Ayurveda is a type of holistic medicine. This approach to health and wellness incorporates physical, psychological, and spiritual considerations into the treatment approach.
According to Aryuvedic principles, there are three energies that define each person. These energies are called doshas. The three dosha types are Pitta, Vata, and Kapha.
You have elements of each dosha within you, though one usually is more prominent. Understanding your dominant dosha type will help you understand how to best take care of your body, manage stressful life situations, and achieve your personal health and social goals.
Read on to learn more about the three dosha types and tips to keep your dosha type balanced and flourishing.
The dosha type Pitta translates to fire. Those with a dominant Pitta dosha are passionate, ambitious, and intellectual. Pittas thrive on achieving their goals and love a challenge. They do best in structured situations and when they are adequately stimulated with work tasks and physical activity.
In regards to body type, those with a dominant Pitta dosha tend to be average in stature. They have good muscle tone and radiate energy.
When out of balance, Pittas can have a fiery temper. They also can have difficulty relaxing, trouble managing stress, and a low tolerance for roadblocks in their path to achieving goals.
Here are 10 tips to keep your Pitta dosha balanced:
Pitta thrives on physical exercise but can be thrown out of balance with exercise that is too extreme. Moderate intensity level exercise can help balance out a pitta dosha. Try 30-45 minutes of brisk walking, jogging, or cycling.
- Stay Cool on Vacation
While a summer vacation basking in the sun may sound appealing, too much heat and sun exposure can aggravate a pitta dosha. If you do choose a tropical vacation, try to avoid direct sun exposure during peak sun hours of 11am- 3pm.
As an alternative vacation idea, those with a Pitta dominant dosha will enjoy the cool morning and evenings of the mountains, or a destination with an overall moderate climate.
- Eat Cooling Foods
Spicy food heats the body and can aggravate an already dominant Pitta dosha. When your Pitta personality is feeling out of balance, grab for foods that cool the body.
Fruit is a good food group to help cool down a Pitta imbalance. You can eat the plain whole fruit, or blend a few of your favorites into a refreshing cool drink.
Cool leafy greens and vegetables are other good options, as are bitter-tasting foods. A Pitta dosha is tolerant of raw foods.
As Pitta is generally intolerant to extremes, try to balance your cooling diet with three balanced meals a day that are well spaced out. Avoid overloading on a few favorite foods and try to incorporate a variety of Pitta boosting nutrition sources.
- Manage Your Outdoor Activities During Morning and Evening
Pitta is aggravated by too much heat. Being in the direct heat of the day can place a Pitta dosha out of balance. Aim to spend time outdoors in the morning, or as the sun is setting to keep Pitta balanced.
- Wear Breathable Fabric
Light breathable clothing will keep Pitta cool and prevent overheating.
- Take a Walk in Nature
Pitta is soothed by viewing cool palette colors. Take a walk in nature and depending on your setting enjoy the green trees and grass, blue oceans and creeks, and white clouds.
- Listen to Calming Music
Balance a high energy Pitta dosha with soothing sounds. Find what relaxes you, whether that is instrumental music, slow melodies, or nature sounds.
- Practice Cooling Breathing Techniques
Sheetali pranayama is a breathing technique to cool your body. Find a quiet seat and close your eyes. Inhale through a curled tongue, and exhale out your nose. Continue for 10 rounds of breath.
- Stay Hydrated
A naturally heated Pitta tends to sweat and run warm. Staying hydrated will help balance out Pitta’s heat. Choose cool liquids for even more benefit.
- Practice Cooling Yoga Postures
Focus on postures that open up the navel and solar plexus to release Pitta’s heat. Try incorporating gentle backbends and twists into your practice when you are feeling out of balance.
The dosha type Vata translates to air. People with a dominant Vata dosha tend to be high energy and creative. Vata is always moving and loves new experiences. Vata tends to be flexible and easy to get along with.
Those with a dominant Vata dosha are lean and agile.
When out of balance, a Vata dosha type experiences difficulty with sleeping and digestion.
Vata can struggle with dry skin. They tend to worry and are prone to anxiety. Vata tends to over-commit, leading to stress and insomnia.
Here are 10 tips to balance out a Vata dosha:
- Keep a Regular Bedtime Before 10 pm
Vata has a tendency for schedule inconsistency, which can lead to insomnia and fatigue. When feeling out of balance, a sleep schedule can help a Vata dosha fall back in rhythm. Avoid doing tasks and avoid screen time before bed. Have a calming bedtime routine, and lights out by 10 pm so you can achieve a full night of rest.
- Stay on Schedule
While well-intentioned, Vata can over-schedule their day. To manage Vata’s enthusiasm and subsequent worry if tasks are incomplete, set a realistic schedule at the beginning of each day.
