by Wendy Saunders
Why do we get ill?
According to Ayurveda, the cause of illness is an imbalance of the Doshas, the three body energies, with the following being the main factors that lead to imbalance:
- Neglecting your mind, body and health, suppressing natural urges, acting selfishly and befriending unsuitable people.
- Unhealthy association of the five sense organs including: listening to loud music, piercing noises, living in unhygienic situations, using intoxication substances, or overdoing therapies, such as yoga or massage.
- By being influenced by routines, time and the seasons, some on a daily basis, others in seasons and others at different times in one’s life. Some examples of this are exposing yourself to extreme temperatures or not getting enough sleep.
As many diseases are seasonal, the treatment varies from one time of year to another. Each of the three doshas increases during its season and it is important for those who have a predominant dosha to keep their doshas balanced.
In our last article, we discussed how to determine your dosha. Feel free to reread Part 1 to revise your Dosha
In this article, we will explore the doshas further and work out how to balance yours.
The Three Doshas
According to Ayurveda philosophy, we are composed of three vital energies called the Doshas or Tridosha, with the Sanskrit terms of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. We can be governed by all three doshas, but most of us are governed by one or two.
Each of us is born with our unique constitution, (dependent on your parent’s doshas at the time of conception). Ayurveda prevents disease by working with the individual’s unique constitution, with the goal to restore our balance nack to our original natural constitution or “Prakruti”.
The predominant force in each of us determines our physical appearance, the internal functioning of our organs, our intellectual capacity and our temperament.
We are all born in a Prakruti state, a unique blend of the three doshas. If the doshas become imbalanced through food, work, environment, bad habits, our constitution becomes compromised.
Due to environmental changes, diet, trauma, injury, stress, we become imbalanced resulting in a changed state called Vikrithi, if the state is too imbalanced, it can lead to ill health and disease.
Our prevailing dosha also determines our predisposition to various conditions and disorders.
We are influenced by the doshas throughout our life, with Kapha between childhood to teens, between 20 to 50, Pitta and from 60, Vata is the influence.
in Sanskrit means to move or enthuse – a disturbance in Vata can cause an imbalance between the other two doshas as it is the strongest of the three forces, ruling and activating the other two doshas.
Vata characteristics are usually thin, dry skin, small eyes, narrow lips, restless, erratic sleep patterns, powerful, mobile natures. Vata controls movement and blood flow, elimination, breathing, movement of the body, both physically and mentally. Connected to Ether and Air. Cosmic link is wind and principle is change. Thus the Vata types will be susceptible to excess wind and air, having an active lifestyle and personality. A Vata person earns and spends money easily, has an erratic memory, dreams about running and flying.
can be caused by travel and wind. Vata is related to stress and the nervous system, easily suffering from anxiety, fear, grief and agitation. When a Vata is imbalanced they suffer from anxiety, worry and confusion, cramps, nervous stomach upsets, dry tongue.
Vata is balanced
- by taking time out
- slowing down
- spending time in gentler activities such as meditation or slow yoga
- snuggling up with a movie on a cold, windy day, without distractions
- routines are very important for Vatas, no skipping meals or irregular sleep, keep out of the cold and wind, no cold, raw and dry meals and snacks.
When in balance, Vatas are focused, sleep well, have efficient elimination and strong immune system, are positive, enthusiastic, adapt easily, alert and creative.
in Sanskrit, means heating or burning with qualities of fluidity and heat.
Pitta characteristics are often hungry, high energy, usually strong with good immunity, over-ambitious, need to learn to relax, fiery personality resulting in anger, outbreaks of bad temper, judgement and jealousy. Pitta energy is found in the stomach, controlling digestion and metabolism. They have heart-shaped faces, fair, reddish or yellowish skin, are freckled, of medium height and weight, quite slender. Connected to Fire and Water. Cosmic link is the Sun with the main principle of conversion from the water element, influencing metabolism and transformation. Pittas are imbalance by extended stress and erratic lifestyle.
will result in profuse sweating, poor digestion, weak liver, heartburn, eczema, inflammatory conditions, irritable bowel syndrome.
Pitta is balanced
- by not missing meals
- expressing emotion
- avoiding excess heat, maintaining a cool environment
- avoiding salty, greasy or spicy foods leading to digestive problems
- when not doing too much at once
- living near the water
When balanced, Pittas are energetic, content, harmonious, have their hormones balanced, have heightened intellectual abilities and creativity.
in Sanskrit means to embrace or keep together.
Kaphas tend to be forgiving and loving, a source of strength and resistance and responsible for the construction of the body. They are good at holding things together but don’t like change. Kapha types are usually heavily built, oily skinned, have thick hair, with a solid and proportional build and a tendency to put on weight. They have a regular steady appetite, strong immune system, are intelligent, tolerant, forgiving, calm, faithful and loving and good at getting others to work with them. They tend to have long lives, large charming eyes and vital energy. They move slowly, have good overall health, are sensitive, intuitive, heavy boned and are prone to oversleeping. They love peace, quiet and stability in life and their surrounds. Connected to Earth and Water, Kapha energy regulates water-based functions of body such as urination and also the earth being stabilising and steady. Cosmic link is the Moon and the main principle is inertia. Kaphas needs to have stimulation to avoid boredom.
is caused by damp, cold weather, overeating and diet too high in sugar, fat or salt, insufficient exercise and excess sleep. Signs of imbalance include sensitivity to cold, poor digestion, excess weight, oversleeping, allergies, depression, jealousy and apathy. Also, problems in the heart, tongue, head and joints.
Kapha is balanced
When in balance, Kaphas are patient, a good friend, compassionate, courageous and emotionally stable, sturdy and strong, good joints, good digestion, have great stamina when in a routine and are loyal, forgiving and loving.