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Body Types & ConstitutionThe three body types in Ayurveda, called doshas, are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Your body type shows you how you use energy. Vata spends energy. Pitta manages it. Kapha stores it. That's why Vata tends to be underweight and depleted, Pitta tends to be medium weight and focused, and Kapha tends to be overweight and congested.
We all know what red looks like but it's difficult to talk about. Similarly, talking about dosha can seem confusing at first. For example, everyone has all three doshas. Even if one dosha is the cause, often all three go out of balance simultaneously. Sometimes, asking 'What dosha is causing my imbalance?' can yield more practical results than 'What's my dosha?'
Your constitution is simply your background and general tendencies. If a person has a Vata body type they have the gifts of Vata but also the tendency to get Vata type illnesses. Your dosha can be inferred but your imbalances can be experienced. That's why starting with your imbalances often leads you to discovery of your doshas.
Dosha affects your body physically, mentally and spiritually. Vata people tend to by hyperactive and inspired. Pitta people tend to be disciplined and logical. Kapha people tend to be couch potatoes but nurturing. Dosha is just a broad approximation. The benefit of Dosha is perspective. It's like looking at the forest instead of the trees. Ultimately every person has a different constitution and perfect health is different for every person. In the early morning you can feel your constitution just to the right of the heart as a wish. Your wish shows you how you use your energy and spend your time, thus revealing your dosha.
Buffering ChangeEvery day, our body must react to change. In Ayurveda, a disease is any change from "normal" in the body. The body uses various mechanisms to buffer changes and self-regulate. These mechanisms leave behind chemical and metabolic residues which Ayurveda calls "aggravated" dosha. Dosha is therefore the body's preventative medicine. They provide a cushioning effect. Doshas and qualities accumulate in the body until they begin to overwhelm tissues and cause symptoms. For example Vata has the quality of dryness and includes the mechanisms used to defend the body against the dryness. Drinking less water, skipping a meal, and exercise all cause dryness and thus Vata to accumulate.
The natural changes required to accommodation seasonal climate leave behind residues and accumulation of dosha. These residues eventually weaken the body. Ayurveda recommends a seasonal cleanse to remove all residue.
Balancing the DoshasAyurveda helps people heal by balancing the doshas. When the doshas are balanced, the body is in homeostasis (a state of zero change) and that is a state of perfect health. In this state of balance the doshas are silent. When the body is healthy it automatically repairs and protects itself. When doshas are aggravated or provoked they stress the body and cause disease. For example, beans aggravate Vata. Chilies provoke Pitta.
Generally to balance dosha Ayurveda uses opposites. If the body is cold Ayurveda recommends heating foods. Ayurveda also uses the six tastes to balance the doshas. In a consultation you'll learn techniques to find your state of perfect health.
Vata comes at the end of digestion, the end of the day, the end of the year, and the end of a person's life. Vata naturally increases during the following times:
Autumn - Vata gets high in the autumn due to cold, dry and mobile qualities. Autumn is mobile because the weather is irregular and windy.
Before sunrise and sunset - In the late afternoon, before sunset, Vata is high because the body is weary and deficient from a long day's work. In the early morning before sunrise, Vata is high because the nervous system stimulates the body to wake up.
5-6 hours after a meal - Five to six hours after a meal Vata rises when blood sugar levels dip and the body gets hungry.
After 50 - Vata is deficiency and the body becomes deficient in later years of life.
Colon - The body reabsorbs moisture from feces before elimination in the colon. When the body is dry, the body struggles to absorb more water, leading to dryness in the colon. The signs of dryness are gas and constipation.
Waist & Lower Half of the Body - When Vata is high, the body becomes more mobile and the mind more active. We tend to forget about the lower half of the body.
Bones - In Ayurveda, the colon is the site of mineral re-absorption. Mineral deficiencies show up as white spots on the nails, hair loss, or arthritis. Problems with bones, nails or hair are due to high Vata.
Skin - When ama from the colon vitiates the blood, the kidneys try to eliminate the toxins through the urinary tract. The result is excess loss of fluids leading to dry skin. Vata is also the dosha of touch.
Ears - Ringing in the ears is due to high Vata. When the quality of the blood is poor due to ama, the sense organs get stimulated. The ears are especially sensitive. Many Vata people are musicians.
Mind - When Vata is high, the mind becomes stimulated, anxious, or afraid. Vata people often experience racing, disjointed thoughts. They are highly imaginative, quick to understand but also quick to forget.
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