The literal translation of the term Ayurveda means “science of life”. This philosophy of life does not deal with the physical body exclusively, but also includes its psychology and spirituality.
Ayurveda encompasses aspects such as meditation, eating, physical exercise, schedules and lifestyle habits…
It is therefore a holistic conception of life that addresses all its aspects. According to this philosophy, the disease is the result of the imbalances and impurities that the body accumulates in the day to day. The specialty of Ayurveda science is to prevent these imbalances before the disease appears and eliminate them teaching the person how to live a healthy and balanced life.
This philosophy, which is more than 5,000 years old, argues that there are three elements that constitute the being and that are combined in each person, which makes each of us a unique and special being that needs individualized healing treatments.
Ayurveda includes different ways of healing and one of the most widespread are Ayurvedic massages. Adapting the massage to the needs of each person we make the treatment a success. Our body will notice the change and react, we will feel that we are taking care of ourselves, nourishing our tissues, cleaning ourselves inside and out, pampering ourselves with these pleasant therapies, detoxifying ourselves…
Together with these therapies, a good diet and the realization of daily routines (very simple but very effective), we will be able to achieve the balance of the three doshas: VATA, PITTA and KAPHA.
Doshas are vital attributes and today we define the three biotypes of people: VATA (air) represents moving energy, PITTA (fire) is transformation and changes and KAPHA (earth and water), is a cohesive element. Normally, all people can be framed within one or the other combination of these three doshas.
The doshas, like each person’s different biotypes, are constantly looking for a natural state of balance. According to this discipline, our bodies, like everything in nature, are constantly seeking to find a balance between acid and alkaline, between the hot and the cold, between the dry and the wet. None of these attributes are better than another, they simply have to be balanced.
For example, excess heat in the body (PITTA dosha) can cause gastric reflux, excess sweating or rabies (which would be an excess of KAPHA dosha in our body), but on the other hand an excess of cold would manifest as constipation, dry skin or nervousness (caused by excess VATA dosha).
We need everything a little, cold, heat, dryness, humidity, etc. But we need it in its right balance.
THE THREE MAIN DOSHAS OR BIOTYPES ACCORDING TO AYURVEDA
Most of us tend to have a constitution resulting from the combination of these three energies to a greater or lesser extent. Bearing in mind that pure energies or constitutions do not exist, we go on to detail the characteristics of the predominance of one energy or another.
People whose dominant energy is VATA (or air) are often people governed by change and instability, but very creative and energetic. Regardless of their height, they are usually people of thin build and dry, cold skin.
When their energy is balanced, they can be extremely creative, energetic and full of enthusiasm and, of course, very communicative. An imbalance in Vata energy causes your immune system to weaken and lose weight and have nervous problems. In that case, they may easily become confused or overwhelmed and have sleep disorders. The Vata element can be easily unbalanced by emotions such as fear, anxiety and worry.
Balancing their energy, constitution (or dosha) means that they get enough sleep, that they can follow stable routines, that they avoid cold and cold climates and that they do not rush into their contacts and relate to warm and calm people.
Ayurvedic treatments at the physical level will include therapies of a nature opposite the basic trend of Vata. Thus, a Vata person will have the most common skin problems of the air element, such as the dryness and appearance of rough skin. Any juicy food will be ideal for a Vata skin. The creams and treatments for this dosha should contain these types of juicy ingredients that provide an oily and compact texture to combat dry skin.
Vata therapy will include warm oils, abundant nutrition, and moisture. The diet should contain warm milk and cooked rice and vegetables. Ginger and Ashwagandha should be consumed to increase the body’s internal temperature. Other parts of therapy include aromatic and color therapy with yoga and detoxification. In this case massage is done with hot oils.
Suggested essential oils to treat Vata are: Basil, Cinnamon, Incense, Ginger, Sweet Oranges
Suggested vegetable oils to treat Vata are: Almond, Safflower, Coconut, Sesame, Castor
Herbal extracts suggested to treat Vata are: Brahmi,Orange Bark, Rose Petals, Hibiscus Flower
People whose dominant energy is PITTA (fire) are orderly and very practical people, brave and competitive, but above all very passionate. The balance of his energy is disturbed by emotions such as anger, jealousy and resentment.
They tend to be medium in stature and body mass also average, i.e. they are not usually excessively fat or excessively thin. They usually have what’s called an athletic body. People with a dominant Pitta energy are focused and courageous people who believe in direct communication. However, when imbalances occur, they are prone to infections and stomach problems.
To balance their energy they are recommended to eat a balanced diet and try to stay fresh and clear. Avoiding excessively warm climates favors them, and also everything that fosters calm of spirit and serenity of mind. To do this, disciplines such as yoga or meditation are especially suitable.
