the result of developing a healthy lifestyle. Similarly, disease can be likened to a seed. If the seed is cultivated by unhealthy habits then the seed will soon manifest into a full-blown disease. According to Ayurveda, illness is often the result of a long process which can actually be detected during early stages and therefore can often be prevented. Also, from a holistic perspective, it’s important to determine the causative factors and resolve them rather than just suppressing the symptoms through medications. In order to do so, we must first investigate into possible causes from which diseases originate from and finally help to establish balance using basic principles using the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda.

“Health results from the natural, balanced state of the doshas. 
Therefore, the wise try to keep them in their balanced state.”
– Charaka Samhita

Ayurvedic Body Types - Vata, Pitta & Kapha. 

 

The Doshas

Each of the three doshas are present throughout the body. They govern our physiology and all activities of the body, mind, and emotions. An important principle to consider regarding the cause of disease from an Ayurvedic perspective is “like increases like”.

“Like Increases Like”
This principle of ‘like increases like’ clearly explains that if one of your doshas [vata, pitta, or kapha] becomes imbalanced then it’s likely that you will experience symptoms which directly reflect a particular quality belonging to the imbalanced dosha.

Vata Dosha
Movement, motion and flow are always occurring in all parts of our body at every moment. This movement is thought to be under the guidance of vata dosha. Vata dosha is characterized by qualities such as:

  • Dry
  • Light
  • Cold
  • Rough
  • Mobile

 

Like Increases Like ...
Vata dosha may become aggravated by similar qualities. For example, eating large quantities of dry food, dry nuts, cold food, or even certain prolonged activities with excess movements such as jogging, running, and rushing about may lead to vata imbalances within the body. Vata imbalances can manifest as irregular digestion, anxiety and worry, insomnia, and various other conditions.

Vata-Balancing Supplements 
Tips, products, recipes, spices, aromatherapy, massage oils & more!!

Balancing Vata Dosha:
Therefore, in order to balance vata dosha, you may want to consider the following:

  • eat more warm, brothy and easily digestible foods
  • eat at regular times to help promote balance in life
  • avoid stimulating foods [i.e. coffee, tea, tobacco and spicy foods]
  • avoid foods which are dry, cold, and light
  • consider eating more ‘healthy oils’ [ghee, flax, hemp, sesame]

 

Pitta Dosha
Pitta dosha is involved with metabolism at every level of the body. For example, all transformations at the organ, tissue, and cellular level are all governed by the principle of pitta dosha. Pitta dosha is characterized by qualities such as:

  • Hot
  • Sharp
  • Light
  • Liquid
  • Oily

 

Like Increases Like ...
Pitta dosha may become aggravated by similar qualities as well. For example, eating hot and spicy food, fermented food, citrus fruit, and working in hot humid conditions can all increase and provoke pitta dosha. Pitta imbalances in the body may manifest as acidity, irritability, inflammation, fever, nausea and various other conditions.

Pitta-Pacifying Herbal Supplements
Tips, products, recipes, spices, aromatherapy, massage oils & more!! 

Balancing Pitta Dosha:
Therefore, in order to balance pitta dosha, you may want to consider the following:
– Eat foods which are cool and refreshing
– Avoid foods which are sour, salty, pungent and spicy
– Dairy milk, butter, and ghee are often beneficial for pacifying pitta
– Drink more water and consider aloe vera to help cool down pitta

Kapha Dosha
Every cell, tissue, and organ system are involved with providing structure to the body. The process of creating structure involves building, maintenance, and repair – which are all under the principle of kapha dosha. Kapha dosha is characterized by qualities such as:

  • heavy
  • dull
  • cool
  • oily

 

Like Increases Like ...
Kapha dosha may become aggravated by similar qualities as well. For example, kapha types are vulnerable to cold, moist, slow and heavy characteristics which may manifest as a slow and sluggish digestion, weight gain, congestion, edema, and poor circulation.

Kapha-Balancing Supplements
Tips, products, recipes, spices, aromatherapy, massage oils & more!!

Balancing Kapha Dosha:
Therefore, in order to balance kapha dosha, you may want to consider the following:

  • Wake up early, be active and consider exercise daily
  • Avoid sedentary lifestyle and daytime sleeping
  • Avoid cold drinks and instead consider warm and spicy food and hot drinks
  • Eat fresh raw vegetables to help balance the oily nature of kapha
  • Consider drinking hot water mixed with small amounts of honey

 

Want More?
The saints of Ayurveda observed how the elements are involved in the different seasons and times of day. They brought to light the importance of understanding this in order for us to prevent imbalance and disease. Therefore, click below to learn how to become more in-tune with nature throughout the various seasons of the year.

Seasons In The Light Of Ayurveda
Learn how to keep your doshas balanced throughout the seasons!!

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.


5 Simple Ways To Balance Kapha Dosha - Ancient Wisdom For Balance & Stability

 

5 Simple Ways To Balance Kapha Dosha
According to Ayurveda, there are three doshas called vata, pitta, and kapha. We can think of these three doshas as the guiding principles that keep all our bodily functions balanced and healthy.

“Health results from the natural, balanced state of the doshas.
Therefore, the wise try to keep them in their balanced state.”
– Charak Samhita

What Is Kapha Dosha? 
Kapha, made up of the properties of earth and water, embodies structure and stability. Earth and water … slow, stable, down to earth, slow to anger, and easygoing! The Kapha-dominant take their sweet time, too. If you’ve heard the expression, “Slow and steady wins the race,” that’s a good example of Kapha. Kaphas may be slow to get going, but they are dependable and dedicated. At their healthiest, Kaphas possess excellent immunity; a robust figure; the ability to sleep soundly; and oftentimes thick, voluptuous hair, large eyes and radiant skin, too! Those who are Kapha-predominant may have larger-frame bodies and heavier builds. When in balance, they are the teddy bears among us — sweet in nature and a pleasure to be around. What person wouldn't love to be around Kapha’s grounding energy? Kaphas are like the "slow down” pill for the other doshas. On the flip side, Kapha out of balance tends towards lethargy, feelings of sadness, occasional congestion, and “accumulation” of a variety of things: weight, water, possessions, etc. Kaphas often don’t want to throw anything away or let things go — be it an old sweater, or a relationship. They can become stuck in their ways and resistant to change. Remember, earth and water.

