Ayurveda… The Perfect solution for our Wellness!
In life there are two sides to everything, even to our health. So far, we look at health as absence of disease and keep treating symptoms. Pills and surgeries do not solve all the problems. Millions of people still have allergies and thousands of kids are getting asthma. From young to old, everybody is under stress. Obesity, Diabetes is on the rise and heart disease is still a number one killer.
Ayurveda, a 5000-year-old “wisdom of Healthy Living”, offers other side of our health. Ayurvedically, Health is the balance of Body-Mind-Spirit, not just absence of disease.
In Nature, nothing is alike. Look at the trees, the flowers, the colors, the birds and the bees. There is variety in everything. Human beings are not an exception to this rule either. Each individual is unique. We have unique looks and personalities, likes and dislikes. We react differently to similar diets, weather patterns or situations in life. Some people can lose weight easily, while for others, it is a challenge. Few are born worriers, while others are calm and content. If this is a fact, then why do we measure our health by the “standard” ruler? Why is there a standard treatment and standard diet? Why is there a “standard code” for everything? If we forget the “standard” and start recognizing and respecting the difference, we will find answers to many of our health problems. (Modern medicine has recently started realizing this fact).
The uniqueness in each individual is because of the different proportion of natural energies in the body. Instead of looking at the body as a physical structure, Ayurveda views it in the form of three natural energies called “Doshas”: “Vata”, “Pitta” and “Kapha”. These energies govern all the physiological functions in the body. Vata energy is responsible for all the actions and movements, thoughts and emotions. Pitta controls the metabolism, body temperature, thinking and reasoning. Kapha governs tissue building, fluid balance, calmness and nurturing.
Unique proportion of Doshas (energies) in each individual is called “Body Constitution”. It is our Mind-Body “Blue Print”. Knowing our own constitution is like finding a secret key to our health. Maintaining the unique Dosha balance is Health and imbalance is disease.
Each Body Constitution has predominant physical characteristics. Vata predominant people are slim and slender, very energetic, intuitive, imaginative and artistic. They walk fast, talk fast and drive in the fast lanes and tend to “change their mind” often. Pitta people are generally medium built and height, with sharp eyes, sharp nose and sharp tongue. They are very organized in their work, speech, and life. “Winning is everything” to them. Often they dictate people so, naturally their slogan is “my way or the highway”. Kapha people are mostly stout or well built, with rounded features and sweet, easy going personality. They are loving and nurturing. Their slogan is “Don’t worry, be happy”.
Knowing Body Constitution offers many benefits:
- Helps make right food choices
- Helps pick the right exercise routine
- Improves Relationship with family and colleagues
- Increase the productivity and quality of work
- Helps to pick the right career
- Most importantly helps prevent diseases and minimize absenteeism
Food choices are a major aspect of our health. Vata people feel grounded if they favor warm and moist foods like oatmeal or grits for breakfast and pasta with sauce or stir-fried vegetables and rice for lunch, and warm soups and rice for dinner. Pittas feel cool, by focusing on raw, cold foods like salads, fresh fruits, complex carbohydrates and mildly spicy foods. Kaphas should spice up their life with ginger, garlic, jalapenos and black pepper to feel light, energetic and mentally focused.
Each dosha predominance is prone to certain diseases. So when we restore Dosha balance, we can prevent those diseases. For example, Vata predominant people tend to get Dry skin, Dandruff, Eczema, Constipation, gas, bloating, pain, arthritis, anxiety and Panic attacks, worry, fear etc. By following Vata balancing diet and life style we can prevent these diseases. Pittas can get rid of Heart burn, GERD, ulcers, High blood pressure, anger and irritability etc by following Pitta balancing diet and life style. Kaphas can avoid getting allergies, congestion, weight gain and edema, obesity and Diabetes etc, by following Kapha balancing foods and daily routine.
Are you curious to know your own Prakriti? Here is a questionnaire. Under each point, there are various choices. Circle the choices, which describe you over all your life (not who you want to be). We want to know your tendencies.
- Physical Stature
V) I am a slender person; I hardly gain weight
P) I am medium built
K) I am well built; I tend to gain weight easily
V) My skin tends to be dry, thin and/or itches often
P) My skin looks flushed; I have lots of moles and freckles on my body
K) My skin is smooth and soft. It looks pale sometimes
V) My face is oval
P) My face is triangular (I have a pointed chin)
K) My face is round
V) I am hyperactive person, always on the go
P) I always think before I do anything
K) I am steady and graceful. I don’t like to rush
V) I walk fast, talk fast and I drive fast
- P) My actions are very thoughtful, and precise
K) I am slow, I like to take my time
V) interrupted, I toss and turn often, may wake up early in the morning (~3.00 am)
P) I am a light sleeper, If something wakes me up, I can easily go back to sleep
K) I am a heavy sleeper; I sleep like a log
V) Varies, sometimes I feel hungry, sometimes not. I feel anxious if I don’t eat
P) I always feel hungry; if I don’t eat, I get irritable and angry
K) I don’t feel very hungry; I can go easily without food for a day
- Bowel movement
V) I tend to constipate, may skip a day or two
P) I have regular bowel movements, sometimes they are loose
- K) I have no problem; I wake up to go to the bathroom
V) I am a born worrier, I often feel anxious and nervous
P) I often feel irritable and angry, especially when things don’t happen my way
K) I am a happy person, calm and content
- Weather preference
V) I love warm and humid weather
P) I enjoy cool weather, I hate warm climate
K) I like warm but dry weather
V) I hardly sweat
P) I perspire easily/profusely
K) I sweat moderately
V) I remember quickly, but forget quickly too
P) I remember what I want to remember, and never forget
K) I am a little slow to remember, but once I do, I never forget. I remember details
V) I never plan, I tend to do things on the spur of a moment
P) I am a list maker, unless I plan, I don’t do anything
K) I don’t like to plan; I like to follow others
V) I like to do things in spurts. I get tired very easily
P) I have medium stamina
K) I can work long hours. I have a good stamina
V) My Mind starts racing often, I get restless
- P) I get impatient easily
K) Generally I feel very calm, sometimes my mind becomes sluggish
V) “Can I change my mind”?
P) “Do it my way or the highway”!
K) “Don’t worry, be happy”!
V) I like action
P) I like to win. I am very competitive
K) I like to have fun
- Health problems
V) My symptoms are mainly pain, constipation, anxiety, depression etc.
P) I often get skin infections, fevers, heartburn, etc
K) I tend to get allergies, congestion, weight gain, sluggish digestion
V) I like art, (drawing, painting), love to dance, travel
P) I like sports, politics
K) I am a nature person; I like gardening, reading, and knitting
Good! You finished the major part. Now count all Vs, Ps and Ks.
V ________, P _________, K _________
This proportion of Vata, Pitta and Kapha is your Body Constitution. If you fit in “V” category more, then you may have more Vata predominance. If you circled more “P” choices, you may have strong Pitta, dominating your personality and if “K” choices seem more appropriate, Kapha may be responsible for your looks and likes.
In short, by knowing our Body Constitution, we start getting a better understanding about our body, our emotions, how to achieve inner balance and most importantly prevent diseases and be healthy and Well.
Incorporating Ayurvedic Life style has tremendous benefits for our healthcare costs. It is resurging as a “New Age” science and gaining popularity around the world. It will be a _____________________.
(Dr. Jay Apte has a degree in Ayurvedic and conventional medicine and has 35+ years of clinical experience. She has established Dr. Jay’s Health & Nature wellness center in Mountain View, CA, and has helped thousands of people achieve Health through Ayurveda. For more information please call (650) 584 – 3123 or firstname.lastname@example.org