August 19, 2010 dosha what?
a few days ago, a friend of mine shared a link to a website showcasing a book his cousin helped write. the book, eat, taste, heal, is an ayruvedic cookbook. never heard of ayruvedic?
Ayurveda is India’s traditional, natural system of medicine that has been practiced for more than 5,000 years. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word that literally translated means “science of life” or “practices of longevity.” It emphasizes prevention of disease, rejuvenation of our body systems, and extension of life span. Ayurveda views each and every person as unique, with a unique mind-body constitution and a unique set of life circumstances, all of which must be considered in determining either natural healing approaches or recommendations for daily living. This view is in alignment with the modern science which views individuals as unique in the universe with a unique DNA. According to Ayurveda, because we each have a unique constitution, our health prescription must be unique to us. This means that in order to be healthy, you need to eat certain foods that are beneficial for your body type and stay away from others. Your exercise program must be personally suitable as well. Your constitution determines very much about you – your body, your personality, even how you relate to other people. Understanding it lets you know what you need in order to be healthy.
last semester candace returned home from san diego a wealth of information on the subject. she seemed really into it and encouraged me to check it out. so i did. and i’ve been interested ever since. i am a bit skeptical of the authenticity of the ayurvedic diet, however, when my friend shared the link with me, he also explained to me how his cousin used to be resigned to a wheelchair from debilitating joint issues but since adopting the ayurvedic lifestyle and diet, he now walks and no longer suffers from his joint issues. to which i say: amazing!
and also: but was his ayruvedic diet what lead to his increase in health?
because the ayruvedic lifestyle acknowledges each body’s peculiarities, participants are encouraged to eat according to their dosha. what is a dosha, you ask? great question! this is the part i find most fascinating.
In Ayurvedic philosophy, the five elements combine in pairs to form three dynamic forces or interactions called doshas. Dosha means “that which changes.” It is a word derived from the root dus, which is equivalent to the English prefix ‘dys’, such as in dysfunction, dystrophy, etc. In this sense, dosha can be regarded as a fault, mistake, error, or a transgression against the cosmic rhythm. The doshas are constantly moving in dynamic balance, one with the others. Doshas are required for the life to happen. In Ayurveda, dosha is also known as the governing principles as every living thing in nature is characterized by the dosha. The three active doshas are called Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
according to ayurveda, vata, pitta, and kapha all reside in each of us but one or two are the dominant forces. instead of detailing the specifics of each dosha here, i am going to encourage you to investigate for yourself.
i will share with you what i found. i took a little online test to loosely determine which dosha was most prominent in me (i know, i know. online test = ridiculous. just bear with me here and just try i know how to apply my critical thinking skills!). after answering a long list of questions, the test results showed my dominant doshas to be vata and kapha. and, after reading the vata and kapha descriptions, i completely agree with. allow me to summarize:
Creativity, mental quickness
Quick to learn and grasp new knowledge, but also quick to forget
Sexually easily excitable but quickly satiated
Slenderness; lightest of the three body types
Talk and walk quickly
Tendency toward cold hands and feet, discomfort in cold climates
Excitable, lively, fun personality
Irregular daily routine
Variable appetite and digestive efficiency
High energy in short bursts; tendency to tire easily and to overexert
Full of joy and enthusiasm when in balance
Respond to stress with fear, worry, and anxiety, especially when out of balance
Tendency to act on impulse
Often have racing, disjointed thoughts
Generally have dry skin and dry hair and don’t perspire much
Typical health problems include headaches, hypertension, dry coughs, sore throats, earaches, anxiety, irregular heart rhythms, muscle spasms, lower back pain, constipation, abdominal gas, diarrhea, nervous stomach, menstrual cramps, premature ejaculation and other sexual dys-functions, arthritis. Most neurological disorders are related to Vata imbalance.
…every single one of those aspects are so entirely true. especially the health problems. imagine my surprise when i read about kapha…
Easygoing, relaxed, slow-paced*
Affectionate and loving*
Forgiving, compassionate, nonjudgmental nature Stable and reliable; faithful*
Physically strong and with a sturdy, heavier build*
Have the most energy of all constitutions, but it is steady and enduring, not explosive
Slow moving and graceful
Slow speech, reflecting a deliberate thought process
Slower to learn, but never forgets; outstanding long-term memory*
Soft hair and skin; tendency to have large “soft” eyes and a low, soft voice
Tend toward being overweight; may also suffer from sluggish digestion*
Prone to heavy, oppressive depressions* (not heavy, but definitely not light)
More self-sufficient, need less outward stimulation than do the other types
A mild, gentle, and essentially undemanding approach to life*
Sexually Kaphas are the slowest to be aroused, but they also have the most endurance
Excellent health, strong resistance to disease*
Slow to anger; strive to maintain harmony and peace in their surroundings
Not easily upset and can be a point of stability for others
Tend to be possessive and hold on to things, people, money; good savers.*
Don’t like cold, damp weather*
Physical problems include colds and congestion, sinus headaches, respiratory problems including asthma and wheezing, hay fever, allergies, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
kapha came after vata and it totally makes sense as to why. i do not have all the aspects of kapha though i do have a good amount of them (i starred them just incase you were wondering :)). food choices and exercise recommendations are also suggested. the food choices between kapha and vata are conflicting (i.e: nuts vs. no nuts). and vata’s are encouraged to avoid raw foods. uhh…not happening 🙂
it did say this about exercise though:
Regular exercise should be relaxed and moderate. Hatha yoga practice in a meditative mood is good, as are t’ai chi, walking, and swimming. Avoid strenuous, competitive, frantic activities. When possible, associate with people who are calmly purposeful. Meditate every day for deep relaxation.
to which i say: A HELL YES. it makes so much sense to me. competitive sports have always stressed me out (i tend to be overly-competitive) and yoga ignites this feeling of enlightenment within me, something i never felt while playing soccer or running. and in the past year, i have shifted away from people who live hectic, stressful lives. what did i see in return? a much more happy, lighter me. and i love meditation. i did some yesterday, in fact! (i’ve had to stay off my mat the past two days because i tweaked my back at work. it. blows.)
what do you think? do you think there’s any merit to the claims ayurvedic lifestyles support? or do you think it’s all a bunch of BS? did you look up your “dosha” type? what did you think?
it’s intriguing enough for me to at least test it out. i think i am going to do a little more research and try eating according to my doshas for a week. no use in not trying, right?
well, that’s it for the day. quite rambling, i do apologize. now if you’ll excuse me, i have an apartment to (deep) clean (CANDACE COMES HOME TOMORROW!!!!), a documentary to watch, and some meditating to do. have a good one!