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Doshas in Ayurveda : Vata, Pitta & Kapha

April 15, 2024

Ayurveda, the oldest medical science, aims to promote long, healthy, and balanced lives through natural means. Originating from Sanskrit words for life and knowledge, it uses appropriate drinking, food, lifestyle, and herbal medicines to prevent and treat illness. Ayurveda identifies three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, which govern the body, mind, and behavior. Each dosha has specific mental, physical, and behavioral traits, and its descriptions are based on external observations of physiological traits and behavior.

What does each dosha look like?

Vata, Pitta, and Kapha are the three main functioning energies according to the Ayurvedic system. Wind is associated with Vata, fire with Pitta, and water with Kapha. According to popular belief, these doshas are connected to the elements of Earth (Prithvi), Air (Vayu), Water (Jala), Fire (Teja), and Space (Aakash). Air and space are associated with Vata dosha, fire and water with Pitta dosha, and earth and water with Kapha dosha.

What is Vata dosha?

Vata dosha is an Ayurvedic element linked to air and space, characterized by its light, cold, and dry nature. It governs bodily and mind processes, including blood flow, waste elimination, breathing, nervous system, joint movements, and thoughts, demonstrating the role of air and space in our bodies.

How to balance Vata dosha?

Depressed or elevated Vata levels can cause health problems like dry skin, chapped lips, appetite loss, emaciation, weakness, and constipation.

Symptoms and cause of imbalance

Do you often ask yourself which dosha you might be having and how can I identify your dosha then here is how you can.

With a Vata imbalance, you can experience a number of symptoms, such as

  • Dry skin, hair, lips, ears and joints.
  • You may also have bloating, gas, and constipation.
  • Dehydration, weight loss, dizziness, restlessness, unusual coldness, muscle spasms, constrictions, pains, excessive restlessness, and anxiety are also some of the many symptoms.
  • You can also experience fidgeting, twitching of the muscles, palpitations, agitation, insomnia, or disturbed sleep.

Lifestyle practices to adapt to balance the Vata dosha

In order to regulate Vata levels, one should steer clear of severe cold or dry weather, consume light, easily digested foods, and exercise. It is advised to avoid prolonged fasting and excessive sexual activity. It is advised to follow a Vata dosha diet, which excludes activities that dry out the body.

Diet

One way to keep the body’s Vata levels in check is to follow the Vata dosha diet. A balanced diet rich in warm, nourishing foods—such as stews, hot soups, ghee, avocados, almonds, coconut, buttermilk, olives, eggs, cheese, and whole milk are the best options. It is also important to include warm spices like ginger, turmeric, and flaxseeds.

One must avoid foods like artichokes, bitter melon, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, cauliflower, celery, chilies, eggplant, corn, and dandelion as they might cause turbulence in Vata levels. It’s also advisable to stay away from cold, fizzy beverages, raw fruits and vegetables, frozen meals, and leftovers. Finally, it is always better to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.

What is the Ayurvedic diet to optimize Vata dosha?

Vata can be optimized by a variety of naturally available plants. These herbs, which can help control excess Vata are:

Ginger and cardamom are essential spices for maintaining optimal Vata levels. Ginger reduces joint pain and strengthens muscles, while cardamom helps balance the three doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) by easing bloating, controlling gas, and aiding digestion. It can be added to meals, tea, or chewed on seeds, and it also reduces bad breath, enhances memory, and relieves stress. Both spices can help restore the body’s ideal Vata levels.

Turmeric (Haldi) is a popular Ayurvedic ingredient in Indian cuisine, known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties. Consuming Haldi regularly can improve heart rate, blood circulation, and metabolism.

Ashwagandha, another Ayurvedic herb, has numerous health benefits including reduced cortisol levels, stress management, anxiety reduction, insomnia relief, and revitalizing properties. It can be consumed raw, powdered, tablet, as an herbal jam, or as Ashwagandha Sparkles.

Brahmi, an Ayurvedic herb, helps reduce stress, promotes emotional balance, restores healthy Vata dosha, and enhances sleep quality. It can maintain ideal Vata levels, enhance cognition, and reduce stress when taken twice daily.

Exercise

Vata personalities might struggle with energy levels and frequently have fragile, thin physique frames. They are susceptible to exhaustion from both extended periods of intense exertion and brief spurts. Therefore, Vata types will benefit more from regular strengthening and balancing activities that will progressively increase their core energy. It’s best to do vigorous walking, pilates, or yoga. Due to their susceptibility to worry and the way stress affects them, Vata types should also take into account the advantages of mindfulness and meditation as ways to maintain their composure.

What is Pitta dosha?

The energy known as Pitta is important for metabolism and many other processes, such as the mental and sensory processing and perception of thoughts. Thus, we might conclude that it facilitates digestion and helps us discriminate between good and wrong. However, when the Pitta dosha levels grow, the body could experience strange alterations.

How to identify my Pitta dosha?

Check for these signs and symptoms for Pitta dosha.

