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Are you Pitta Vata or Kapha

Text by Ayurveda dr. Updesh Rajariya

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Prakriti :-prakriti is your basic constitution. It is determined at the moment of conception and relates to your genetically inherited physical and emotional qualities. Prakriti specifically relates to
 those qualities, characteristics and tendencies that are 
stable. For instance, while you may experience temporary changes, like gaining or losing ten pounds, feeling nervous or irritable, developing a cold or flu, etc., in the natural course of life you will never gain or lose five inches on your height or experience a change of eye color. Prakriti is enlivened and described by three main doshas or forces: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These are loosely translated as Air, Fire and Earth, respectively. Each of us has all three doshas in our constitution, in unique proportions. In Ayurveda, seven dosha-predominant Prakritis are described: Vata-predominant, Pitta-predominant, Kapha-predominant; three dual Prakritis, wpittavatakapha.jpgitta predominant, Pitta-Kapha predominant and Vata-Kapha predominant; and one Prakriti that has all three doshas equally prominent: Vata-Pitta-Kapha predominant.

Prakrti and Vikrti

If the current proportion of our doshas differs significantly from our constitutional proportion, it indicates imbalances, which in turn can lead to illness. This deviation from prakrti is called Vikrti. The farther a person's vikrti is from his or her prakrti, the more prone to illness they are.

The concept of prakrti and vikrti can be illustrated with reference to the body's temperature. When healthy, we maintain an average body temperature of about 98* F. Although different persons can have different base temperatures, it does not change much so long as the person is healthy. When we go outside on a winter day, our body temperature may go down slightly but will pick right back up to the normal if we are healthy. Similarly, jogging on a hot day can temporarily raise our body temperature. When we are sick, or catch a cold, our body temperature will go up. This indicates that we are sick or outside our normal base condition. Our present temperature may be considered as Vikrti and the difference between the Prakrti (our normal temperature) and Vikrti (our present temperature) can determine whether any medical intervention is required.PittaVataKapha.jpg

Prakrti, the Three Doshas and The Three Gunas

The three doshas, Vaata, Pitta and Kapha are composed of the five basic elements. On the other hand, the five elements possess one or more of the three gunas, namely Satva, Rajas and Tamas.

According to Susruta Samhita, Aakaasa is predominant of Satva guna while Vaayu is predominant of Rajas. Agni is predominant of Satva and Rajas while Jala is predominant of Satva and Tamas. Prthvi is predominantly Taamasic.

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Dosha Basic Elements Predominant Guna

VAATA Vaayu, Aakaasa Rajas

PITTA Agni, Jala Satva

KAPHA Prthvi, Jala Tamas

As the entire universe is paancabhautika (comprised of five elements) in nature, the food one eats and the activities one performs have a profound impact on the proportions of the three doshas, and hence the five elements in the body. To put it more simply:

You are what you eat .“

Types of Prakrti

Basically, Prakrti has been classified into two as

1. Saareerika - bodily and

2. Maanaseeka – mental

Based on the three doshas and their physical and physiological qualities, the Saaeerika Prakrti has been classified into seven

namely

1. Vaata

2. Pitta

3. Kapha

4. Vaata – Pitta

5. Pitta – Kapha

6. Kapha – Vaata and

7. Tridoshaja or Sannipaata

Based on the three gunas and their emotional, behavioral, cognitive and mental abilities and qualities, the Maanaseeka Prakrti has

been classified into three namely

1. Saatvika

2. Rajasiaka and

3. taamasika In order to understand a person, it is necessary to first determine his or her prakrti. By understanding the prakrti of a person, a vaidya, or doctor, is able to detect the changes in the prakrti of the person. Using prakrti as the base, he then diagnoses the disease. Irrespective of whether a person is healthy or ill, knowing one's prakrti helps one to know oneself better and live a healthy and peaceful life.

The following table contains the characteristics of the different types of prakrtis.

Physical Traits

TRAIT VAATA PITTA KAPHA

Body frame thin medium hefty

Finger nails cracking and thin pink and soft wide, white and thick

Hair thin and dry grey and bald silky, curly and dense

Resting pulse (early morning or before breakfast)

80 - 100 70 - 80 60 - 70

Weight low and bony

medium and

muscular

often overweight

Bowel movements

small, hard, with gas, frequently

constipated

loose and burning moderate and solid

Forehead size small medium, large

Appetite irregular strong and sharp constant and poor

Eyes small and unsteady reddish and cat eyed

wide with large white part

(sclera)

