Discovering Your Dosha

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Vata is the creative energy within us, our source of inspiration and curiosity. It allows us to seek travel, freedom, and excitement with clear intuition. Those who embrace this energy are magnetic and dynamic. Often compared to a deer, this body-type is nimble, flexible, thin, and light. 

Typically busy with adventure and life tasks, the Vata-type places little importance on resting. Dietary patterns can reflect this as they may crave lighter foods to keep moving, or might skip meals due to forgetfulness. If ongoing, these habits will lead to a state of energy depletion – a physical and emotional crash.

The Vata energy creates brilliance in the psyche. When balanced, the mind is bright, unique, and active, producing the many gifts and talents of this type. They are great socialites and revel in human connection when feeling well. When imbalanced, the mind can turn anxious, lonely, and skittish. It’s common for this type to act out of fear. They may not think before they speak, cling to people when they are lonely, and/or suddenly change their mind or even life-trajectory. Insomnia is common due to hyperactivity and fear in the mind. In the body, an imbalance may lead to dry skin, cold hands and feet, joint pain, and malnourishment due to irregular appetite and thirst. 

  • Vata energy is greatest in the fall/winter.

Dietary Recommendations:
Due to high energy output, the body and gut can experience a fight-or-flight response, leading to nausea, bloating, irritable bowels, and constipation. Meal times should be consistent and include heavier and grounding foods. People with this body-type can easily digest carbohydrates and fats. Caffeine and stimulants are not recommended. Their diets should include plenty of healthy oils, nuts, sweet and juicy fruits, cooked vegetables and grains, milk and soft cheeses (if tolerable), oily and dark meats, saltwater and freshwater fish, and warming spices (such as cinnamon, cardamom, and vanilla).

Lifestyle Recommendations:
Due to their skittish nature, this type is encouraged to find safe and warm relationships and environments. Seeking nurturing people and practicing self-love is a good antidote for loneliness. More consistent down time, meditation, reflection, and peaceful activities are recommended. In general, developing a routine will reduce anxiety.

Pitta is the passionate energy within us, the ability to execute our greatest visions with determination, boldness, and self-agency. Like a tiger, this body-type is strong, medium build, with lasting endurance. When balanced in the mind, it is wise, disciplined, and firm in principle. 

Pitta-types are exceptional leaders. They concentrate well on tasks and genuinely understand and show compassion for others. When overcome with the desire to succeed, they can be aggressive or hostile to anyone who stands in their way. Having difficulty admitting their weaknesses, they may turn rigid in self-protection. 

Pitta energy promotes the digestive fire and metabolism. Often hungry, it’s natural for this type to be drawn to denser foods. Like a ravenous animal, they will pounce on meat, cheese, and potatoes – without gaining much weight. However these poor food choices are not without consequence and may lead to health issues affecting the skin, stomach, and heart. Acne, skin rashes, heart burn, and stomach ulcers are common. Excessive intake of animal fat could lead to high blood pressure and other heart conditions later in life; emotionally, this fiery type is prone to anger, which is taxing on the heart and may contribute as well.

  • Pitta energy is greatest in the summer.

Dietary Recommendations:
An intense metabolism results in higher body heat, often creating an overproduction of oil and sweat. The digestive system is fast and may result in numerous, sometimes loose, bowel movements per day. For these reasons, food choices should be cooling and slowing to the digestive tract. This includes plenty of crunchy, raw or semi-cooked vegetables, legumes, tofu and tempeh, grains and other carbohydrates, freshwater fish (like cod), dryer meat (such as chicken breast rather than thigh), overall less meat and dairy consumption, less alcohol, less salt, less spicy/hot foods, plenty of juicy and sweet fruits, and calming spices (such as coriander, cumin, and cinnamon).

Lifestyle Recommendations:
Due to the aggressive and hot nature of this type, they are encouraged to cool themselves mentally and physically. When upset, they should understand their words may be sharp and hurtful to others. It is wise to practice meditation and reflection to dissolve anger, especially for the sake of their loved ones. Considering physical activity, the Pitta-type is easily athletic, but shouldn’t use exercise as a substitute for emotional processing. 

Kapha is the flourishing energy within us. It provides the means to grow mentally and physically. Like a seed hibernating under the earth, the Kapha energy quietly waits to bloom. It is the calm and deliberate energy that nurtures oneself and all living organisms. 

Kapha-types have beautiful skin and hair. Their body is well-nourished and sometimes larger in frame. While stable, strong, and fierce on the surface, they are soft, compassionate, and loving underneath; most people enjoy the company of this type. When imbalanced, their metabolism and psyche can become slow, leading to weight-gain, lethargy, and depression. In more severe cases, greed and jealousy can brew in the mind.

When balanced, this type shows endurance and produces quality work. Rather than becoming anxious under pressure, they slow down to assess the larger picture. When imbalanced or overwhelmed, a Kapha-type may cope by sleeping excessively and/or indulging in sugary foods – behaviors which make them more prone to diabetes. Ailments in the lungs and sinuses are also common, causing increased phlegm, congestion, and allergies. Spiritually, Kapha-types can fear change and cling to familiar things for safety. This causes an aversion to healthy stressors and activities that may help them move forward in life.

  • Kapha energy is greatest in the spring.

Dietary Recommendations:
The digestive system of a Kapha-type is slow, heavy, and often damp; bowel movements are infrequent. This calls for lighter, spicier foods with less carbohydrates and less dairy. Food recommendations include plenty of raw or semi-cooked vegetables, crunchy and light fruits (such as grapes, apples, and berries), lighter meats and seafood (like chicken breast and shrimp), less salt, less or no alcohol, lighter carbohydrates (like quinoa, basmati rice, spelt, and buckwheat), peas and beans, raw honey, and invigorating spices (such as black pepper, cayenne, garlic, ginger, cloves, etc.).

Lifestyle Recommendations:
Being slow and deliberate are great qualities to have in this fast-paced world. However, when depression and jealousy creep into the psyche, bodily ailments may ensue or vice versa. It’s helpful to bestow happiness upon friends with good fortune, and to let go of things that cannot be changed. Frequent and vigorous exercise is also recommended. To help with motivation, Kapha-types should find enjoyable forms of exercise that are useful, inspiring, and/or meaningful to them.

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