Sound familiar?
Feeling the need to get unstuck? Keep reading to learn a few tips for keeping Kapha well-balanced!!

 

1. Get Up, and Get Down!
Following a regular exercise routine is important for all doshas, but particularly for Kapha, since they naturally tend towards sedentariness and may gain weight more easily. Try out different kinds of exercise to see what suits your style and skills. Hopping on a treadmill is far from our only option! Consider swimming, cycling, rollerblading, dog-walking, dancing — anything that gets you breathing and your heart rate up.

Herbals for Those on the Move:
Joint Soothe II
is a great herbal blend for soothing tired or achy joints.
Flexcel is fantastic for keeping yourself mobile and your body running smoothly during workouts.
Fatigue Free — boost energy, creativity and mental clarity with this go-to herbal!

 

2. Stay Warm and Dry
Those who are Kapha-dominant may be sensitive to cold and wet seasons (particularly wet). Kapha can become congested easily; if this is the case, dry heat may be beneficial — a heat lamp aimed at the chest or a heating pad under the back can help. Keep the nose, throat and lungs protected from harsh winter weather. Using a Neti pot is very helpful for nasal cleansing and reducing congestion.

Respiratory Health Products:
Clear Breathe, Organic Clear & Soothe and other Respiratory Health products are all excellent for maintaining Kapha respiratory balance.

 

3. Clean Up Your Act
Back to that tendency towards accumulation… this applies as much to physical possessions as anything else. Kaphas like to keep things around, and their spaces can become quickly cluttered. If you have this tendency, try spending a few days going through your possessions, decluttering and “tidying up” by organizing your belongings and sorting items to be donated — while items that are useful or bring you joy belong in your home and in your life.

Emotional Balance is Key
Kaphas, as mentioned above, are loyal, caring, compassionate and sentimental. Out of balance, they can become lethargic, apathetic, depressed and clingy. Keep Kapha-heavy emotions balanced with stimulating activities such as yoga or other aerobics; play upbeat, lively music and dance around the room like a carefree kid! Utilize self-massage (abhyanga) before showering or bathing — just the act of massaging and stimulating the skin can go a long way towards boosting circulation, energy and positive feelings, not to mention the benefits that come from taking care of oneself and prioritizing one’s own well-being. Garshana Gloves are great for a dry abhyanga. If emotional heaviness is weighing you down, Blissful Joy is formulated to help uplift the emotions and alleviate feelings of sadness. In addition, practicing Transcendental Meditation® twenty minutes twice a day offers a direct means to transcend and restore balance to both mind and body. If you have not learned Transcendental Meditation, then practice your technique of choice.

 

4. Follow Your Nose
Aromas can be a powerful tool for balancing Kapha. Try Stimulating Kapha Aroma Oil, Sniffle Free Aroma Oil, or Blissful Heart Aroma Oil in a diffuser, or burn Suraj Sandalwood Incense for an instant environment change.

 

5.  Eat For Your Type
Kapha diets in general should be “lively” and full of energy. This can help boost Kapha’s otherwise sluggish digestion.

  1. Almost all vegetables are excellent for Kapha, but reduce consumption of sweeter or juicier vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes and zucchini.
  2. Kapha predominant individuals can enjoy spicy or pungent foods to help stimulate their digestion.
  3. All spices help pacify Kapha. Organic Kapha Churna is an excellent addition to meals. Try to reduce salt, though, as an excess of salt can cause fluid retention.
  4. Reduce the intake of nuts and seeds, though pumpkin and sunflower seeds are very good for Kapha.
  5. Lighter fruits like apples, cranberries and apricots are also good.
  6. Organic Stimulating Kapha Tea is a great beverage to help balance Kapha. Otherwise, a lively ginger tea is an excellent choice.
  7. Use only small amounts of oils and fats for cooking. Ghee, extra virgin olive oil, and almond oil are among oils that are beneficial for Kapha.
  8. Reduce consumption of grains such as oats, rice and wheat, and favor barley, millet, corn, buckwheat and rye.

 

It’s also important to make dinner the lightest meal of the day, and to eat at least 3 hours before going to bed; eating a meal right before bed can slow digestion and make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.

Herbals for Digestion:
Organic Digest Tone, Triphala Plus is a great addition to a Kapha diet. Triphala helps stimulate digestion and elimination and acts as a detox for the gut. This is very important for slower-moving Kapha-dominant physiologies. Keeping Kapha in balance and happy is relatively easy to do. Turn practices and habits into a routine; make that routine simple, fun and stimulating — both intellectually and physically. Doing so allows us to reap the many benefits of vibrant good health and boundless vitality, and to enjoy the best qualities that Kapha dosha has to offer.

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.


Ayurveda - The Movement Of Vata Dosha

 

Ayurveda - The Movement Of Vata Dosha
Ayurveda is the science of life. The science of Ayurveda explains that the human body is a replica of the vast external universe recognizing each individual to be an integral part of the entire cosmos. A unique aspect of Ayurveda is the explanation of three doshas called vata, pitta, and kapha. We can think of these three doshas as the guiding principles that keep all our bodily functions balanced and healthy. Not only do the doshas govern our bodily functions but from a more truer perspective – they are the governing principles of nature. For now, we shall consider vata dosha.

