Ayurveda is one of the oldest forms of holistic medicine in the world. Developed over 5,000 years ago in India, it literally means “life knowledge”. It is guided by two main principles. First, the mind and body are connected. Second, nothing can heal and transform a body as powerfully as the mind. Ayurveda followers believe that healthy living and wellness depend on balancing mind, body, and spirit together. The school does not claim to fight disease; rather, it aims to promote good health. It is one of the leading forms of complimentary and alternative medicines in the United States today.
Ayurveda attempts to create a constant balance to promote health, including thoughts, diet, lifestyle, and herbs. This balance is unique to each individual. You need to make changes to your lifestyle to balance your individual constitution. Each individual has a unique energy pattern that combines their physical, mental, and emotional characteristics together.
There are a lot of internal and external factors that disturb that balance. Your food choices, the changing of the seasons, physical pain, and work and relationships all change your emotional state of balance. When everything is in order, your life is in balance. When it is in chaos, that’s disorder. Ayurveda attempts to maintain order.
In Ayurveda, there are 3 different energy types within a body that are constantly present. These principles are called vata, pitta, and kapha. These deal with the energies that change your balances.
Energy is required to create movement and send nutrition through the cells. You also need energies to metabolize things properly, to lubricate the cell structure, and to help the body function.
While you don’t have control over external factors tossing you out of balance, you can control your internal balances. We are well able to maintain a proper diet program and lead a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Pay attention to the decisions you make and how they balance your systems.
Mind, body, and consciousness all work together to balance with the three energies of vata, pitta, and kapha. The elemental energies of space, air, fire, water, ad earth all work with vata, pitta, and kapha to combine together and create patterns in all of creation.
1. Vata Dosha
Vata energy is the energy associated with movement. This energy combines space and air. It’s what governs how you breathe, blink, move your muscles and tissues, how your heart beats, and the cytoplasm and cell membrane movements. When vata is properly balanced, your will experience creativity and flexibility. Without the balance, you will be subjected to fear and anxiety attacks.
Vata is the most powerful of the energies, or doshas. It controls your mind and removes waste form your intestines. If vata is your body’s main life force, you are much more likely to experience anxiety, asthma, skin issues, and rheumatoid arthritis. Overeating, fear, grief, and lack of proper sleep patterns can disrupt Vata energies.
Vata is the most prominent fall energy and piques in seasonal changes. Lifestyle considerations will stabilize the motion of vata. Routines are useful to ground the moving energy and create balance.
Vata dominant people will have a lot of wit and creativity. They will easily catch on to different concepts, but also quickly forget them when they fall into disuse. They are alert and active. They will walk and think quickly, and talk just as quickly. At the end of the day, they also end up quite fatigued. These people have very little confidence and willpower, and they often feel unstable.
Vata people earn money quickly but spend it just as quickly. They don’t plan well and they end up nervous and full of anxiety.
Their appetite varies regularly and their digestive systems are not well rested. They like salad and raw vegetables but their constitution is put into balance with warm food that has been cooked. Sweet, salty, and sour tastes are the best for them.
Vata moves through the colon, ears, bones, brain, joints, thighs, skin, and ears. People Common disorders for vata people are aching joints, arthritis, emphysema, and pneumonia.
Vata has several attributes and any one the qualities taking over and being in excess can easily imbalance the body. The attributes are dry, cold, light, rough, subtle, mobile, and clear. A vata person who travels frequently will have a hard time. Constant stimulation can throw vata people out of balance. They should go to bed by 10 p.m. Balance treatments include humidifiers, steam treatments, and moisturizer. They respond well to moist, oily warmth.
2. Vata Diets
To decrease excess vata, eat warm, well-cooked foods. Have smaller meals several times a day and snack every couple of hours. It is important for meal times to be regular. One-pot meals work well for vata people: soups, casseroles, stews, and more.
Protein fixes can be balanced with eggs, chicken, turkey, fish, and venison. Dairy products also work well. Legumes and raw foods are difficult for vata bodies to digest. Cooking raw foods in oil will help vata people digest raw foods. Use spices like turmeric, cumin, ginger, garlic, and coriander.
Nuts and seeds are great for vata bodies, especially when used in milk. Avoid sugars, tobacco, and caffeine because vata people are prone to addiction.
To balance vata, keep warm and calm. Avoid cold and raw foods. Keep a regular routine and rest.
3. Pitta Dosha
Pitta energy is associated with your metabolic rates. Pitta comprises fire and water. It handles digestion, absorption, nutrition, metabolism, assimilation, and body temperature. When pitta is balanced, it promotes intelligence and understanding. Out of balance, pitta can cause anger, jealousy, and hateful behavior.
This energy is what helps your body break down foods. It also handles hormones that control your appetite. Sour and spicy foods and too much sunbathing can disrupt it. If it is your primary life force, then you’re more likely to develop heart disease, high blood pressure, and Crohn’s disease.
Pitta types tend to have medium builds and copper skin. They are prone to freckles. Their skin doesn’t wrinkle as much as vata and their hair is silky and tends towards early graying.
Pitta types are intelligent and highly alert. They are good with comprehensive but tend to become easily aggressive an agitated. They make good leaders and planners but they exhibit their wealth in material possessions.
They commonly get rashes, ulcers, fevers, and inflammations. The pitta attributes are oil, hot, light, mobile, dispersing, and liquid. Excess of this can cause aggression. Pittas love the summer.
