Why Ayruveda is still useful in the Modern World..
.As many of you know, I’m in India at the moment and learning more Ayurvedic and advanced yogic principles to add to my repotiore, and and so I’ve been getting lots of question about how knowing you dosha may/may not be helpful for staing healhty in the modern world, even if your main form of medicine that you use is modern allopathic medicine. The reason I like to draw upon some Ayurvedic concepts when helping a client is that it gives an easy to understand and useful way of explaining someone’s personality and body type, and of appreciating the unique stregths of each person, and the concept that not everyone can or should look the same, eat the same, exercise the same, and act the same. It’s just a way of telling someone valubable information about what makes them tick, and how to maximize their strengths and not stay ‘balanced’ when under stress. A lot of it is also based in simple common sense! So, that being said, I believe that some of the basic concepts in Ayurveda are useful to EVERYONE to avoid illness, stay happy and balanced, and know what foods and what kind of exercise may best for your physiology. In fact, Ayurveda is an intricate advanced science, the word itself meaning ‘the science of life.” It was the earliest advanced system of medicine created approximately 3000 years ago, and was far ahead of it’s time even 2000 years ago, with recognizing the importance of human hygeine methods to present the spread of disease, a concept that in europe was virtually unheard of until well over a thousand years after this time. Many of the principles on how to eat and live are still applicable today, and in over the next few weeks, I’ll be telling you about the basic concepts and how to use them in your own life, and keep it simple for the busy modern life!
Finding your Dosha
The first basic concept in using Ayurveda to your stay healthy is finding out your Dosha, or MindBody Type. There are 3 mind body types: Vata, PItta and Kapha. These 3 types are composites of the 5 elements in Ayurveda: ether, air, fire, earth and water. For example, The Vata dosha is made up of a combination of air and ether, the Pitta dosha is the fire element with a bit of water, and the Kapha dosha is a combination of the Water and Earth elements. I often get asked by my western medical colleagues what that actually means, and the best way of explaining it is this: I see it as really a metaphor for how our environment, both external and internal, can influence our health, and our lives. The word Dosha, in the most traditional sense in Ayurveda, actually refers to the main imbalance a person is prone to in their body and mind. All people are made up of all 3 doshas, but most people have 1 or 2 of them which dominate. For example, my dosha is Vata/Kapha;, My Fiance’s dosha is Pitta. There are many ways to find out what your dosha is, seeing an Ayurvedic practitioner, or even just going online to one of the various questionnaire tools available. I use a composite questionnaire with observation and in depth individual questioning when working with a new client to find their mindbody type. Each Dosha has predominant physical typicalities too–for example, Pitta people are well muscled, medium build and heat intolerant, vs Vata people are stereotypically very lean, smaller boned, and not naturally very physically flexible. These are broad generalizations, and I find a more advanced knowledge is needed to really precisely tell someone their dosha in some cases, but in some, this is a pretty good start! Some people have a near equal amount of all 3 doshas, and are called ‘tridoshic.’ A common misconception is that everyone should strive toward this equal balance–that being ‘tridoshic’ is ‘better’ or means you are ‘healthier’ but this is not the case. I tridoshic person can become unbalanced just as a Vata dominant person–it’s about harmony for your individual make up, not having an equal amount of all 3!
Find Your Dosha So You can Start Using Ayurvedic Tips and Tricks Now!
So, the first step is finding a dosha questionnaire (I will work on trying to ‘digitalize’ the one I use with clients for you guys, but in the meantime, there are many books and free online versions;) and finding your dosha and in the next blog post I’m going to talk about eating to balance your mindbody type, or dosha and simple guidelines you can follow to help you choose the foods that may suit your body best!