“That which moves things.”

Vata Dosha
The concept of vata originates from the Sanskrit word “vyv” [vaya] which implies ‘that which moves things’. Eventually, vata began to be depicted as wind. In essence, vata is the principle and dynamic force which governs all movement.

Balanced Vata Dosha:
When vata is balanced it promotes great creativity, evokes feelings of freshness and lightness which springs forth the sense of happiness.

Imbalanced Vata Dosha:
When vata becomes imbalanced it then promotes dispersing qualities which can then make the mind and body vulnerable to a wide-range of health conditions. Click Here: To Learn More About Vata Types 

The Movement Of Vata Dosha
Ayurveda recognizes that each individual has a unique balance and that this balance can become disturbed by various factors such as diet, lifestyle, seasonal changes and even the way we think and perceive our experiences. Let us now see how various factors express themselves in the realm of vata dosha.

Stage One - Accumulation [Sanchaya]
During the initial stage of vata imbalance the cold quality accumulates which may create conditions of constipation, lower abdominal distention, and gas. Likewise, this increased sensitivity to cold weather can also creates pain and stiffness in muscles and joints. The natural inherent tendency is to warm the stiff muscles and painful joints. In the same manner, our initial goal is to create this same sense of warmth within to help balance the cold quality of vata dosha.

Quality - Cold
The exposure to cold food and cold climate can aggravate vata dosha.

Introduce warm qualities such as:

  • diet: warm and spicy food
  • warming spices: ginger, black pepper, cumin, and mustard seeds
  • lifestyle: dress warm, avoid cold climates and air-conditioning
  • warm castor oil compress on the abdominal region
  • warm water bottle to the abdomen
  • warm sesame oil basti/enema

 

Stage Two - Aggravation [Prakopa]
As vata dosha continues to become further imbalanced with cold, dry, and light qualities it soon becomes aggravated primarily in the colon with symptoms of fullness in the abdomen along with the above-mentioned symptoms of constipation, lower abdominal distention and gas.

Qualities: Cold - Dry - Light
This may occur with increased intake of raw food, exposure to gusty winds especially during the dry and cold autumn season.

Balance cold, dry, and light qualities with:

  • regular oil massage [i.e. abhyanga]
  • adding extra oil or ghee to food
  • additional warm clothing when exposed to cold & dry climate

 

Organic Massage Oil
Base oils infused with a decoction of one or more Ayurvedic herbs combine nourishing and soothing qualities of oil with the healing properties of the herbs.

- warm dashamula tea basti/enema
- triphala guggulu
- gandharva haritaki

 

Stage Three - Spread [Prasara] 
As vata dosha continues to become further imbalanced the mobile quality now allows vata to spread from the gastrointestinal tract into the general circulation. The dry and light qualities of vata can affect blood tissue [rasa dhatu] which can create signs and symptoms of dehydration, dry skin, palpitations, ringing in the ears, cold hands and feet. Likewise, the mobile qualities of vata can begin to create physical symptoms of tics, spasms, tremors and even uncertainty [“shakiness”] within the mind; amongst many other conditions.

Qualities: Cold - Dry - Light - Mobile
Excess mobile quality of vata may arise with increased physical and mental activities such as running, jumping, flying and excess stimulation of the mind such as loud noise, excessive talking, etc.

Balance cold, dry, light, and mobile qualities with:

  • rest & relaxation
  • abhyanga [oleation massage]
  • snehana [self-massage with oil]

 

Prevention Is Better Than Cure
At this point, vata has now entered the general circulation and has the ability to cause disease if it enters into certain bodily tissue. Therefore, appropriate measures should be taken in order to prevent the progression of disease.

Abhyanga [Oil Massage] & Svedana [Sweating]

Vata Types may use sesame oil for the oil massage followed by swedana [sweat therapy] using a steam box under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic professional. Likewise, vata types may want to consider adding a few drops of nirgundi oil to the steam box.

Pitta Types may use sunflower oil for the oil massage followed by swedana [sweat therapy]. Likewise, pitta types may want to consider adding a few drops of sandalwood oil to the steam box during swedana - sweat therapy.

Kapha Types may use olive oil for the oil massage followed by swedana [sweat therapy]. Kapha types may want to consider using a few drops [i.e. 3-5 drops] of eucalyptus oil added to the steam box during swedana - sweat therapy.

 

Stage Four - Deposition [Sthana Samshraya]
This stage in the progression of vata dosha is particularly significant because the subtle quality of vata allows for the entry of vata into weakened tissue [i.e. impaired dhatu agni]. If the integrity of each tissue is intact with optimal function [i.e. dhatu agni] - then vata dosha will not be able to enter into tissue and will therefore return back to the gastrointestinal tract - where it belongs.

Stressing The Importance Of:

  • preventing the progression of doshic imbalance
  • maintaining healthy tissue integrity [agni]

 

Qualities: Cold - Dry - Light - Mobile - Subtle
As the qualities of vata dosha circulate through the body, the clinical manifestation of disease depends on which quality of vata predominates and which tissue is most influenced by the predominating qualities of vata dosha.

Very Briefly
Dhatus are similar to tissue. Dhatu comes from the word “dha” which means ‘to hold’. Therefore, dhatus are “that” - which hold certain functions; which is similar to our modern understanding of bodily tissue. We can think of dhatu agni as being the tissue’s protective barrier to disease. If this tissue barrier [dhatu agni] becomes impaired, this allows the qualities of vata dosha to enter the tissue and begin to create clinical signs and symptoms of disease.

