Healthy living with Ayurveda
Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest healing systems originating in India 3,000 years ago. This holistic health system covers all living beings and is commonly referred to as the science of life. Although ancient, it is the most sophisticated system of medicine to date, addressing disease as an imbalance between body, mind, spirit and environment.
Why Ayurveda now?
Ayurveda is especially valid today in context of the shift towards individualised treatment. With the escalation of stress-related allergies and diseases and immune systems weakened from synthetic drugs, side-effects, chemicals in food, eating disorders and declining environmental quality, a renaissance of bespoke nature-based healing and medical systems that purify and restore, is increasingly seeing a resurgence for the road back to a healthy life.
Prakriti – your natural form
The individual’s constitution at birth – Prakriti – is the configuration of doshas or forces. Of the three basic doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha – the dosha that dominates is the Prakriti of a person. Customised intervention of diet, lifestyle changes and medical therapies in Ayurvedic treatment is dependent upon identifying one’s dosha configuration. Forming the cornerstone of Ayurvedic theory, the Tridosha concept is the starting point for all diagnosis and treatment and the gateway to wellness, health, and vitality.
Role of Vata, Pitta and Kapha in the body
Fundamentally, the functions associated with the three doshas are as follows: Vata – movement, Kapha – structure, and Pitta – digestion.
Vata dosha is a combination of air and ether elements. Characterised by mobility (flow of thought, spirit, blood and body), it is cool, dry and light. Vata contributes to the manifestation of shape, cell division, signalling and movement, excretion of wastes, cognition and being the more powerful of the doshas, regulates the activities of Pitta and Kapha.
Vata individuals are usually light in weight, irregular in their meals, easily constipated, talkative, enthusiastic, creative, flexible and energetic. They are prone to worry, fear and anxiety, get overwhelmed and are subject to confusion. Qualities opposite to Vata, such as warm food, love and attention promote balance.
A synergy of fire and water elements, but dominated mainly by fire, Pitta exhibits sharpness and is penetrating by nature. Reflecting the quality of water as well, it is liquid in form and connected with metabolism, temperature regulation, energy balancing, pigmentation, vision, and host surveillance.
Pitta people have hot, oily skin, sharp eyes and features, good appetite and digestion. They are moderately built, competitive, courageous and highly focused individuals with good communication skills.
Excessive red meat and fish, spices, hot weather, anger, resentment and jealousy disrupt their equilibrium leading to food and drug allergies, skin rashes, infections and diarrhoea. Cold environments, cooked foods and vegetables are conducive.
The symbiosis of earth and water elements form the basis of Kapha. With a tendency to be cool, moist, heavy and stable, Kapha controls the water content of the body and fills the cavities and spaces in the body. Kapha is associated with anabolism, growth and maintenance of structure, storage and stability.
Elementally the nature of earth, Kapha types have large stocky frames, moist and oily thick skin and heavy bodies. Enjoying food, they gain weight easily and have slow metabolisms. Prone to comfort, these individuals love, envy and forgive in equal quantities, hardly ever getting stressed. However, depression, lack of motivation and lethargy is a downside. Low-starch light foods, dry and warm weather is usually stabilizing.