Better Health through Digestion with an Ayurvedic Diet
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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.
Kapha happens in the beginning of life, the year, the day, the night, and digestion. Kapha is thus naturally increased during the following times:
Childhood - Children are reknown for colds, congestion, and mucous. Children love to sleep late and eat sweet heavy foods. They love to play and hate to work. They are loving and innocent.
Late winter and spring - During winter, Kapha fat rises to protect the body from coldness, driving the heat of the body inward. As the sun heats the air in late winter, the body sheds the layer of protective fat causing releasing Kapha into the blood stream. Melting Kapha is the ayurvedic cause of Hay Fever congestion.
After sunrise and sunset - For the two hours after sunrise and sunset, the person feels relaxed. Kapha people will enjoy staying in bed past sunrise and after dinner laziness. If Kapha is high, there will be congestion during these times.
First two hours after a meal - After eating the body feels calm and content due to rising blood sugar level, which is Kapha. Congestion also increases immediately after eating unless the food is spicy!
Stomach - Mucous buildup in the stomach from slow digestion is the root of increased Kapha throughout the body.
Mouth - Many Kapha individuals experience strong food cravings. Lacking the metabolism to process strong emotions, Kapha people also tend to suppress emotions and agitation with food..
Lymph - Kapha people have high blood sugar and cholesterol levels in the blood, leading to the slimy and oily quality clogging the blood vessels. Poor circulation deprives extremities of oxygen and Kapha individuals feel cold in the extremities. Slimy and oily quality manifest topically on the skin.
Lungs, Throat, Sinsuses, and Nose - Excess water and hyperglycemia lead to a thick layer of mucous in the lungs and GI tract. The result is congestion and improper circulation of lymph. Thick mucous reduces absorption of oxygen in the lungs. To compensate, the body lowers metabolism (low thyroid) and Kapha becomes psychologically overwhelmed and depressed. To balance, dry the body, avoid heavy guna and sweet taste. Favor bitter and pungent.
Breasts - Kapha in the lymphatic system leads to larger breasts and stagnation of lymph in mastic tissue. The breasts may be lumpy.
Pancreas - Hyperglycemia and anoxia together lead to insulin resistance in the cells, eventually wearing out the pancreas causing diabetes.
Mind - Sugary blood and and good absorption makes Kapha content and peaceful. When the blood is too thick, circulation is affected and the mind becomes dull and depressed.
Can a person be a mix or more than one dosha?
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