Ayurveda: Science of Life
Ayurveda is the oldest continually practiced medicine on the planet. Dating back over 5,000 years, Ayurveda is still at the forefront of mind-body medicine. While western medicine (allopathy) primarily treats disease and prevents death, Ayurveda is the science of life: Ayur (life) veda (science). Through attention to each person’s different constitution, Ayurveda treats the patient as a unique individual, recommending a path towards health in addition to one away from suffering based on personal imbalances.
“The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease” –Thomas Edison
The Three Doshas
Ayurveda recognizes that we are made up of the same elements as nature. In everyone, there exists elements of Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. According to Ayurveda, the balance of the these elements is different in each one of us and this accounts for the small and large differences that make each one of us unique.
The doshas are derived from the Five Elements and their related properties. Vata is composed of Space and Air, Pitta of Fire and Water, and Kapha of Water and Earth. Just as you are born with a genetic makeup, you are born with a unique proportion of these doshas which helps determine your physical, mental and emotional constitution. According to Ayurveda, within this individual birth constitution, or prakruti, lies the key to harmony. “It is your own unique blueprint that brings glowing health to life.”
A person with a predominantly Vata constitution will exhibit qualites of Space and Air. They are typically thin, quick moving and prone to dryness. On the other hand, a Pitta (Fire and Water) dominant person will tend to have a fiery personality, medium build, and a competitive spirit. Lastly, a person with a Kapha (Water and Earth) constitution will tend to be slow, heavy and very compassionate.
Often times, people are a combination of two doshas (dual-doshic) or even tri-doshic. There are seven possible constituitions within Ayurveda philosophy: Vata, Pitta, Kapha, Vata-Pitta, Vata-Kapha, Pitta-Kapha, Kapha-Vatta, Vata-Pitta-Kapha.
Dosha Quiz (Highly recommended)
Check out this Dosha Quiz to determine your dosha. There are many different dosha quizes, the best of which can be found in Ayurveda books, but this one provides the same results for me as any other quiz has. It also has tips on how to balance your dosha at the end. (Don’t forget to take Part II after Part I, and scroll to the bottom at the end to click “How to Balance Your Dosha”) It might be helpful to have someone else take the quiz for you as well. It can be harder than you think to identify your own personality and physical traits.