  • Impaired Rasa Dhatu allows for the subtle and mobile qualities of vata to enter into rasa dhatu [plasma] creating symptoms of fever with chills [vata jvara], dehydration, fatigue, generalized body ache, etc.
  • Impaired Rakta Dhatu allows vata to enter rakta [blood] dhatu [rakta gata vata]  which may lead to impaired circulation creating symptoms of poor circulation, cold hands and feet, blood clots, varicose veins, aneurysms, etc.
  • Impaired Mamsa Dhatu allows vata to enter mamsa [muscle] dhatu [mamsa gata vata] and create symptoms of muscle spasms - tics, restless leg syndrome muscle wasting, etc.
  • Impaired Meda Dhatu allows for vata to enter meda [adipose] dhatu [meda gata vata] which can lead to lack of lubrication with cracking and popping of ‘dry joints’, dry skin, hernias, displacement of internal organs [i.e. descending kidneys and/or spleen; due to diminished supportive omentum [adiposity].
  • Impaired Asthi Dhatu allows for vata to enter into asthi [bone] dhatu [asthi gata vata] which can create symptoms of osteoporosis, lower back pain, hair loss, splitting hair, receding gums, ringing of the ear [ear drum - specialized bone], and even thyroid dysfunction.
  • Impaired Majja Dhatu allows for vata to enter into majja [nerve/bone marrow] tissue [majja gata vata] and may create neurological symptoms of tingling and numbness in extremities, cluster headaches, tics, spasms, neuralgia and sciatica, etc.
  • Impaired Shukra/Artava Dhatu allows for vata to enter into shukra/arthava [male & female reproductive dhatu and create symptoms of various male and female health concerns.

 

Stage Five - Manifestation [Vyakti]
During this stage of the disease process the rough quality of vata predominates and now the full manifestation of disease occurs. The rough quality of vata can create conditions of fissures, fistulas and excessive rough and scaly skin [i.e. psoriasis] amongst many other health concerns.

Qualities: Cold - Dry - Light - Mobile - Subtle - Rough
Rough and raw foods will further aggravate the qualities of vata. Instead, we should consider oily and lubricating qualities such as “maha snehana” - combination of oil, ghee, animal fat and bone marrow - applied at the site of roughness.

 

Stage Six - Complications [Bheda] 
In this final stage of the disease process, the clear quality of vata leads to further complications nearly abolishing or “clearing out” the function of the already weakened tissue. Here, the individual should seek immediate care of a qualified professional.

Qualities: Cold - Dry - Light - Mobile - Subtle - Rough - Clear

Panchakarma
Once the doshas have begun to significantly cause an imbalance or disease, it soon becomes necessary to consider certain purification techniques to cleanse the body of excess doshas and toxins [“ama”]. This purification process is called “panchakarma” which involves five cleansing actions.

Panchakarma is an Ayurvedic purification system which helps to remove impurities and toxins from the physiological channels of the body. With proper purification of the body springs forth greater cellular intelligence allowing for optimal functioning of the body as a whole.

The Five Purifying Actions Of Panchakarma:

  • vamana: therapeutic vomiting
  • virechana: purgative or laxative therapy
  • basti: medicated enema therapy
  • nasya: nasal administration of medicated oils
  • rakta moksha: blood-letting; purifying blood

Click Here - To Learn More About Panchakarma

Disclaimer:
This information is strictly for educational purpose only and not considered medical advice. Always first discuss with your primary care physician before considering any new health regimen.

Resources:

Ayurvedic Perspective On Selected Pathologies, Vasant Lad, BAMS - 2nd Edition Revised
Textbook Of Ayurveda Vol. 3, Vasant Lad, BAMS


Hey Kapha - Get Up.

More than a mere system of treating illness, Ayurveda is a science of life. Ayurveda offers a body of wisdom designed to help people stay balanced and healthy. Ayurveda reminds us that health is the dynamic integration between our environment, body, mind, and spirit.

 

Hey Kapha - "Get Up.”
Kapha individuals are often the most compassionate people with much love, devotion, and loyalty. Kapha types seldom rebel and more often reflect the conservative, traditional, or conventional attitude in their behavior and beliefs. However, when kapha becomes imbalanced this can lead to attachment, laziness, and even depression.

 

The Kapha Body
Kapha individuals are usually shorter and more heavy or stocky in build. Kaphas have abundant thick hair with large white attractive teeth and of course large beautiful eyes with gorgeous eye lashes. Due to the water and earth elements of kapha - kapha types are vulnerable at gaining weight. However, if kapha types control their weight they are often the longest living and healthiest of all body types. Since kapha types are predominantly water and earth they can easily accumulate phlegm manifesting as bronchial or sinus congestion.

The Kapha Mind
As mentioned above, kaphas are loving and loyal. Kapha types are friendly and create long lasting relationships. For the most part these individuals are largely content and most willing to accept things as they are. Balanced kapha types tend to be romantic and sentimental. Imbalanced kaphas tend to become more attached with an inclination of dependency.

Dr. Sheila Patel from The Chopra Center describes which foods help balance anyone whose main dosha is Kapha. Light and astringent foods along with pungent herbs and spices are recommended options for Kaphas.

 

Energy Levels
Kaphas have stability and able to preserve energy. They may be slow to start but once they get going kaphas have consistent levels of energy to endure throughout the day. Some may argue that kapha types have consistent levels of energy because they are reluctant to release and expend energy. That said, let’s just say that kapha types would rather drive to the corner than to walk.

Sex Drive
Since kaphas are predominately made of the steady [firm & fixed] earthy elements they also have a steady sexual appetite. Kapha types are by far the most loving and passionate of people. However, their passionate drive is slow to burn but once kindled it will burn bright for a long-lasting time.

Sleep Patterns
Plain and simple, kaphas love sleeping. Kaphas are very sound sleepers and routinely experience deep sleep. They do not have any difficulty falling asleep [as do vata type] however, kapha type do have difficulty waking up and getting the day started. They are more likely to have calm dreams while at the same time most likely to have romantically vivid dreams.

