DISCOVER YOUR DOSHA: According to Ayurveda, we are born with our own unique ratio of 3 Doshas or "mind-body types:" Vata (Air), Pitta (Fire) and Kapha (Earth). Each Dosha expresses unique blends of physical, emotional and mental characteristics known as "qualities," which can be used to describe us, as well as everything around us. Commonly, one Dosha is more dominant and guides the way to a lifestyle that suits you best. You may also have a second dominant Dosha, and a more or less equal blend of all three is called Tridoshic. This unique ratio is called PRAKRITI or "natural state" — what we are born with: hair, stature, eye colour, as well as inherent personality and characteristics, e.g we might be creative, fast, wiry, light, cold and dry like Vata, or laid-back, soft, heavy, slow and "chilled" like Kapha.
Health exists when the individual's own unique ratio of the three Doshas is balanced to their Prakriti. Often, due to many factors in our environments like weather, seasons, lifestyle choices and diet, the most dominant Dosha tends to become imbalanced, but any Dosha can also become imbalanced. These imbalances create a secondary, "current" state, known as Vikriti, which results from inadequately supporting our natural constitution (Prakriti). We push ourselves off balance by continually eating foods or adopting habits that are not suited to us — essentially by exposing ourselves to more of the Doshic energies that we already have. If we are experiencing symptoms of imbalance, such as bloating, rashes, spots, hot flushes, itchy skin, sore gums, gassiness, tummy upsets, bad temper, tiredness or anxiety, it means that our Vikriti is way off from our Prakriti. These signs that our mind-body is off-kilter, if left unchecked, lead to disease down the road.
The great news is that in Ayurveda, by getting to know the Doshas and their qualities, we can use our symptoms to identify which Dosha is playing up. We can then bring ourselves back into balance by drawing on food and drink. herbs and spices, colours, textures, aromas, environments and lifestyle choices as "medicine." The key is to choose those that have the opposite qualities or characteristics to the symptoms we’re experiencing, to create equilibrium. For example, if you are overheating (Pitta imbalance), take off your jumper, avoid an argument and skip the chilli sauce. Or, if you are experiencing a riot of colour and sound in the middle of a busy city (Vata imbalance), find yourself some quiet to calm your nervous system before embarking on the next hectic mission (including emails!).
You can learn more about Ayurveda, the Doshas, qualities and bringing balance back to your life with diet, lifestyle and yoga in East by West, my new cookbook, published in November 2017. The book includes 140 delicious recipes with pointers so that you can tweak them to suit you, from day to day, based on how you're feeling, i.e which Dosha(s) best describe(s) you at the time.
When you take my Prakriti test, be sure not to subconsciously try to tweak your results to be a certain Dosha! Remember we are a bit of everything and our daily constitution is constantly affected by our environment. Pick one of three choices, by trusting your gut instinct rather than over-analysing. We are not defined by our Doshic makeup, it's just a way of recognising our tendencies and what we’re prone to.
Note: Your Prakriti (your unique ratio of all 3 doshas at birth), can only be accurately worked out by a Vaidya (Ayurvedic doctor), who will expertly assess everything about you, including your Vikriti (any current imbalances). In the UK, try the Ayurvedic Practitioner Association at apa.uk.com
THE PRAKRITI TEST TO DISCOVER YOUR DOSHA
Answering what is true for most of your life. Knowledge of your constitution
is important for understanding how to promote optimal personal health.