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What’s My Dosha?
Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old healing system that focuses on the individual’s unique mind-body type. The first question Ayurvedic doctors ask is, “Who is my patient? What is this person’s essential nature?” They look for clues that will reveal the patient’s constitutional type or “dosha.”
Doshas are most easily thought of as mind-body principles that govern our style of thinking and behaving. Vata dosha, woven from the elements of space and air, regulates movement and change in our minds and bodies. Pitta dosha, comprised of fire and water, governs digestion and metabolism. Kapha dosha, made from earth and water, protects the integrity and structure of our mind and body.
The Three Primary Mind-Body Types
All three doshas are present in every cell, tissue, and organ – for movement, metabolism, and protection are essential components of life. What makes life interesting is that although everyone has all three doshas, each of us mixes them together in a unique way, which determines the distinctive qualities of our mind and body. To find out your own mind-body type, take the Dosha Quiz at www.doshaquiz.chopra.com
Vata: Movement and Change
If Vata dosha predominates, movement and change are characteristic of your nature. You will tend to always be on the go, with an energetic and creative mind. As long as Vata is in balance, you will be lively and enthusiastic, with a lean body.
If excessive stress in your life leads to your Vata force becoming imbalanced, your activity will start to feel out of control. Your mind may race and you may experience anxiety and insomnia and digestive problems. If you notice these early symptoms of a Vata imbalance, slow down, take time to meditate, don’t skip meals, and get to bed earlier. A regular routine helps ground Vata; so, you’re not carried away into the ethers.
Pitta: Transformation and Metabolism
A healthy Pitta constitution results in strong appetites and strong digestion of both information and experience. When Pitta becomes imbalanced, heat begins to rise in the body and mind. Heartburn, ulcers, hypertension, and inflammatory conditions reflect excessive accumulation of the fire element.
Mentally, too much Pitta manifests as irritability and anger. These symptoms are signals to “chill.” Stop packing in too many things to do in too little time. Reduce your competitive activities, decrease your consumption of alcohol (fire water), and go for a walk in a natural setting.
Kapha: Structure and Fluidity
People with a predominance of Kapha in their nature are solid, reliable, contented souls. But when Kapha builds to excess, weight gain, fluid retention, and allergies manifest in the body. Excess Kapha in the mind manifests as resistance to change and stubbornness. People with an excess of Kapha tend to hold on to things, jobs, and relationships long after they’re no longer nourishing or necessary.
To lighten the heaviness of Kapha, get yourself moving and start exercising today. Eat lighter, spicy foods, and clear out accumulated clutter from your home or office.
The principles of Ayurveda are ancient and timeless. As you look at yourself and the world through this window, unconscious patterns will enter into your awareness. Once you know your innate tendencies, you can make better choices to support harmony in body and mind. 3
Deepak Chopra is a best-selling author and co-founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, California. Deepak teaches the key practices of Ayurveda, yoga, and meditation. Call 888-736-6895 or visit www.chopra.com/renewal.