 

Management Of Kapha
Therefore, management for kapha types is centered around:

  • Warming
  • Drying
  • Lightening

 

Tastes To Pacify Kapha
Ayurveda describes an interesting relationship of taste and its influence upon the body. According to this philosophy, kapha types are most balanced by pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes as these tastes are drying and lightening in nature with catabolic actions.

Simple Considerations
Simple considerations for helping to balance kapha:

  • wake up early, be active and consider exercise daily
  • avoid sedentary lifestyle and daytime sleeping
  • avoid cold drinks and instead consider warm and spicy food and hot drinks
  • eat fresh raw vegetables to help balance the oily nature of kapha
  • consider drinking hot water mixed with small amounts of honey

 

Improve Digestion For Kapha
Kapha types generally have a slower metabolism. The cold and heavy qualities [of kapha] can oppose the hot and light qualities of the digestive fire and therefore can weaken digestion. Generally, kaphas may want to consider spices to help promote digestion and increase metabolism. For kapha types, spices are thought to be beneficial; so spice it up! Without doubt - kaphas are loving and compassionate. However, if their need for love goes unnoticed, kaphas will become more prone towards “comfort-eating” more so than others.

Great Veggies For Kapha
- asparagus
- beets, broccoli
- Brussels sprouts
- cabbage
- carrots
- cauliflower
- celery
- garlic
- leafy green vegetables
- onions
- radishes
- spinach
- sprouts

Awesome Fruits For Kapha
- apples
- apricots
- berries
- cherries
- cranberries
- papaya
- pears
- prunes
- pomegranates
- grapefruit

Terrific Grains For Kapha
- barley
- buckwheat
- corn
- millet
- oats
- rye
- basmati rice


Hey Pitta - Chill Out.

 

Ayurveda recognizes that each human being is born with a unique balance and that this natural balance is responsible for physical, mental, and emotional well-being. By recognizing and maintaining this unique balance, Ayurveda provides simple guidelines to help each person create his or her own state of ideal health. For now, we will discuss the fiery nature of Pitta.

 

Hey Pitta - "Chill Out.”
The first thing which comes to mind when thinking of pitta is the brilliant blaze of fire. The primary function of pitta is transformation and controls digestion, metabolism, and energy production. The fire aspect makes pitta types bright, illuminating, fiery and even hot-tempered.

 

A Dose Of Loving Compassion
One of the best ways to pacify the fiery and hot-tempered nature of pitta types is the enduring dose of antiquated love and compassion. The ancient wisdom of Ayurveda explained perfectly the antidote of the fiery pitta flare ...

“lying on the grass or a veranda in the late evening under the moonlight, listening to a melodious song, exposure to a pleasant cool breeze, having the company of loving, sweet-speaking friends and sweet speaking innocent children, a beautiful looking agreeable partner of the opposite sex, in a house surrounded by cool-water fountains, a beautiful lawn and swimming pool with shallow steps, swimming with a woman, beautiful swans and lotuses that are kissing.” - Ashtanga Hridayam, Sutrasthana, Ch. 13 Su. 5-9
[Translated by Dr. Vasant Lad, Ayurvedic Physician]

 

The Pitta Body
Pitta individuals are usually of average height, build and frame and generally possess good health. Likewise, pitta types often have well developed muscles along with a great complexion. The reason for this shining complexion is due to an oily quality which can also make pittas more prone to acne, rashes, and other inflammatory skin conditions. Shake the hands of a pitta and you will likely feel a warm hand yet firm grip. Pittas are predominately of the fire element and therefore sweat easily and prefer all things which are cooling.

The Pitta Mind
Pitta individuals are characterized as being highly intelligent and perceptive with a remarkable ability to discriminate. They have a sharp intellect, great comprehension along with a competitive streak. It is because of these qualities that pitta types are high achievers, leaders, and successful achieving their respective endeavors. Due to their competitive nature, pitta individuals can also have a fiery temper and at times become domineering.

 

Pittas Are Full Of Passion
Pitta types have a fiery drive and strong sexual appetite. Pitta types can be thought of as the most passionate of all types and are able to get just what they want - so they think.

Sharp Digestion
Pitta types possess a healthy and robust appetite and despite the ability to eat just about anything, their weight often remains moderate. Due to the predominant fire quality, pitta types are prone to acid indigestion and heartburn. Pitta are punctual and the surest way to make a pitta individual irritable is to have them arrive late to a meal.

Pitta Sleep Pattern
Pitta types sleep well. Even if these individuals wake up at night, they are easily able to fall right back asleep. Since pitta types are critical thinkers, their brain continues to work throughout sleep and can manifest as intense dreams, centered around action.

 

Management Of Pitta

The management for pitta types is centered around:

  • Cooling
  • Calming and
  • Moderation

 

Several Considerations For Pitta Types
Several considerations for helping to balance pitta:
– eat foods which are cool and refreshing
– avoid foods which are sour, salty, pungent and spicy
– dairy milk, butter, and ghee are often beneficial for pacifying pitta
– drink enough water and consider aloe vera to help cool down pitta

Sweet, Bitter & Astringent
Ayurveda describes an interesting relationship of taste and its influence upon the body. According to this philosophy, pitta types often are most balanced by sweet, bitter and astringent tastes as these are considered to be cooling and pacifying. Generally, pitta types should avoid heavily spiced meals because they are prone to acid indigestion [i.e. heartburn].

Improving Digestion
The best food for pittas are cool or warm [not steaming hot] with moderately heavy textures. Bitter, sweet, and astringent tastes are ideal. Refreshing food during the summer or hot weather are ideal and cooling drinks such as herbal tea, specifically mint or licorice root tea are pacifying to pittas. A suitable breakfast for pitta types may consist of cold cereal, cinnamon toast and apple tea. In general, vegetarian food is ideal for pitta types as red meat tends to be heating which can aggravate pitta inflammatory conditions. On the contrary, pittas should consume abundant amounts of milk, grains, and nourishing vegetables.

