Did you know there are three major Ayurveda body types? Riddle us this-what gives a pair of twins such drastically different personalities, physiological characteristics, and mental attributes? Why do two people eating the same food digest it differently? For example, one may be able to digest food quickly and feel hungry again while the other person struggles with digesting the previous dinner? How are some people so fidgety while others are calm as a log in the most trying situations? What makes some not gain weight despite being certified foodies while others seem to gain weight from the mere mention of food? The elaborate answer to these questions lies in the 5000-year-old science of healing called Ayurveda.
The modern lingua franca is incomplete without wellness influencers talking about ‘dosha’ or ‘gunas’ or ‘abhyanga’ or ‘prakruti’. But what are they and how do they relate to us?
(Also read: Guide to Doshas and its connection with Covid-19)
Ayurveda is the science of life
*‘Ayur’ means life and ‘veda’ is knowledge. It has emerged as a popular, nature-based, sustainable alternative and complementary therapy that supports and boosts the body’s natural bio intelligence in healing itself. It comes with tremendous potential as a preventive science. Also, Ayurveda aims to eliminate the disease from its roots instead of just treating or repressing the symptoms. It offers you a holistic understanding of your current health status, based on how the five great elements or panchmahabhutas that constitute doshas, interact and maintain the rhythm of life.
Ayurveda is not only a science but a healthy and wholesome way of life, where we pay close attention to what we put into our system in terms of food, thoughts, spiritual practices and herbs; and how effectively we purge the toxins from our system from time to time. It is all about bringing our body and mind to a state of perfect balance, rejuvenation and harmony, by harmonizing your doshas
Doshas and Prakruti-an understanding of the major ayurveda body types
Akin to what Greeks call the ‘humor’, Doshas are the three fundamental bio-energies that govern the major functions in our body and mind. Doshas are made up of the five elements with varying dominance, and we are in turn shaped as individuals with unique psychophysiological characteristics (called Prakruti), by the doshas that dominate our constitution. The three doshas are vata (air and ether), pitta (fire and water), kapha (earth and water). So to answer one of the questions in the introduction, it is different prakrutis that explains why twins have very individual personalities and physical dispositions, or ayurveda body types.
Why is Ayurveda needed?
According to Ayurveda, we are born in a state of perfect balance of doshas, which is when we are healthy, enthusiastic and full of sattva or purity. But as we grow and encounter various stressors from our environment; expose ourselves to toxicants and pollutants in food, beverages, and cosmetics; diet loaded with unhealthy saturated fats, ingredients, and lifestyle that may or may not be aligned with what is good for our Ayurveda body types, stress, seasonal influences, these all can create certain imbalances, called vikruti.
Ayurveda plays a key role in managing these vikriti and bringing the aggravated doshas in balance. How do you know what your prakruti and vikriti are?
A seasoned Ayurveda practitioner can examine your prakruti-and tell you if you have a predominance of pitta, vata or kapha or a combination of two of them. An important way that Ayurveda differs from western medicine is *Ayurveda practitioners undertake a complete and exhaustive examination of an individual’s doshas, through a timeless diagnostic technique called Nadi pariksha, to inform you meaningfully about how the doshas influence your current state of health, if they are in balance or out of balance and, most importantly, illnesses that you are predisposed to, due to your prakruti. The experienced practitioners will also tell guide you about what one can do to bring into or maintain the doshas in balance–the dosha-focused diet, lifestyle, herbs, spices, herbal formulations and the right Ayurvedic treatments to set the imbalances right.
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Ayurveda experts will not only tell you what is healthy for your constitution but also let you in on everything that you were going wrong about your diet and lifestyle, that had triggered illnesses or were likely to. For example, you may love salads and think they are very healthy for you but for vata people, some salads may actually vitiate their vata dosha. So Ayurveda experts can tell you what the counter-indications are for your doshas, in terms of diet and lifestyle practices.
The three doshas that determine the ayurveda body types
Right from the seasons of the year to vegetables and fruits, texture, food, colors, various organs in the body, movement, creation, digestion and assimilation, to cognition, Doshas influence every natural process.