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 which 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 and also an inherent personality/certain 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 individuals own unique ratio of the three Doshas is balanced to his/her Prakriti. Often, due to many factors in our environments like the weather, seasons, lifestyle choices and diet the most dominant Dosha becomes imbalanced, but any Dosha can become imbalanced. This imbalance, known as VIKRITI, results when we are not supporting our natural constitution/PRAKRITI and push ourselves off balance through continually eating food or using habits that are not suited to us — basically more of what we already are. If we are experiencing symptoms of imbalance, such as bloating, rashes, spots, hot flushes, itchy skin, sore gums, farting, tummy upsets, bad temper, tiredness or anxiety, it means that our Vikriti is way off what our Prakriti is. These signs that our mind-body is off kilter, if left unchecked, are the beginning to the long road that leads to disease.
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 and our environments and lifestyles choices, as ‘medicine’ by choosing those which have the opposite qualities or characteristics to what we’re experiencing in order to create equilibrium. For example: if you are overheating; 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 then 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 with diet, lifestyle and yoga in East by West, my new cookbook, published on 2 November. Offering 140 delicious recipes with pointers so that you can tweak them to suit, from day-to-day, based on how you're "feeling," i.e which Dosha best describes you at the time.
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, go with your gut instinct rather than over analyse. We are not defined by this, 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.