Deepak Chopra once said: “Making your doshas happy will make you happy. This is the secret to balancing the whole mind-body system.” It is a big statement by all accounts; but one that pretty much sums up what one of the world’s oldest medical systems, Ayurveda, is all about. Did we lose you at the word ‘dosha?’ Don’t worry, Cheryl Parsons sets out to decipher this ancient method of healing and find out what steps we can take to keep our doshas in check…
“According to Ayurveda, the whole universe and everything in it, including the human body, is made up of five elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether,” Dr. Chandy George, Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant at Dubai’s Balance Wellbeing 360, explains. “The human body is balanced with three elemental energies – Vata, Pitta and Kapha – which are called the Tridoshas. When the Tridoshas are in harmony, the body will function at its best and when it is imbalanced, the body will lose its ability to function normally. Diseases are a result of the imbalance of these life forces; kapha, pitta, and vata.”
The Sanskrit word ‘dosha’ can be translated as ‘mind-body personality’ and the first step to working with the doshas is to determine which primary category you fall into. While we all have one predominant dosha or even two, our main constitution can fluctuate depending on our environment, diet, behaviour and more. “The best way to find out your constitution is to visit an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner, who can determine your personal dosha by reading your radial pulse,” continues Dr. Chandy, who has over 15 years experience in Ayurvedic medicine. By feeling this pulse with three fingers, Ayurvedic doctors can accurately determine a dosha type simply by reading the nature of the pulse – whether it is quick, slow or shallow, or even by which finger it is felt most strongly beneath.
“We also look at the basis of a number of physical, mental and emotional factors that are associated with each individual, including: facial features – the shape and colour of eyes, nose, teeth, chin and other parts of the face; physical features – the shape and build of different body parts, colour and texture of skin, hair and nails; digestive patterns; mental and emotional characteristics as well as their attitudes and responses to different stimuli.”
Since the doshas refer to energies that determine not only a person’s physical, mental and emotional characteristics, but also decide their other personality traits, any imbalance in them has a profound effect on the physical and mental wellbeing of a person. It is believed that we are all born with a predominant dosha type and that is cannot be changed, however imbalances can naturally happen, as Dr. Chandy explains: “This can be caused by external conditions and situations, which result in manifestations of symptoms of other dosha types – these symptoms in themselves are strong signs of illness.”
The very word ‘Ayurveda’ means ‘the science of life,’ and this article simply scratches the surface of the knowledge that this vast, ancient system for healing can hold. To truly understand the doshas and live a lifestyle that supports them fully takes study and a lifelong commitment. That being said there are steps we can take to keep our doshas healthy, once we have determined our predominant one. Dr. Chandy breaks down each type, what can happen when our main dosha is out of balance, and what we can do to bring it back into harmony.
Check out our table below which breaks it all down…
Excerpt from Cheryl Parson’s article in the April issue of Yogalife Magazine Middle East