Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What's your Dosha?


Ayurveda believes that everything in this universe is made up of five great elements or building blocks. These are earth, water, fire, air, and ether.  

Then there are three different body types called Doshas. They are the Vata, Pitta and Kapha, and each is mainly a combination of two elements. 

  • Vata dosha is made up of space and air. 
  • Pitta dosha is a combination of fire and water. 
  • Kapha dosha is made up of water and earth. 
Each of these doshas is further divided into five sub-doshas. Together, the doshas orchestrate all the activities that occur within us.  Some people have equal parts of each dosha.  Some are primarily one dosha or maybe two. You can take a quiz here to find out which one fits your body.
If you feel that something is not right in your body, the following will give you some guidelines to discover which dosha is unbalanced. However, more than one dosha may be unbalanced, so please be aware.    

  • Vata is unbalanced when there is pain, spasms, cramps, chills or shakiness.
  • Pitta is unbalanced when there is inflammation, fever, excessive hunger and thirst, heart burn or hot flushes.
  • Kapha is unbalanced when there is congestion, mucous, discharges, heaviness, fluid retention, lethargy or over sleeping.
Likewise, Vata, Pitta and Kapha people are susceptible to different chronic diseases:
  • Vata types are prone to insomnia, chronic constipation, anxiety and depression, muscle spasms, cramps, pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), irritable bowel, chronic pain, high blood pressure, and arthritis.
  • Pitta types are prone to rashes, acne, heart burn, and peptic ulcers, early balding and premature grey hair, poor eyesight, hostility, self-criticism and heart attacks related to stress.
  • Kapha types are prone to obesity, congested sinuses, chest colds, painful joints, asthma and/or allergies, depression, diabetes, higher cholesterol (and related heart disease, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and stroke), and chronic sluggishness in the morning.
These are broad guidelines, but you can learn more here.   
Your body type is a strong influence, but not a cause. Being a Vata does not mean you are sure to have arthritis just as being a Pitta or Kapha does not mean you will never have arthritis. Your body type determines what you are more likely to be susceptible to. The problems occur when your dosha or doshas are out of balance.  This can be addressed by changing your diet, exercise and lifestyle. 
Imbalance of doshas:  Usually imbalance is a result of not living in accordance with your body type and (or) external factors. The treatment is typically as follows:

1) Appropriate therapy for balancing the doshas. This can involve: a certain life-style, eating of adequate food, herbs, massage with different oils, purifying procedures, a clinical therapy by using energies opposite to imbalanced doshas, etc.
2) Some predominant methods used in ayurvedic therapy and yoga are asanas (yogic postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), mantras (sound vibrations), meditation, a balanced diet and life-style.
3) Softening, changing of karma.  This is basically you striving to be a better person; to gain a loving attitude toward the world. And also, to perform sacrifices.  That would be karma-yoga (unselfish activity).

These three treatments are usually used together to varying degrees, depending on the needs of an individual. On all levels the mind is the root psychological or emotional cause and factor of disease.

As you can see, these treatments are enriching for anyone.  They can only improve the quality of your life and make you a happier person.  There is nothing harmful in exploring your doshas or trying Ayurveda approach.  An Ayurveda doctor can prescribe medicine for your ailments- non-pharmaceutical of course.  This is a holistic approach to cure the illness, not to mask the symptoms as is the case many times in western medicine.  You can learn more details here.

So how are you?  Really- how do you feel?  How is your health?

Do you take any prescription drugs? Almost half of all Americans take at least one prescription drug on a daily basis.

The pill pushing climate that exists in the medical world today has caused a vicious circle of disease.  There is an overabundance of prescriptions being written to mask symptoms.  Rarely are today's medical doctors spending time getting to the root of the problem.  I’m not specifically blaming the doctors.  There are other evil forces behind this.  Greedy mega-hospital systems, health insurance companies, powerful pharmaceutical companies.  But- I digress- this is not a political statement.  

Please allow me to illustrate:

You start taking a prescription drug.  This drug causes side effects and/or another medical condition.  You may be given an additional prescription to address the newer condition.  That prescription will cause another side effect, and so on.   So, how safe are prescription drugs?  Well, to start with, numerous lawsuits are being filed against the manufacturers of dozens of drugs. Everything from antibiotics to antidepressants and statins. It is now proven that these drugs all have serious side effects that can cause heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, liver & kidney failure, tendon rupture, psychotic episodes, memory loss and a host of other diseases.

So, are you thinking that you’re better off with over the counter drugs?  More people die from over the counter & prescription drug use than cancer! Yes, it’s true, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil & Motrin cause more deaths annually than aids. That is 103,000 hospitalizations and more than 16,000 deaths per year in the US, according to a study published in the American Journal of Therapeutics.  New research shows that long-term use of acetaminophen -- sold under the brand name Tylenol causes kidney damage

 People are looking for alternative answers.  It's always good to keep an open mind & never stop learning- it could save your life.


-RWWGreene said...

Apparently I am equal parts Pitta and Kapha. Either way I end up with a heart attack. Lovely.

Amberr said...

I am trying my best to stay off prescription drugs, but I can't seem to put down my two advil PMs at night. I'm part Vata and Kapha according to this post. What do you recommend for sleep?