High Pitta levels can cause discomfort, inflammation, joint pain, heartburn, acid reflux, ulcers, diarrhea, constipation, anger, frustration, sweating, hunger, thirst, headaches, and feelings of jealousy. They can also lead to heartburn, eczema, dermatitis, over-sensitivity to sun exposure, acne, acid reflux, ulcers, frequent fever, hyperthyroidism, jaundice, diarrhea, joint inflammation, fatigue, vision issues, and autoimmune health disorders. To maintain overall well-being, managing Pitta levels and avoiding triggers is crucial.

Lifestyle practices that lead to high pita levels

  • Overindulging in stimulants like nicotine and alcohol.
  • The ingestion of hot and caustic meals.
  • An imbalanced diet high in pungent, sour, and salty foods, or those that enhance Pitta
  • Overwhelming grief or rage (krodha or shoka).
  • Long-term exposure to heat or sun exposure.

Diet to balance Pitta

The Pitta diet, which focuses on managing Pitta energy, can be achieved by incorporating bitter, astringent, and sweet foods like apples, grapes, milk, ghee, melon, plum, asparagus, leafy greens, cabbage, papaya, cucumber, cauliflower, and bell pepper. Other healthy eating habits include oats, quinoa, rice, wheat, pasta, legumes like lentils, split peas, soybeans, black beans, and wheat, and seeds like almonds, pumpkin seeds, coconut, and sunflower seeds.

For optimal results, consume fruits and vegetables either one hour before or following a meal. It is also better to add spices like coriander, cumin, and turmeric while cooking to lower Pitta. You must also make sure you get enough water to stay hydrated.

What is the Ayurvedic diet for Pitta dosha?

Items to stay away from if you have a Pitta imbalance: White sugar, Honey, and Sesame Oil, Chicken, Beef, Salmon, Walnuts, Nutbutter with salt, Urad Dal, Broccoli, Corn, and Bananas, Grapefruit, Ginger, Pineapple, Beets, Eggplant, Garlic, Tomatoes and Turnip.

Ayurveda recommends several herbs for Pitta dosha treatment, including Amla, Guduchi, and Triphala. Amla is a potent herb for balancing Pitta, draining excess from the digestive system. It can be consumed as a fruit or as an herbal supplement like Triphala or Amla effervescent tablets.

Guduchi, a bitter herb, helps control excess Pitta and can be consumed in its natural form or as Guduchyadi Kwath.

Triphala which is made from three fruits, helps manage high Pitta dosha and is available in many forms.

Exercise

When it comes to fitness, Pittas are energetic and look for a challenge. They take pleasure in good rivalry and team sports. However, it is important to not overdo it. Swimming is the best exercise for the pitta types. You can also work on alignment-based yoga traditions like Iyengar and Hatha. Activities that focus on achieving goals, such as cycling, hiking, and interval training, are appealing to Pitta’s sense of accomplishment.

What is Kapha dosha

Kapha dosha is a combination of water and earth elements, known for their stability, firmness, and coolness. It holds everything together and has a large, compact frame with rounded joints and a strong bone structure. The core of the Kapha body is located in the chest, lungs, and throat. People with this dosha have lustrous, oily skin, strong, coarse, and curly hair, and deep-set, dark eyes. They have a tendency to gain weight easily.

Kapha dosha symptoms and how to identify

Mucus production causes nasal congestion, chest and lung problems, and seasonal allergies. Symptoms of Kapha dosha are generally similar to those of a common cold. Digestive problems may also result from it, including a slow-moving stomach and a pit-like heaviness. Food-related problems, a lack of exercise, overindulging, mental instability, and weight increase are among the causes. Psychologically, Kapha imbalances can lead to depression, discontent, and emotional instability; these are frequently brought on by a sedentary way of life.

Diet to balance Kapha dosha

Dry foods are necessary to balance Kapha, a condition marked by excessive moisture and oil production. Grain is a useful supplement, and dry foods like beans and dry fruits are good for you. Steer clear of wheat, fatty and oily foods, and fruits and vegetables with high water content. Rough foods including cereals, dried fruits, veggies, and legumes can help clear excess mucus and balance Kapha. Eating plant-based meals high in roughage and fiber, like cereals, dried fruits, vegetables, and legumes, might help clear stagnant water and encourage a Kapha-positive response. Another way to help balance Kapha is to substitute brown rice, barley, and wheat bran for white rice.

Exercise to balance Kapha dosha

Exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy body and mind by thwarting drowsiness and lethargy. Following certain poses like Natrajasana, Utarasana, Twisting Chair, Tree, Warrior, Triangle, Headstand, Half Moon, Bow, and planks will help alleviate Kapha imbalances in yoga, especially Kapha yoga. Additionally helpful for preserving circulation and respiratory systems are Kundalini Yoga and Kapalabhaati Pranayaam.

Ultimately,

Because it emphasizes whole-body healing, ayurvedic medicine is still commonly practiced today. Ayurveda states that illness and bad health are caused by an imbalanced dosha. Consequently, it is thought that choosing your diet, exercise routine, and lifestyle choices based on your dosha will support balance and optimal health. Ayurvedic advocates often assert that an individual’s dosha determines their level of health, although there isn’t much data to back up this assertion. The many healthful living practices of Ayurveda are a terrific approach to support excellent health, even though research on the doshas of Ayurveda is sparse.

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