Great Veggies For Pittas
- asparagus
- broccoli
- Brussels sprouts
- cabbage
- radishes
- cauliflower
- celery
- cucumber
- green beans
- leafy green vegetables
- parsley
- sprouts
- squash
- spinach

Awesome Fruit For Pittas
- bananas
- avocados
- cherries
- coconuts
- figs
- mangoes
- melons
- pears
- pineapples
- plums
- prunes
- raisins

Terrific Grains For Pittas
- barley
- wheat
- basmati rice

Favorable Beans For Pitta
- chickpeas
- mung beans
- red lentils


Hey Vata - Slow Down!

Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old medical philosophy predicated on the idea that we are influenced by three main doshas - vata, pitta, and kapha. These three doshas in Ayurveda, describe our state of mind and all functions of the body. While all three doshas are present in everyone, Ayurveda states that we often have a dosha that’s predominant from birth. When the doshas are balanced, we are healthy; when they are unbalanced, we become increasingly vulnerable to disease. Let us now focus on vata dosha.

Hey Vata - "Slow Down"
Being a vata type you undoubtedly are an active and energetic person. If there were ever a need for speed it’s specific for vata individuals. Plain and simple, vata types love moving - running, jumping, tumbling, twirling, flying, and movement of all types. Due to all this active energy, vata types are most vulnerable from overwork, over exercise, and tend to overextend themselves beyond the scope of their physical capacity.

The Vata Body
Vatas commonly have a thin build, muscles generally not as well-developed as the other two main types [pitta, kapha] and often find it hard to gain weight. Dry skin? Thought so. Vata types can often have dry, cracked or even rough skin. This makes sense since the predominant qualities of vata doshas are dry, rough, and cold.

The Vata Mind
Vata types love excitement and new experiences. Vatas are creative, energetic and very flexible. When vatas are balanced they are lively, take initiative and are great conversationalists. When imbalanced, vata types easily become vulnerable to worry, anxiety, nervousness and insomnia. Vata are easily able to grasp ideas quickly and often have great short term memory but not-so-great long term memory. A well developed vata mind is agile making for great intellects. When this agile nature of the vata mind is well developed, vata types can be great intellects and scholars. On the other hand, if there is too much flexibility of the mind without structure this can make the vata mind “spacey” and at times ungrounded.

Creative Motion
Vata types are governed by the mobile quality which makes them inclined to a state of creative motion. This makes vata types vulnerable to exhaustion because these individuals go beyond their own physical stamina. Despite vata types being ones who most need rest, they are also the ones most likely to keep going. Vata types - need to calm down and rest more!  Vata types are predominately made from the most variable elements - ether and air.  Due to these variable elements vata’s sexual appetite varies just like the wind. Some days the wind is calm and gentle while other days, the wind furiously storms about. This best explains the sexual nature of vata types. That said, vatas are often the most creative of people often fantasizing with intense passion.

Vata Pacifying Meals: Warm - Grounding - Slightly Oily Foods

Hard Digestion
Vata types often have irregular digestion; meaning very hungry at times and at other times no hunger at all. They also are thought to have a “hard” digestive tract which makes them vulnerable to experience symptoms of abdominal distention, flatulence, and a tendency towards a “nervous appetite”.

Light Sleepers
Vatas often have irregular sleep patterns and whatever sleep these individuals are able to get tends to be “light” sleep. It’s only until vatas become tired and exhausted that they  experience deep sleep. Generally, vatas have difficulty falling asleep and being “light sleepers” wake up several times throughout the night. Due to the mobile quality inherent to vata types, these individuals become vulnerable to all “types” of movement - grinding teeth, sleep-talkers, sleep-walkers and commonly have the most dynamic dreams. Vata dreams are adventurous dreams centered around the enjoyment being chased.

Vata Management
Vata individuals are made primarily of the air element and just like the wind, vatas are always moving. Due to the ‘air’ element and the cold, dry, light, and mobile qualities - management for vata types is centered around principles of:

– Warming
– Moistening and
– Weight promoting

Several considerations for vata types:

  • eat more warm, brothy and easily digestible foods
  • eat at regular times to help promote balance in life
  • avoid stimulating foods [i.e. coffee, tea, tobacco and spicy foods]
  • avoid foods which are dry, cold, and light
  • consider eating more ‘healthy oils’ [ghee, flax, hemp, sesame]

 

Sweet, Sour & Salty
Ayurveda describes an interesting relationship of taste and its influence upon the body. According to this philosophy, vata types often are most balanced by sweet, sour and salty tastes. Interestingly, these tastes [sweet, sour and salty] are considered to be moistening and nutritive in action; the very management goals for vata types.

Improving Digestion
Vata types are characterized as having irregular digestion and even vulnerable to constipation. Therefore, vata individuals may want to consider digestive stimulants to help promote their appetite and digestive ability. Moistening and bulking elements [i.e. flaxseed, psyllium seeds] may also help to manage constipation which is common for vata types.

Great Veggies For Vatas [cooked well]

  • asparagus
  • beets
  • carrots
  • green beans
  • sweet potatoes
  • onions
  • radishes
  • turnips

 

Awesome Fruit For Vatas [ripened]

  • bananas
  • apricots
  • avocados
  • berries
  • cherries
  • fresh figs
  • grapefruit
  • lemons

 

Terrific Grains For Vatas

  • well cooked oats
  • cooked rice

 

Favorable Beans:

  • chickpeas
  • mung beans

Ayurveda & The Wisdom Of The Doshas

 

Ayurveda & The Wisdom Of The Doshas
According to the ancient teachings of Ayurveda, there are three doshas called vata, pitta, and kapha. We can think of these three doshas as the guiding principles that keep all our bodily functions balanced and healthy.

