Know Thyself: Know your doshas
by Nancy B. Loughlin
Published by News Press on July 30, 2013
Put yourself in the following stressful scenario, and you might learn the key to your health and happiness.
The airline has announced for the fifth time that your flight has been delayed before you hear the final bomb: Your trip is cancelled.
Yogini Tess Chiodo of Joyful Yoga likes to ask which reaction is closest to your extreme, under-pressure default?
Vata: You run frantically to another airline counter to book a flight, envisioning the disasters to be caused by this delay.
Pitta: You stalk over to the announcer, complain, make demands and maybe do worse.
Kapha: You scan the airport for Starbucks, grab a seat and a latte and sulk.
The three doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha, are part of an ancient health system called Ayurveda. Doshas are body energies that influence your physical health, your emotional and psychological states and even your life choices. Every person has some composition of all three but usually one or two will emerge as dominant. Those dominants become your trouble points when you are out of balance.
These doshas are not negative, and every person as well as nature needs all three in order to function. Vata imbalances may initiate freak-outs, but Vata’s affinity with air and space inspires motion, quickness and action. Pittas are aligned with fire and water, metabolism. They have intensity and drive; they’re fighters. Finally, Kaphas, earth and water, are grounded, relaxed and consistent.
It’s when your energies are out of balance that the doshas hit the fan, not only in terms of behavior but also with dis-ease. Vata imbalances may be behind movement-related conditions such as insomnia, constipation, or arthritis. Pitta imbalances invite body-heat distress including all types of inflammation or heartburn. Serene, balanced Kaphas, blessed with the fewest health issues because they are the least stressed, should remember that water and earth combined make mud. Kaphas can get congested or become obese and all that accompanies it.
The goal of Ayurveda is doshic balance, and balance is not only prevention, but wellness. Once you know your basic doshic makeup, you can make educated food, exercise, herbal and situational choices that complement your nature and soothe imbalances.
Begin with you. You can click on www.joyfulyoga.com and take an Ayurvedic quiz.
Or, have an Ayurvedic consultation. In a consultation, you’ll complete a detailed health history, and then meet with Joyful Yoga’s Ayruvedic practitioner Jacqueline Chiodo. She’ll take numerous pulse beats and examine the tongue, eyes and skin. She’ll observe your speech, mannerisms and body language. Once she can determine your dominant doshas and imbalances, she’ll suggest diet, herbal supplements, therapeutic yoga, breathwork and mantras that are right for you.
Health, after all, is not one size fits all.
Next week: creative Ayurveda to soothe the doshic imbalances of anxiety, anger and lethargy.