Ayurveda and the 3 doshas
In Ayurveda, different people with the same disease sometimes receive different diets and herbal plans. Each person’s constitution and the imbalance found in each individual is taken into account.
With Ayurveda, we acknowledge that beneficial daily habits are different for each person, because each person is a unique combination of the 3 fundamental biological principles, which are called “doshas”: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Everybody has all 3 energies – although people experience each of them to a lesser or greater degree.
A Vata’s frame is usually thin and low in weight with prominent bones and joints. They have thin skin which is dry and rough with a tendency for prominent veins and cold to the touch. Vata usually will have curly, coarse, dry hair. Their teeth will usually be large, crooked and protrude. Both their head and eyes will be small, quick and unsteady. Vatas have variable and scanty appetites. They will be thin as children and have trouble gaining weight. Vatas like sweet, salty and sour foods like cake, crackers, and pickles. They find oily foods comforting and benefit from ghee, a form of clarified butter. Their thirst varies and they will nurse hot drinks to keep them warm. Their bowels are usually hard and dry, and they are prone to constipation. Vatas are hyperactive and can exhaust easily with restless minds that fantasize. They are extremely creative, artistic, with extreme moods of joyfulness and fear, accomplishment and insecurity, and are often anxious. Vatas are erratic and always unpredictable. They are light sleepers with scanty, interrupted sleep patterns.
Pitta stands with a medium build, height, and bone structure, with soft, oily skin that’s warm to the touch. They have fair complexions and burn easily. Pitta’s hair is soft and oily and will bald and gray early. They have moderate size, yellowish teeth with soft gums that bleed easily.
Pittas have strong appetites and need large meals to be satisfied, but will not snack. They like sweet, bitter and astringent foods, like candy, green salads and bananas. Pittas like cold drinks. They have frequent bowel movements with soft, oily, loose discharges. Pittas must evacuate immediately when they feel the urge. They are moderately active, but with intensely competitive spirits.
Pitta can be overly assertive and aggressive, highly organized and intelligent, with nearly photographic memories. They become teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, – and get angry when not fed on time! Pittas
are easily irritated and can be dangerous when jealous, which happens often. Pittas are fanatical about their faith.
Pittas sleep short and deep, with fiery dreams of war and violence. They are good orators, but can be sharp and cutting with their speech.
Kaphas are large, big boned, thick and strong. They stand not too tall, but often as the foundation of society. Kaphas have a tendency to be overweight and can become heavy by just looking at food. Their skin is thick, smooth, cool and oily with a tendency to be pale.
Kapha’s hair is thick, wavy, oily with strong even white teeth. They seldom get a cavity. Kaphas have small appetites and eat slowly – many small meals a day – they are the big snackers of society. They like pungent, bitter, and astringent foods like spicy dishes and green salads. But Kaphas especially like dry, crispy things. They rarely drink, and have one full and heavy bowel movement daily.
Kaphas are not very active and must study repeatedly to understand, but will never forget once they learn. Therefore they often prefer repetitious jobs where little innovation is necessary. Kapha people in general are slow, steady and reliable. They are extremely compassionate, forgiving, loving, and patient, often becoming social workers, nurses, and the clergy of different religions. They have a deep, steady faith and highly developed spiritual feelings.
Kaphas sleep deep and long, often dreaming of romantic settings by lakes and rivers, or swimming. They speak slowly in a monotonous voice.
It is important to keep in mind that each of us is a combination of the 3 doshas. In Ayurveda, once you understand your body type or dosha, you can structure a diet for yourself which will really work to make you feel totally balanced and harmonized. Similarly you can design an exercise plan which will benefit your dosha – Kaphas need more stimulation than Vatas, who get frazzled more easily, for example.