“Health results from the natural, balanced state of the doshas.
Therefore, the wise try to keep them in their balanced state.”
- Charak Samhita

The Wisdom Of The Doshas
Each of the three doshas are present throughout the body. They govern our physiology and all activities of the body, mind, and emotions. Not only do the doshas govern our bodily functions but from a more truer perspective - they are the governing principles of Nature. The ancient science of Ayurveda understands the doshas as being a direct expression of Nature’s intelligence and therefore seeks to find balance by understanding the doshas.

Vata
Movement, motion and flow are always occurring in all parts of our body at every moment. This movement is thought to be under the guidance of vata dosha.

Pitta 
Pitta dosha is involved with metabolism at every level of the body. For example, all transformations at the organ, tissue, and cellular level are governed by the principle of pitta dosha.

Kapha 
Every cell, tissue, and organ system are involved with providing structure to the body. The process of creating structure involves building, maintenance, and repair - which are all under the principle of kapha dosha.

Discovering The Ayurveda Concept Of Dosha

 

A Balancing Act

We all have a unique state of balance which signifies a state of good health. We can say that when all your doshas are balanced this illustrates a balance in all bodily reactions, metabolism, flow and communication of all systems of the body. However, what does it mean when a dosha is out of balance? Very simply, an unbalanced dosha represents a subtle imbalance within the body. For example, if vata dosha is increased this can lead to increased dryness of the body [i.e. dry skin, constipation] and increased lightness or ungroundedness of the mind [i.e. anxiety, worry]. Likewise, if pitta dosha is increased, this can lead to an increased fiery aspect to the digestive fire [called “Agni” ] and result in heartburn. Finally, if kapha dosha is increased this can cause increased mucous formation, congestion and/or heaviness to the body. These are all very simple examples to illustrates how physiological changes of the body occur due to subtle changes in the three doshas.

The Balancing Of Doshas
Before we can explain how to correct any underlying doshic imbalances it is important to introduce two very simple  principles common to the science of Ayurveda. These two principles are:

  • The Principle Of Similarity: like increases like
  • The Principle Of Opposites: opposites restore balance


The Principle Of Similarity

This principle of ‘like increases like’ clearly explains that if one of your doshas [vata, pitta, or kapha] becomes imbalanced then it’s likely that you will experience symptoms which directly reflect that particular quality which belongs to the imbalanced dosha. For example, if one eats hot and spicy food [which is fiery like pitta] on a hot [fiery-pitta] summer day while being forced into an aggravating  [fiery-pitta] heated discussion - it is then likely that the hot-fiery quality of pitta may manifest itself within the body such as an inflammatory condition [i.e. heartburn, skin rash, urticaria, etc.].


The Principle Of Opposites

Now, let us assume the above mentioned hot-fiery pitta individual comes to see you for an Ayurvedic consultation. Using the law of opposites, we would want to consider the opposite quality of hot [which is cool and/or cold qualities] to bring the pitta dosha back into balance. Therefore, as a very simple example, we would first suggest avoiding such aggravating factors and next consider opposing qualities - such as cool qualities of aloe vera, amalaki, neem or other soothing elements such as ghee [clarified butter] to help pacify and balance pitta dosha.

The Governing Influence Of The Doshas
The concept of the three doshas is not only limited to our body but also describes the changes involved in the hours of the day, the days of the year, and the entire span of our lives. In other words, the three doshas [vata, pitta, and kapha] influence everything.

CLICK HERE
- To Learn More About The Doshas

 


What's Your Dosha?

 

What's Your Dosha?
If you have spent anytime in the Ayurveda and Yoga community you may have come across the term “Dosha”. The science of Ayurveda explains that the human body is a replica of the vast external universe and - “that” -  which is in the universe is also contained within the body. Although seemingly complex, let us simply discuss the concept of doshas keeping in mind that no single word can translate the exact meaning which the ancient texts have described many thousands of years ago.

 

Ancient Wisdom:
“Vata, pitta and kapha move in the whole body producing good or ill effects upon the entire system according to their normal or provoked states. Their normal state is prakrti and thier abnormal state is vikrti.” - Charaka Samhita Ch. 17 Sutra 62

The word “dosha” can likely best be described as ‘vice' or 'fault’. Interestingly, the word “dosha” comes from the Sanskrit word ‘dus’ which means ‘to err’ similar to the Greek prefix “dys” meaning ‘ill‘ and ‘bad‘ [i.e. dysfunctional, dyspnea, dysmenorrhea, etc.]. In Ayurveda, dosha refers to the three humours of the body namely vata, pitta and kapha which can disturb [“vitiate”] bodily tisssues [i.e. dhatus].

 

Dosha Type - Your Signature
Ayurveda looks at each individual as being unique with a varying combination of qualities. This unique set of qualities can be thought of as your signature “dosha type”. For example, some individuals are always moving about with great excitement and creative enthusiasm eagerly exploring the world around them. That would be a classic “vata-type”. Another example would be the typical “Type A Personality” driven by ambition and wanting to succeed to the top. This particular individual would be considered a “pitta-type”. And we all know the loving and accepting individual who is willing to embrace all that life has to offer in abundance – that is, in a way, a “kapha-type”.

 

Great Video: Introduction To The Ayurvedic Dosha Types! 