On a physical level, Pitta’s balance is provided by therapies that include freshness, dryness and a heavy diet. Thestrongness and presence of the fire element makes Pitta skin more sensitive and susceptible to stress, causing hives to be more easily fought with refreshing foods.
Fennel is a fresh spice that should be included in your diet, including legumes. Excess fire element should be controlled with the help of herbs such as dandelion root. Aromas, colour and massage will include freshness and menthol oils for Pitta’s dominant people.
Essential oils suggested to treat Pitta are: Patchouli, Damask Rose, Ylang Ylang
Suggested vegetable oils to treat Pitta are: Almond, Apricot, Coconut
Herbal extracts suggested to treat Pitta are: Brahmi, Rose Petals
People with KAPHA (water+earth) energy are often quiet and stable people, reluctant to change.
Kapha is cool, humid and stable. People with this dominant energy will have heavy bones, flexible skin and large, sturdy body. The nature of these people is quiet. Imbalances cause them to gain weight and weaken the lungs, as well as sinus problems. The inability to process sugar leads them to diabetes, which is also more common in these types of people. When unbalanced they can fall into depression and take weight easily.
They are recommended to exercise continuously and surround thee with very active people so as not to fall into passivity.
On a physical level, the opposite quality of lightness, dryness and warmth is sought to balance them. Therapy to achieve this includes many vegetables. Kapha will respond better to dry, rough-textured foods. Carbohydrate intake should be minimal to prevent weight gain. Herbs like guggul and nail are veryeffective.
Essential oils suggested to treat Kapha are: Turmeric, Ginger, Peppermint, Patchouli,BlackPepper
Suggested vegetable oils to treat Kapha are: Safflower, Jojoba, Neem,GrapeNuggets
Herbal extracts suggested to treat Kapha are: Ashwagandha, Orange Bark, Ground Nettle
THE IMBALANCE OF THE DOSHAS
The imbalance of the doshas can cause problems both physically and mentally, so it is important to maintain balance. In this sense, Ayurveda recommends andvitar the factors that aggravate the dominant dosha and opt for others to calm it down.
At the most basic level, Pitta is metabolism, Kapha is the structure of the body and Vata is the mobility that keeps the body alive. However, all three energies are necessary for the healthy existence of human beings.
Imagine you’re a person of the Constitution. This means you have a tendency to have dry skin. Too light and irregular a diet or unstable environment can accentuate the problem and lead to increased dryness, appearance of eczema, wrinkles… On the contrary, when your energy is in balance the skin breathes radiant, clean and healthy.
WHAT UNBALANCES EACH BIOTYPE?
Each biotype is unbalanced by different factors as we have clarified before. But, in general, we can say that, apart from physical and environmental factors such as inadequate diet or pollution and intake of toxics through skin and air, (to avoid this fact, natural cosmetics are very important, as well as to avoid foods processed in our diet and endocrine disruptors); factors of emotional origin are very important.
VATA, for example, would be unbalanced by emotions of fear. People in Vata often have fears that cause them extreme distress and confusion, and this ends up causing them accumulated stress that unbalances their constitution, often causing them nervousness and insomnia.
PITTA is unbalanced by emotions of anger, jealousy, helplessness, etc… because the people of Pitta have a rather visceral character. And in Pitta’s case this imbalance becomes very evident through her skin.
KAPHA is unbalanced when the pace of life is excessively accelerated and cannot fulfill all of its obligations at its pace, which is usually slower than that of Vata or Pitta. This causes you stress and distress and decompensating your metabolism.
If we feel “unbalanced” and are reflected through one of these constitutions, perhaps we can read about Ayurveda in greater depth, or even consult an Ayurvedic doctor because the different aspects and habits of life such as a balanced diet, aromatherapy, massage, meditation or yoga can help us rebalance the doshas and maintain the general harmony of our body and mind.
An Ayurvedic physician examines all these physical, emotional and spiritual components of personality and, once a person’s nature and problems are identified, he designs specialized treatment. This will include diet, herbal treatment, aromatherapy, chromotherapy, massages, yoga and meditation.
TO KNOW MORE, we can access different readings on Ayurvedic medicine:
Practic Ayurveda: Everything you need to know to harmonize your health and your life, Sivananda Vedanta Yoga Center.
Ayurveda: Discovering the secrets of Hindu healing through Kimberly Moon’sAyurveda diet,yoga, aromatherapyand meditation
Ayurveda: The Science of Healing Yourself, by Dr. Vasant Lad
PODCASTS on the www.espiritualveda.com website
And also about dietary toxics and endocrine disruptors:
Free yourself from toxics. Guide to avoid endocrine disruptors, by Professor Nicolás Olea.