- Eat Warming Foods
The Vata dosha is aggravated by cold. Warm cooked foods are best for Vata’s digestion. Raw foods can be aggravating.
Try warm cereals for breakfast. Cooked vegetables, warm soups, and rice-based pasta make a Vata soothing lunch and dinner.
- Daily Self Massage
Massage can help bring moisture, relaxation, and heat to your body. These are all qualities that are helpful when balancing a Vata dominant dosha. Choose a warmed oil or lotion and make this part of your bedtime routine!
- Avoid Overstimulation
Vata has a tendency to become easily distracted. To help balance Vata, try not to stimulate too many of your senses at one time. Choose calm, warm settings to focus on your tasks. Set specific times to surf the Internet or social media so you are not trying to multitask, aggravating your Vata dosha.
- Drink Warming Teas
Warm teas will help hydrate Vata’s tendency to be dry. Choose teas that are warming in nature, such as ginger, licorice root, or cinnamon based teas.
- Admire Warming Colors
Reds, browns, and oranges are soothing for the Vata eye. Pick up your favorite art or photography book and enjoy a quiet place to relax for a few minutes.
- Practice Yoga at a Steady Pace
Avoid the urge for a fast and furious power-based practice. Try a slower based practice while combining a warming breath to balance Vata.
- Take a Bath
Baths create relaxation, warmth, and schedule. They will also help combat Vata’s tendency towards dryness.
Try a warm bath in your bedtime routine to help quiet a busy Vata mind in preparation for bedtime.
Vata can have trouble focusing and staying on schedule. Establishing a meditation practice can help calm a dominant Vata dosha.
Choose a warm quiet space. Layer yourself in warm clothing or blankets. Practice a warming breath as you close your eyes and find a quiet space for 5 minutes. For those new to meditation, guided meditation can help build your skills.
The Kapha dosha type translates to earth. Those with a dominant Kapha dosha are caring, empathetic, and patient. Kapha is known for being a supportive friend. They have an even temperament and are mindful with their actions and words.
Those with a dominant Kapha body type have a strong and often thicker body type. They can have a slower metabolism and are more susceptible to weight gain.
When out of balance, the Kapha dosha can experience difficulty with depression and low energy. This dosha type can feel difficulty being motivated to complete a day’s tasks, sometimes preferring to sleep in or rest.
Read on for 10 tips to balance Kapha.
- Get Moving
Kapha prefers to stay snuggled in bed and will miss a workout for a bit more rest. To keep Kapha balanced, try to schedule activities throughout the day to keep Kapha’s energy up. Take a short walk with the dog in the morning, a midday jog, or an after-work cycle with friends to keep Kapha moving throughout the day.
- Eat Warm Light Foods
Kapha needs to stay warm to thrive. Foods that are too heavy can slow Kapha down though. Choose warm and light foods such as cooked vegetables, cooked fruits such as apples and cranberries, and white meat to fuel Kapha.
- Rise Early
To combat Kapha’s tendency to remain stagnant, get your day going at 6 am. Bundle up and try some light cardio exercise to build heat. Follow up with a light warm breakfast and you are ready to tackle the day!
- Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol can make Kapha sleepy and can also fuel overeating. To keep Kapha energetic and thriving, reach for a warming tea over a glass of wine.
- Choose Fresh Foods
Processed foods are often full of additives, sugars, and dairy which can slow Kapha down. Choose fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and light proteins to fuel Kapha’s energy.
- Listen to Lively Music
Boost Kapha’s energy by tuning into some lively beats. Try listening to your favorite upbeat music when you feel your energy start to slide. Upbeat music is also motivating during exercise sessions!
- Stay Social
The Kapha dosha is naturally social. Use Kapha’s strengths to help when this dosha type becomes out of balance. Recruit a friend to be an accountability partner for exercise. Invite a friend over to help tackle a particularly challenging project. Kapha provides so much love and empathy to his friends that they are surely happy to repay the favor!
- Try New Things
Avoid boredom and boost motivation by keeping your routine fresh! Sign up for new exercise classes, hit a new trail every week with friends, or try a new hobby out.
- Smell Invigorating Scents
When your energy is feeling low, try a scent of lemon, grapefruit, ginger, or peppermint to increase Kapha’s energy to tackle the next task of the day!
- Let Go of Accumulation
Kapha has a tendency to accumulate objects when out of balance. Letting go of clutter and creating a bright clean space can help boost Kapha’s energy and productivity. Try setting a schedule to clear out drawers and closets quarterly to avoid build-up.
Understanding your dominant dosha type will help you live healthier and happier. Refer to this list whenever you feel out of balance to get back on track!