What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda translates from Sanskrit as 'The Science of Life' - Ayur means life and veda means knowledge. It is an ancient Indian holistic healing science, which is believed to be over 5000 years old. Ayurveda is often referred to as 'The Mother of all Healing' and is regarded as the 'sister' science to Yoga. However, where Yoga is well known throughout the world (especially Yoga Asanas or poses), Ayurveda is virtually unheard of amongst the vast majority of people.
In Ayurveda, health is dependent on the correct balance of body, mind and spirit. When these three elements are in harmony, then health and vitality are present. Everything in life consists of five elements: space/ether (ākāśa); air/wind (vāyu); fire (tejas); water (jala) and earth (pṛthvī). These five elements were condensed intro three constitutional types or doshas.
The Three Doshas
Vata consists of ether and air, and has the qualities of movement and dryness. It controls the flow of all movement in the body such as breathing, absorption and circulation.
Vata represents the essence that moves the other two doshas, so aggravated Vata is the root cause of most illnesses.
Those with a predominantly Vata constitution are light, energetic, creative and adaptable.
When imbalanced, they become nervous, restless and think too much. They may also have problems sleeping.
Pitta is made up of the elements of fire and water. The primary site of Pitta in the body is the small intestine. Pitta relates to the endocrine system, hormones, digestion, temperature and hunger.
People with a Pitta constitution are driven and determined; they don't give up easily. However, when Pitta is not balanced, they can become angry and short-tempered, unwilling to listen to reason and single-minded.
Aggravated Pitta can lead to rashes, cardio-vascular diseases, heavy sweating and heat and inflammation in the body.
Kapha consists of earth and water and is the most consistent and stable of the doshas.
It is very powerful, located in the lungs, and responsible for sustaining our organism.
Kapha people are generally calm and relaxed and they are caring people.
When Kapha is aggravated, they can become very lethargic and difficult to motivate. They gain weight easily and can have respiratory and digestive problems. It is important that they mind their food intake, as they have great appetites but poor digestion and slow metabolism.
When we are born our bodies are thought to be in perfect balance of the doshas, according to our constitution. This is known as your prakriti and it does not change during your lifetime. However, it can and does get out of balance due to dietary, environmental and lifestyle factors. Your current energetic constitution is known as vikriti. Because of your unique Prakriti, Ayurveda treats you as an individual, and can help you to learn a diet and lifestyle that is perfect for you.
Online tests are not necessarily 100% accurate, as the individual is usually already out of balance, or in a state of vikriti. We have included one below for a general overview, but it is important to get a proper consultation from an Ayurvedic doctor.
This is a very basic overview of the doshas, and there is much more depth to the system, but it can give you a brief idea.
If you would like more information about the Ayurvedic system, we have included the link below: