Ayurveda: The Science of Life

Ayurveda is a system of medicine that comes to us from the Indian Subcontinent.  It is the first — and consequently the oldest-  system of medicine in the world.  Ayurveda honors that for optimal health we must address not just the state of the physical body, but also the mind and spirit.  Sound familiar?  Yes, Ayurveda was the first documented truly holistic approach to health.  It emphasizes prevention as the means to enjoy robust good health, and the use of specific herbs to treat imbalances and acute stages of illness.

A central aspect of Ayurveda is the individual dosha.  These are biological energies throughout the body and mind that govern all psychological and physiological functions of the body.  The dosha also offers an individual blueprint for achieving and maintaining good health.  Most people are a combination of two of the doshas, so you may be vata-pitta or pitta-kapha for example.

  • Vata: Your mind darts from one thing to the next. You tend to be slim and gangly with dry, wiry hair. Mentally, you’re very creative but you get bored easily.
  • Pitta: You have a sharp intellect and a matching appetite. You’re of medium build and have silky hair. You’re passionate and enthusiastic. You usually enjoy studying.
  • Kapha: You’re laid-back and easy going. You’re prone to weight gain with a slow metabolism. It takes you a while to commit facts to memory, but once there you’ll never forget them.

So, what is your dosha?  Here’s a simple questionnaire that will help you Discover Your Dosha, then read on about the different doshas and how you can personalize your natural health approach.

Discover Your Dosha

Eating Right for Your Ayurvedic Type

(The information below was excerpted from “Ayurveda for Dummies Cheat Sheet – UK)

Your basic Ayurvedic constitution or type (vata, pitta or kapha) influences which foods are most appropriate for you for staying healthy and balanced. Remember: you’re probably a combination of types, so follow the advice for your predominant dosha.

ETH_pic-doshas

If vata is prominent in your constitution, your daily diet should be light, warmed and slightly oily, to help your digestive system.  Soak dried fruits before you eat them.Be sure to eat breakfast to keep energy levels up. Avoid yeasty products. Nuts are a great snack, eat frequent small portions. Avoid caffeine. If not, drink black tea, in small amounts.  Spices are a good choice to stimulate the floe of digestive enzymes.

If you’re predominantly pitta, you benefit from nourishing, cooling and sweet foods. Pittas have big appetites,  so try not to eat too much at a sitting Eat raw foods and enjoy salads and refreshing cool drinks – especially in the summer. Include high quality protein, such as beans. Wheat products and heavier foods help keep you in balance. Keep your fluids high in hot weather. Don’t eat when you’re upset or angry; you’ll get indigestion and headaches.

If you have a kapha constitution you already have a strong, well-built body so you need less of heavy foods like bread and pasta. Eat light, dry and warm food, with pungent, bitter and astringent tastes.  Avoid oily, cold or heavy foods and drinks. Avoid rich desserts. Skip overly salty foods to keep weight off.   Make your food spicier to increase digestive power.