4. Pitta Diets
Pitta diets should emphasize cool foods and avoid chilies and spices. Avoid sour, salty, and pungent foods. Pitta systems do well on vegetarian diets. They should also avoid eggs, alcohol, and meat. They can calm their tendency towards aggression by incorporating sweet and bitter foods into their diets.
Rice, oats, barley, and wheat are great for pitta people. Vegetables should form the bulk of their diet. Avoid tomatoes, garlic, and raw onions at all costs. Daikon radishes will help to cleanse the imbalanced liver, but don’t overeat them. Salads and raw foods are perfect for pitta diets and seasonal fruits are great.
Meat should be taken only in moderation with pitta diets. If you must eat meat, go for chicken or turkey. Legumes are great, especially black lentils and chickpeas.
Nuts and seeds are not good for pitta diets. They’ve got too much oil and heat. Coconut is okay on occasion because it is also cooling. Sweet dairies are good. Avoid spices like cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, fennel, and turmeric. Avoid coffee, alcohol and tobacco. If you need caffeine, occasional black teas are okay when you add milk.
To balance pitta, avoid excessive heat and oil. Avoid steam and limit salt intake. Eat cool foods with no spice and exercise during the cool parts of the day.
5. Kapha Dosha
The kapha energy is the energy that forms your body’s structure. This energy handles bones, muscles, and tendons. It is the glue that holds all the cells together. This energy forms through earth and water. It supplies water to all of the parts of the body. It lubricates the joints, it moisturizes the skin, and it stocks up immunity.
If it’s balanced, kapha comes through in the form of serenity, forgiveness, and loving behavior. If kapha is out of whack, a person could end up with envy, greed, and clinginess. Sleeping in the daytime, too many sweets and desserts, and having too much salt and watery food disrupt Kapha. If this is your main energy, you’re inclined to post food nausea, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and cancer.
Kapha people have strength, stamina, and endurance. When they are balanced, they tend to be very sweet and grounded. They easily gain weight and have slow, bad metabolisms. They don’t like exercise. They have very well developed muscles and thick skin, with long lashes and thick eyebrows.
They have deep, long sleeps. They are also very tolerant and forgiving, but can become lethargic. They have amazing long-term memories once they learn things. When they get out of balance, they can get possessive and greedy. They are well grounded and stable and are able to hold on to the money they earn.
They are prone to sinus congestion, flus, and mucous diseases. Obesity, diabetes, water retention, and headaches are common. Kapha people get aggravated while they moon gets full. Winter is their strongest season and that’s when it is very important to follow the balancing principles.
6. Kapha Diets
Kapha diets need a lot of bitter and pungent foods. Their food should energize their minds but limit overall consumption. Dairy foods, fat, and grease are very bad, as are fried foods.
Roasted, dry cooked grains are good for kapha diets, although they need fewer grains than the other 2 constitutions. Buckwheat and millet are best. Vegetables do well in kapha systems, but leafy green ones are better than roots. Avoid sweet, sour, and juicy ones. While kapha diets can handle raw vegetables, cooked ones are going to be easier for them to digest. Avoid sweet and sour fruits in favor of drying fruits like apples, apricots, mangoes, pears, peaches, and apricots.
As with pitta, they rarely need meat for their diets. If meat should be consumed, then it should be bakes or roasted. Fried foods are terrible for kapha diets. Chicken, eggs, rabbits, venison, and seafood are great options.
Nuts are also bad for kapha diets. Almonds, corn, safflower, and sunflower oils can be used in small amounts, as can dairy, but they should avoid sweet dairies.
Kapha diets should avoid sweet foods, so raw honey is the only food they should really use as a sweetener. They can use pretty much every spice available except for salt. Ginger and garlic are perfect for kapha diets. They can benefit from coffee and tea, and hard liquor won’t affect them the same way, but they don’t really need alcohol.
To balance a kapha diet, exercise regularly, keep active, and avoid heavy foods. Avoid dairy and iced food and drink and vary your routine. Do not eat too many oily or fatty foods and don’t nap in the daytime. Light, dry foods are best.
A lot of people use ayurveda as a compliment to traditional medicine and pharmaceuticals. Western medicine focuses on symptoms and diseases. Surgery and drugs are the main ways to prevent problems and maintain health. Ayurveda works in harmony with surgical procedures rather than competing. They don’t focus on the disease; rather, they focus on maintaining a balance of minimal stress and good energy flow.
Ayurveda is NOT a substitute for Western medicine, surgery, or proper medical treatment. It is complimentary and prevents the need for these. Ayurveda just works with the medicine to make a person stronger and less likely to contract diseases and sickness. It also helps rebuild the body after surgery.
If you feel like your body is not doing well but your doctor can’t find anything wrong, then you should trust your instincts. This is your energy telling you that you have become imbalanced. It’s not just your imagination, and Ayurveda can work to re-balance your body and prevent the need for medical attention.
Ayurveda practitioners use a variety of methods to discover where imbalances are and assess overall health. They look at key signs and symptoms as they relate to the original imbalance. They also determine whether their patient will be well suited for the treatment options. They use questions, observations, and physical examinations to infer the imbalance.
Cleansing measures are often used to eliminate imbalances. Recommended treatments may include changing your lifestyle, maintaining a different diet routine, and introducing herbs to your life. They have a cleansing program called panchakarma that will allow the body to eliminate any accumulated toxins before implementing healthier options.
Ayurveda addresses body, mind, and spirit in treatment programs. It helps by responding differently to each strength or weakness in life.