Lips thin and crackin medium and soft large and smooth Skin Dry cherished and

wrinkles

oily and smooth

Voice stammering and weak

commanding and

sharp

soft, sweet and resonating

Which most bothers you ? cold and dry heat and sun cold and damp

Mental Traits

TRAIT VAATA PITTA KAPHA

Temperament nervous or fearful irritable or impatient easygoing

Speech quick or talkative moderate or argues slow or silent

Sleep pattern less and disturbed moderate sleepy and lazy

Habit travel sports or politics enjoying water and flowers

Memory quickly grasps, soon forgets sharp and clear slow to learn, never to forget

Beliefs radical or changing leader and goal oriented loyal and constant

Dream flying and anxious fighting and colourful few and romantic

Emotion enthusiastic but full of worries warm and angry calm and attached

Mind quick and adaptable penetrating and critical slow and lethargic

It is very rare to find an Eka prakrti – person predominant of only one dosha like kevala vaata prakrti. Most of us are Dvandva or

Dvidoshaja or dual prakrtis like Vaata – pitta, Pitta – kapha or Vaata – kapha. A person with all the three doshas in equal proportion is called Samadosha or tridoshaja prakrti.

The type of food one eats increases or decreases the corresponding type of dosha in the body. One's activities also have a similar effect. For instance, vaata prakrti persons intaking more vaata predominant foods are likely to suffer disorders of vaata origin. By making eating choices in harmony with one's Prakrti needs, one can lead a healthy life.

Vata

Light build

Naturally creative

Sensitive

Prefer warm, humid climates

Dry skin

Pitta

Medium, muscular build

Productive, hard-working

Irritable

Prefer cold climates

Fair skin

Kapha

Heavy build

Stable, methodical

Easy-going

Prefer warm, dry climates

Oily skin

Some points to balancing vata pitta kapha :------

Balancing vata

"When vata is aggravated, your system becomes irregular and depleted, which affects weak organs and tissues"

Additional signs of vata imbalance:

Constipation

Dehydration

Anxious

Craving warmth

Frequent viral infection  Weight loss

Disturbed sleep

---Excessive consumption of bitter, astringent and spicy tastes contribute to vata imbalance.

Ayurveda recommends pacifying with sweet, sour and salty tastes and warm, moist, easily digestible

foods like:

Boiled or steamed starchy vegetables (moderate broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and leafy vegetables)

Ripe fruits

Warm milk (moderate dairy)

Soupy grains: rice, wheat

Mild spices: cumin, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, coriander, salt, cloves, mustard, black

pepper

Tea: camomile, fennel, ginger, liquorice, lemon

"Nourishing soups, casseroles and dahls are great for balancing

Balancing pitta

"When pitta is unbalanced, you can become aggressive and irritable.

Additional signs of imbalance:

Diarrhoea

Over-heating, profuse sweating

Colourful, violent dreams

Excessive hunger

Frequent bacterial infections

Heartburn

Dr Prasad believes pitta imbalance may result from excessive alcohol or hot, spicy, oily, fried, salty, fermented foods.

He suggests rebalancing with sweet, bitter and astringent tastes and cool, heavy foods including:

Boiled, steamed, raw vegetables

Sweet fruits

Moderate amounts of dairy

Soupy grains: rice, wheat, barley, oats

Mild, cooling spices: coriander, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, cumin, curry leaves, mint

Tea: fennel, camomile, peppermint, spearmint, liquorice, red clover

Balancing kapha

"When kapha is unbalanced, there is a tendency for mental and physical stagnation. Stimulation of all kinds helps to

avoid that heavy, lethargic feeling,

Additional signs of imbalance:

Sluggish bowels

Procrastination

Craving warmth, spicy foods

Frequent candida infection

Water retention

Weight gain

Excessive sleep

advises excessive food consumption can contribute to kapha imbalance, and recommends a light, warm, low-fat diet

of pungent, bitter and astringent tastes like:

Boiled, steamed, raw vegetables

Ripe fruits (except banana)

Fat-free buttermilk (other dairy reduced)

Grains: corn, millet, rye, oats, barley, wheatbran

Strong spices: pepper, paprika, salt, garlic, basil, cloves, allspice, fennel, mustard, turmeric, cumin, ginger,

cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, black pepper

Honey instead of sugar

Tea: cinnamon, fenugreek, peppermint, raspberry

In the wise world of Ayurveda, you really are what you eat; so discover and dine for your dosha to restore holistic

health of hips, head and heart.

For example, if you have a predominance of Vata in your nature (cold, dry skin, restlessness, worry, light sleep etc), keep Vata in balance by favouring warm, moist, oily, heavy, sweet, sour and salty foods and by reducing cold, dry, light, pungent, bitter and astringent foods.

The Six Tastes

 SWEET – Rice

 SALTY – Salt

 ASTRINGENT - Dal

 BITTER – Greens

 SOUR – Lemon

 PUNGENT - Hingu