Ok don’t worry – we’re not getting into zodiac signs and horoscopes here at Well Within, but we ARE interested in your DOSHA. Do you know what YOUR dosha is???
You know those fun online quizzes that promise insights into your personality? They can be silly or more on the serious side. Sometimes they are surprisingly accurate, and sometimes a total miss. Well Ayurveda has its own spin on these quizzes and the purpose is to determine what lifestyle recommendations (including diet, exercise, aromatherapy and even music) are best to keep YOU healthy. They are called dosha quizzes and they are plentiful on the internet. The more questions on the quiz the more accurate the results and therefore your recommendations will be better suited to your actual situation and health conditions.
I am all about DIY. Especially when it comes to figuring out my health – I find that experimenting on myself, researching my symptoms, and paying close attention to how my choices affect my health has helped me cultivate a strong awareness of when I am in balance and when I am not. Learning about my dosha(s) took this awareness to a whole other level. If you are interested in strengthening your mind/body connection – almost like becoming your own health practitioner, then you are going to LOVE this.
The ultimate goal is that when you have an understanding of your mind-body type – or constitution – (which you’ll find out with a dosha quiz) you’ll be able to feel when you need a little balancing and you’ll know just what to do to feel better. Our bodies are brilliantly designed to let us know we are out of balance by presenting us with symptoms. The symptoms usually line up with one of the doshas. Knowing which dosha needs balancing helps guide us to the actions needed to come back to balance.
So let’s take a look at the doshas in a little more detail. There are three doshas (or mind-body types) and they are all present in each of us, but in different proportions. The dosha quiz is how you learn what your unique proportions are. The doshas represent characteristics of the 5 elements. Space, Air, Fire, Water, Earth. These elements combine into the 3 doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Because everyone expresses these doshas differently, our mind-body types (constitutions) are different, like snowflakes, no 2 will ever be the same. And this is the beauty and genius of Ayurveda. Personalized medicine in its truest form.
Here is a very brief overview of the three Doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha
Vata – Space and Air elements
The characteristics of vata dosha are quick, light, creative and enthusiastic. They thrive on new experiences and love to be on the move. Those with a predominance of Vata have lots of interests and don’t tend to stick to routines or habits. The qualities of this dosha are dry, cool, rough, irregular, quick, changeable. The season of Vata is Fall and early Winter, when the air is cool and dry and windy.
I know when my vata dosha is in balance when I’m full of energy, creativity, and when I’m excited by a new experience or by learning something new. I know when my vata dosha is out of balance when I experience insomnia, anxiety, and when my digestion is off – for me I tend to experience bloating and gas. Another common digestive sign / symptom that vata is out of balance is constipation.
Pitta – Fire and Water Elements
The characteristics of Pitta are passion, determination, intensity and they are often inspirational. They learn new concepts quickly and have a good memory. Because those with a predominance of Pitta love a challenge and will persevere until they get the job done, they make great leaders. The season of Pitta is summer, when it’s hot and humid.
I know when my pitta dosha is in balance when I have a burning desire to organize a project and feel determined to see it through. I know when my pitta dosha is out of balance when I become irritable and self-critical, and when my skin breaks out – all signs of excess heat. Some people may also experience heartburn and skin rashes.
Kapha – Water and Earth Elements
The characteristics of Kapha are patience, peacefulness and stability. Those with Kapha dosha have great memories, are grounded, and very nurturing with a naturally strong desire to help others. They will enjoy sound sleep and steady energy and a strong immune system. The season of Kapha is late winter and spring when there are cool temperatures and rain.
I know when my kapha dosha is in balance when my energy levels even out and when I can meet stress and challenges with grace and acceptance. I know my kapha dosha is out of balance when I feel sluggish and unmotivated, or when I am congested. Other people may experience their kapha imbalance as depression, stubbornness and an inability to let go.
If you are curious about your constitution, or dosha combination, and how to use it to bring balance and health into your lifestyle, you can start by taking a dosha quiz. We like this one from Banyan Botanicals.