Like many young women, I grew up idolizing images of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and the Spice Girls, all of whom graced magazine covers with size 2 bodies and gave off the impression to five year old girls that it was normal to wear belly shirts everyday.
Mixed Messages and Me
Now, I have never been a size two, and never will be. In fact, I think the closest I have ever come to a size two was on the day of my birth. As an athletic kid, I grew up with more brawn than slim. Because of this, as a young girl being fed a one-size-fits-all image by the mainstream media of what “attractive” women look like, I failed to develop an appreciation for my natural body-type. As I moved into my teenage years, my poor-body image, along with the mixed messages from the media about what I “should” and “shouldn’t” eat (Fat is Bad! Eat as many Avocados as you want! Eat cabbage soup for a month!), I developed a very distorted understanding of what my body truly needed in order to be healthy. The worst part was, I loved to eat! And the more I deprived myself in order to look a certain way, the unhappier I felt.
After years of confusion and dissatisfaction with my body, I received a pulse reading from Dr. Lokesh, a globally renowned Ayurveda and Pulse assessment expert, when he visited my hometown of Chicago. And after years of feeling that I wasn’t the person I was supposed to be, I was suddenly reminded who I truly am. “…after years of feeling that I wasn’t the person I was supposed to be, I was suddenly reminded who I truly am”
I sat down beside Dr. Lokesh, and he immediately asked for my wrists, skipping over the nervous chitchat played out at the usual doctor’s office visit. After a few minutes of his listening to my pulse, he announced that, out of the three doshas(Vata, Pitta, and Kapha), I had a predominantly Pitta constitution, along with a little Kapha. What did this mean? According to Dr. Lokesh,
“Pittas are intelligent, focused, attractive, and leaders. You also have strong digestion, but because of that you often think you can eat anything. You also have a strong appetite – never skip a meal. And don’t get seconds, as you have the tendency to overeat.”
And the Kapha?
“Kaphas have a strong build and stamina. Kapha people are patient, strong, and loyal. However, you can get lazy and have a sweet tooth. Stay away from sweets and overeating to avoid weight gain and diabetes.”
All of my body-image “shoulds” were wiped away within the span of 15 minutes as I learned the reality of my constitution and what I need in terms of food, herbs, and lifestyle to experience optimal health. “All of my body-image “shoulds” were wiped away within the span of 15 minutes as I learned the reality of my constitution” Recognizing my Strengths
Learning about my constitution through pulse reading has helped me to identify my strengths, rather than weaknesses. For example, while I may not be a top candidate for the spot of fifth Spice Girl, I am blessed with a strong stamina and athletic build, which allows me to be a top competitor in sports, and will allow me to stay active late into life. Those competitive traits, when balanced, also support my natural leadership skills and focus.
Besides providing me emergency body-image relief, pulse readings with Dr. Lokesh have often unearthed the non-physical aspects of my life that may be affecting my health. As Ayurveda takes a holistic approach to health, incorporating body, mind, and spirit into each evaluation, guidance provided by Dr. Lokesh has helped me transition out of a dead-end job, identify how romantic relationships affect my health, and develop trust.
For those interested in receiving a pulse reading for the first time, remember that pulse assessments are not a replacement for western medicine, but rather are a strong complement, and can provide basic insights into food and lifestyle often overlooked in the pharmaceutical-dominated medical industry. Whether you are new to Ayurveda or are a pulse-diagnosis pro, I invite you to take advantage of Dr. Lokesh’s United States tour and listen in to what your pulse has to say!
AUTHOR: Lucia Whalen started a daily meditation practice in 2012 and has been hooked ever since. Lucia is finishing up her undergraduate degree in English with a concentration in Creative Nonfiction writing and finds journalism to be the perfect platform for communicating her passion for the healing potential of meditation, yoga, urban agriculture and gardening, and natural medicine. When not writing, Lucia is working as a sustainability intern in Chicago, attending climate and social justice rallies, giving Climate Reality presentations, and hula hooping.