Hello darling, what’s your dosha? 😉
I have a friend who jokingly suggested there should be a holistic conscious version of online dating for people that live a more aligned with nature lifestyle, an app with a little more depth, connection, and wholesomeness. “Ayurvedic chat-up lines could be the next big thing,” she laughed, “asking someone their dosha as well as their star sign.”
With neither of us being fans of small talk or cheesy chat up lines, she reminded me of the time twenty years ago when mobile phones and chatting via text exploded into popularity. When small talk became even smaller: strangers greeted each other with a/s/l in chat rooms text-speak was cool (C u l8r)! The latest thing is this dating malarkey where potential dates are judged solely on their looks in a phone app. What’s your type? I’m into Pitta with a dash of Kapha. How about you? Sorry to disappoint, Dosha dating isn’t a thing…yet, I hope!
You’ll be relieved to hear I am not pursuing this kind of venture, rather just musing on the Doshas and how everyone is a unique blend of each different Dosha type.
With all cringeworthy anecdotes aside, as an Ayurvedic coach, the most frequent and important question I have from students and clients is “I am Vata, Pitta or Kapha?” My answer is the same every time, that you are all three doshas. You are Vata, Pitta and Kapha, a unique combination of all three in varying amounts.
If you are unfamiliar with the Doshas in Ayurveda, I shall rewind a little, read on for a brief explanation.
Ayurveda believes that the entire universe, everything in it, including our bodies, is made up of five elements; earth, fire, air, water, and space so everything in Ayurvedic principles is based on this five-element theory (called Pancha Maha Bhutas in Sanskrit). The way they physically manifest in our bodies, just as you would describe a person as a certain body type, are described using the three Doshas Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
These body types can be quite poetically described as animals. Remember, you have a bit of each animal within your bodily constitution, with one or two more dominant which is reflected in your outward appearance.
Vata is described as a deer who is as fast as lightning. Your inner deer (I can’t help but think of Bambi) is responsible for all movements.
Pitta is like a tiger who is fiery and wild. Your inner tiger is responsible for digestion, metabolism, and body temperature.
Kapha is an elephant, calm and steady with high endurance who is responsible for lubrication, cohesiveness and body structure in your body.
The Doshas are a way to describe an individual’s physical constitution, body shape, skin, eyes, hair and bodily functions are categorized under each body type. Identifying the current balance of one’s doshas and which are more dominant than others is an important step in devising a lifestyle and diet plan that is tailor-made for you by your Ayurvedic coach. Everyone possesses a unique combination of these five elements in varying degrees and Ayurveda teaches how we need the five elements balanced within ourselves to remain healthy. Different foods, since they are also made up of these elements, also have Vata, Pitta and Kapha properties, which you can choose to eat according to your needs to balance you out.
Let’s look at each Dosha in a little more in-depth and how the elements are incorporated into each type.
Vata Dosha Space and Air
Vata constitution consists of the elements space and air. The space element in this type makes a lighter frame, low-density bones and muscles, lower strength and endurance but a very active body. On the mental side, Vata is sociable, creative, active and innovative thinking. The air element in vata relates to movement, light, again a creative mind and an active body, speedy learning and understanding. The circulation is less strong resulting in breathing more quickly, a faster heart rate, colder skin, hands and feet. Common problems relating to a Vata imbalance are physical and mental overuse, stress and lack of sleep that can create degenerative disorders.
Pitta Dosha Fire and Water
If Pitta was a person, they would have a strong appetite to go with their strong digestion and metabolism. They are more muscular, have good circulation, are oily skinned, and warmer so they are prone to sweating. They are extroverted, competitive and disciplined but if imbalanced they may be easily irritated and also can burn out. Pitta and Kapha below both contain the water element, which helps stabilize the mind, to calm and relax by slowing the fire within (Agni in Sanskrit). Water keeps tissues intact and strong, it is cooling, adds softness and moisture, however, too much water can lower the metabolism excessively as well as motivation and passion.
Kapha Dosha Water and Earth
Earth element features are reflected by mass, a heavy strong build, high density, stable physique and good endurance in Kapha dosha. A Kapha person is softer, maybe with thicker hair, the metabolism is slow and the skin is thick. Mentally they are strong, can easily handle stress, and are stable and without drama. With an excess of earth Kapha can be prone to boredom, depression, and dullness with imbalances leading to obesity, cancer, tumor, cysts or depression.
Knowing your constitution is significant in understanding your wellbeing and health needs. You might already recognize some of the above traits in yourself. An Ayurvedic practitioner helps you to find out your personal, unique constitution to guide you on how to manage your lifestyle, diet, activities, and improve your metabolism according to how much you possess of each Dosha and whether you have any imbalances that need resolving, to prevent disease so you can live your best life – healthily and happily!
Ayurveda’s ancient wisdom remains one constant you can rely on in life, as ancient wisdom can never go out of fashion, unlike the social phases and crazes I mentioned earlier that will come and go. Next time someone asks if you have a “type,” you can smile and think of this article! At least it could make small talk a little less small, and a lot more interesting.