VATA DOSHA:
Vata individuals are made primarily of the air element and therefore, just like the wind, are always moving. Due to the ‘air’ element, vata types often experience cold, dry, light, and mobile qualities. Therefore, from a simple perspective, management for vata types is centered around principles of:

  • Warming
  • Moistening and
  • Weight Promoting

 

Managing The Ever Mobile Vata Types:
Ayurveda describes an interesting relationship of taste and its influence upon the body. According to this philosophy, vata types often are most balanced by sweet, sour and salty tastes. Interestingly, these tastes [sweet, sour and salty] are considered to be moistening and nutritive in action; the very management goals for vata types.

PITTA DOSHA:
The very first thing which should come to mind when thinking of pitta is the brilliant blaze of fire. Pitta types are hot, fiery, oily, and intense. Therefore, management for pitta types is centered around:

  • Cooling
  • Calming and
  • Moderation

 

A Healthy Dose Of Loving Compassion For The Fiery Pitta Types:
Since pitta types also have an inflammatory component, which is inherent to the element of fire, make sure to address pitta types with an extra dose of loving compassion. Likewise, pitta types often are most balanced by sweet, bitter and astringent tastes as these are considered to be cooling and pacifying.

KAPHA DOSHA:
When we think of kapha types we often think of loyal and compassionate individuals with a stable quality about them. This unique stability of kapha arises from the predominant elements of both water and earth which can also make kapha types vulnerable to cold, moist, slow and heavy characteristics. Therefore, management for kapha types is centered around:

  • Warming
  • Drying
  • Lightening

 

Management of The Overly Comfortable Kapha Types:
Kapha types often are most balanced by pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes as these tastes are considered to be drying and lightening in nature with catabolic actions.

 


Is Bitter Better for Pacifying Pitta?

Is Bitter Better for Pacifying Pitta?
“I read online that for pitta people, particularly in the summer time, in order to keep things cool, bitter things are good. So I ordered a bitter ghee preparation called “pancha tikta ghritam” and I started using it on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. I
immediately developed nausea and felt like I had a hangover. It felt like instead of pacifying my pitta, it aggravated it? Can you please address this? If ayurvedic texts and experts say that bitter is good for pitta then why did it not help me?

Also, how should I take care of my pitta in the summer? I read your article on cooling pitta in the summer and it gave a different approach. You were recommending sweet things like rose petal preserve. Is the sweet taste enough for pacifying pitta in the summertime? Can you please comment on this?

Thank you,
Christina P. “

Vaidya's answer:
In Ayurveda we acknowledge six total possible tastes. Verse #171 from Bhava Mishra’s Bhavaprakash, lists them in hierarchical order: [madhur/sweet, amla/sour, lavana/salty, kattu/pungent, tikta/bitter, and kashaya/astringent]
Screenshot 2015-07-17 08.41.09

As the verse explains, these tastes are hierarchical in the sense that the first 3 pacify vata dosha, and last three pacify kapha. In addition, “kashaya” astringent, “tikta” or bitter, and “madhura” or the sweet tastes pacify pitta. So, in theory, to say that the bitter taste is pacifying for pitta is correct. Based on the ayurvedic ancient texts, the 3 tastes: astringent, bitter, and sweet, pacify pitta. However, knowledge needs to be applied. In practical situations, many times, knowledge needs to be adapted to specific conditions.

In the process of pacifying your pitta dosha, you aggravated your vata dosha.
It looks like in the process of pacifying your pitta dosha, you aggravated your vata dosha. To address your situation, I would like to highlight two major aspects according by referring to the same text, the same shastra-s. Based on my experience as an ayurvedic expert practicing in the West for the past almost 20 years, in 90% of situations where pitta was aggravated, it was a case of also high agni, or digestive and metabolic fire element in the body, particularly in the digestive system.

When kledak kapha (the balancing kapha subdosha in the stomach that keeps things moist and lubricated) goes low in the stomach, then samana vata (which also resides in the stomach area) also gets aggravated. When Samana Vata is aggravated, it pushes udana vata (that resides in the chest) more forcefully upwards and then one experiences nausea. In such scenarios, in most cases, wherever pitta is aggravated, vata also gets aggravated. That's why there are three options in terms of rasa, or taste, for pacifying pitta. Those three tastes as indicated in the shastra-s are: astringent, bitter and sweet. Practically speaking, you have to choose among those three, based on the specific condition or situation.

Verse #171 says that the first three rasa-s or tastes: madhur (sweet), alma (sour) and lavan (salty) pacify vata dosha. So madhur or sweet rasa pacifies both vata and pitta, and that’s why I personally use madhur rasa or the sweet taste to pacify pitta in the summer time. With rose – and intelligent rather than dumb or dead sweets loaded with preservatives and synthetic chemicals such as white sugar – and sweet juicy seasonal fruits like pears, blueberries and blackberries, as well as a little amla or sour rasa like orange, or lime, one can work wonders for pitta and vata. Of course, the sour taste has to be in moderation, specially in the summer time, because it contains more agni, and can thus aggravate pitta as well. It has to be in balance in minimal quantities in relation to the sweet taste.

Another point to consider comes up in verse number #190 that says:

Screenshot 2015-07-17 08.41.33

The bitter rasa, or bitter taste, can aggravate vata. That’s why, when you consumed that bitter ghee to pacify your pitta dosha, it aggravated your samana vata and udana vata, resulting in nausea. So you see, theory or just knowledge are not enough. In practical daily applications of the knowledge, we need to have acquired skills and have guidance to know how to use that knowledge for optimal results. Even though the texts prescribe the bitter taste for pacifying pitta, if we follow the text without considering actual conditions, we will end up aggravating pitta further. I learnt such practical applications of the ayurvedic shastra-s while interning with my father in our family practice in India. I am always happy to share what I learnt during those years as well as in my life experience as an ayurvedic healer, since the opportunity to intern with ayurvedic experts is much more hard to come by in the western cultural context. I thank you for your question as it has given me the opportunity to clarify a crucial point for all.