We’re already six days into this new year and new decade, and I must confess, I already feel like I’m running behind! On paper, I’m hitting my goals daily; but mentally, there’s a part of me that feels like my mind has not caught up with my body. Granted, I spent two of the six days out of town so I think it sort of threw my nervous system out of whack. Did you know that when you travel, your vata increases?
Vata is an ayurvedic term for the subtle energy in each of us that governs the functions of the autonomic nervous system. Vata is one of three Doshas — elemental energies — that makes up every human being. Basically, it’s your DNA. DNA is what makes up who you are not only in your physical appearance but also your personality, your tendencies, your digestion, etc. Since I am not an expert geneticist, doshas are much easier for me to understand and explain.
There are three primary Doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Vata governs the Air/Ether elemental qualities such as movement and change. Pitta governs the Fire elemental qualities such as intensity and power. Kapha governs the Water/Earth elemental qualities such as moisture and solidity. Everyone has all three doshas within them and we are born with a certain energetic constitution known as Prakriti in Ayurveda. Most of us are born with two doshas that tend to be greater than the third. It is possible to have all three doshas equally, but this is rare. The following is no way near a full list of the doshic qualities, but it will hopefully give you some information to start your understanding of the doshas.
Qualities of Vata
Physical: Thin, light frame. Easy to lose weight. Have dry skin and hair as well as cold hands and feet. Light sleepers and have slow digestion.
Emotional: Creative and love to daydream. Tend to talk fast and have a higher voice.
When Out of Balance: Tendency towards weight loss (generally), hypertension, arthritis, weakness, restlessness, constipation and gas. Anxiety, restlessness and insomnia.
Qualities of Pitta
Physical: Medium size and weight. Premature graying, baldness or thinning hair. Excellent digestion. Warm body temperature. Quality sleep in short sleep cycles. Has a lot of energy.
Emotional: Intellectual and has great concentration ability. Ambitious and task-oriented. Usually has medium, sharp voice.
When Out of Balance: Skin rashes, indigestion, peptic ulcers, diarrhea, impatient and argumentative.
Qualities of Kapha
Physical: Strong build and excellent stamina. Smooth and radiant skin. Thick hair. Either very tall or very short.
Emotional: Naturally calm and caring. Tend to prefer a routine in their lives. Loyal, patient, and supportive.
When Out of Balance: Hoarding, Co-dependency, stubbornness, overweight, excessive sleeping, hay fever and depression.
So now what?
There are many websites that you can check out for a more detailed information on this subject, but one that I highly recommend is Yoga International. They have a quiz you can take to find out what your Doshas are. I recommend that you take it twice: The first time you take your quiz, your answers should be based on when you were a child, before puberty. This is generally your true prakriti. The second time you take the quiz, your answers should based on your life today. Keep in mind though, this is not a fool-proof method as we’re not always the best judge of ourselves. The best option to find out and pacify your doshic imbalances is to meet with a certified Ayurvedic Practitioner. You can always google “ayurvedic practitioner near me” to find some in your area. The one I always recommend to people is Rachael Harper who is based out of Mt. Holly, NC. She is a Yoga Teacher, Studio Owner, Thai Yoga Therapist and Ayurvedic Practitioner. She offers online and in-person appointments (BTW, I am not receiving compensation from her for my recommendation. You will start to see more recommendations from me in the upcoming blogs).
Ayurveda is an excellent holistic healing system using the doshas to create physical, emotional, and energetic healing through diet, physical activity, and other natural modalities.
In this new year, I invite you to try different holistic methods and see what works best for your health goals!
Stay tuned for my blog next week about acupuncture! 😉