Our body is the living tool that our soul needs to deliver our gifts into the world.
If we can integrate the legacies of our ancestors with the medical marvels of modern science, then we have the potential to enjoy a holistically healthy life where all parts of our being are working in tandem. As I wrote on my Instagram this week…
“Our body is an instrument that our soul is always playing, but sometimes our ears aren’t listening so we wind up dancing to the wrong tune. Our mind, body & spirit all need to be nurtured together, as one, because when one part gets tuned out – the others lose direction.” (see the post here)
Ayurveda translates to “the knowledge of long life” and is a set of medical practices originating from South Asia. Understanding our Ayurvedic Body Type enables us to improve our wellbeing by illuminating our metabolic make-up so that we can make our food and fitness decisions accordingly.
To begin understanding our Ayurvedic body, we need to think in terms of the 5 elements (space, air, fire, water, earth) and the 3 Dosha’s. Ayurveda says that we are most likely to experience discomfort and ill health when our Dosha (aka body type) is out of balance and not having its specific needs met.
So, I’m guessing you’re here because you want to know your own Ayurvedic Body Type? Read on to see which Dosha fits you best…
Dosha #1 – VATA: The Marathon Runner
These slim and slender folks are naturally lean, with visible joints and an unpredictable appetite. Vata’s are prone to digestion issues and intolerances, as well as dry skin and hair which can be brittle and/or frizzy. These are high energy individuals who love change and are lively and enthusiastic, struggling to keep still and always on the go – they will walk fast through the crowds just to get to where they’re going!
This high octane energy means they are able to lose weight easily, but the downsides are that they become anxious under stress and are textbook worriers. They are also likely to be light sleepers who can be easily awoken at the slightest noise, and their moods can be fleeting and unpredictable. This is due to the Vata body type being ruled by the element of Air.
You can also tell when you’ve been touched by a Vata as their hands and feet are likely to always be cold and icy to the touch – therefore they are the most likely to crave the sunshine and warm climates!
Dosha #2 – PITTA: The Athlete
Pitta’s have a medium build with a naturally muscular frame. To fuel this powerful body, they are very unlikely to skip meals and are predisposed to have an appetite for most foods. Their hair is likely to be thin, fine or they may go grey earlier than others.
As Pitta’s are ruled by the element of Fire, you may want to take cover when they are under stress as they could become irritable, intense and aggressive. This fiery nature serves them well in competitive sports which they are likely to enjoy and excel in, and they will perform any activities they are assigned with determination and purpose.
Unlike Vata’s, Pitta’s are usually warm to the touch and may even look slightly flushed – possibly because of the fire burning inside of them! For this reason, they may prefer to steer clear of hot climates and hide in cool temperatures to regulate themselves. Pitta’s are usually adept at managing their weight, particularly when they use exercise.
Dosha #3 – KAPHA: The Coach
Kapha’s are built with a sturdy frame and take great pleasure in eating – but can skip meals easily as they have slow digestion. This is particularly true for breakfast, because they are long and deep sleepers who take a long time to liven up in the mornings. Their skin is likely to be moist and oily, and their hair is likely to be thick and wavy. Of all the body types, Kapha’s are the most likely to encounter weight gain issues in their lifetime.
Kapha’s take life at a leisurely pace and will usually walk as such, seeking out activities which can be completed at their own leisure or for the sole purpose of seeking joy. They may also learn slowly, but once knowledge is imparted it will be deep and long lasting. As stressful situations disrupt their pursuit of pleasure, they become withdrawn or depressed when in their midst. Their driving purpose is to nurture and support others, which is where they contribute enormous value due to their easy-going and caring nature.
Their least favourite weather is a wet and rainy day, as they are already ruled by the element of Water. You may not know it though, as their moods are mostly steady and stable which only adds to their calming influence!
YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED THAT YOU HAVE SOME VATA, PITTA, AND KAPHA ELEMENTS…
This is normal, and the unique mix of these Dosha’s within us is known as our constitution. The ratio of each Dosha in our constitution provides an optimal blueprint for our health. For example, Vata’s should steer clear of foods which can irritate their digestion such as dairy & gluten, while Pitta’s should avoid a sedentary lifestyle where they are not able to let off steam through movement. Health problems will arise when Dosha’s are unbalanced due to unwise diet and lifestyle choices, as well as being exposed to stress and emotional trauma – all of which upset the natural state of equilibrium your constitution craves.
Each Dosha governs particular physiological realms and some of the following issues could arise from living a lifestyle out of balance with your Dosha’s needs:
Dosha #1 – VATA
Governs: Movement, Communication, Creativity, Flexibility, Nervous System
Signs of Imbalance: Fearfulness, anxiety, isolation, loneliness, exhaustion and burnout, blocked communication, unusual movements such as tremors & spasms
Dosha #2 – PITTA
Governs: Nutrition, Metabolism, Intelligence
Signs of Imbalance: Fiery and reactionary emotions like anger, frustration and jealousy; criticism, inflammatory disorders affecting the organs and tissues
Dosha #3 – KAPHA
Governs: Joints, Skin, Immunity, Love, Compassion
Signs of Imbalance: Attachment, greed, possessiveness, stubbornness, lethargy, resistance to change, stagnation
Hopefully by now you can see elements of yourself within these 3 Dosha’s! Understanding your Ayurvedic body gives you an ancient insight into your strengths and challenges, and can help to improve awareness of your physical body.
Do you think you know someone who is definitely a Marathon Runner, Athlete or Coach? Share these Ayurvedic body types with them to see if you are right!