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.
Pitta happens in the middle. Pitta is naturally increased during the middle of life, the year, the day, and the middle of digestion.
Adulthood (Puberty - 50s) - Rebellious teenagers with acne are a book picture of high Pitta. With adulthood come responsibility, ambition, and organization.
Summer - Pitta gets high in the summer due to heat and bright light of the sun. The blood vessels become dilated and the skin sweats.
Noon and Midnight - Two hours before and after 12:00, Pitta becomes high in the stomach leading to increased acid secretions. At midnight the liver also becomes active for cleansing. This "second wind" is for our organs, but many Pitta people steal the second wind for their mind.
2-4 hours after a meal - In the sour phase of digestion, Pitta people will notice a slight stinging in the eyes. Many people crave dessert during the sour phase because high acidity in the body makes them uncomfortable.
Small Intestine - The small intestine holds food until it has been fully digested. If digestion is slow or weak, metabolic wastes from growing colonies of bacteria cause buildup of acidity. The body responds by increasing Pitta dosha.
Stomach - Hydrochloric acid is sharp, breaking up food particles. If the mucous lining of the stomach is too thin, an ulcer can develop.
Sweat and sebaceous glands - Body odor is Pitta and a sign of poor digestion. When digestion is strong, body odor and bad breath disappear.
Blood - When Pitta is high in the small intestine, it gets absorbed through the lining of the GI tract into the blood. Pitta in the blood causes rashes, fever and irritability,
Eye - When Pitta enters the blood or the liver is weakened, eyesight deteriorates. Many Pitta types wear glasses. Other signs are inflamed or yellow eyes.
Skin - Pitta in the blood causes a rash, eczema and psoriasis. Clearing the blood and the liver is a classic Ayurvedic remedy.
Mind - When the liver and blood are toxic, the mind gets irritable and concentrated. Pitta people love to study after midnight. But concentration is exclusionary. Concentration takes effort. But awareness is inclusive, effortless and open. It receives everything without judgment. It is simply a witness to 'what is.'
Pitta people cannot tolerate disorder. They love to clean. The spices are arranged by name and the socks by color.
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I am confused. When you say balancing the three doshas do you mean that the ideal for a person would be a balance bet VATA-PITTA-KAPHA. In my case I have 5 Vata 29 Pitta and 13 Kapha.
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