This blog post follows on from the introduction to Ayurveda on the What is Ayurveda page.
Vata is composed primarily of Air and Ether and is cold, light, dry, mobile, erratic, rough and subtle. This bio-energy governs all movement in the body: breathing, talking, natural urges sneezing, blinking, all excretory functions, peristalsis and menstruation. Psychologically, Vata governs creativity and spontaneity and the tendency to juggle many things at once.
Vata is primarily housed in the colon, pelvic cavity, bones, thighs and nervous system.
When Vata increases the dry, light and mobile wind-like qualities in the body and mind also increase creating dry skin and hair, bloating and constipation, insomnia, low body weight, stiffness and pain especially in the lower back and hips, sensitivity to noise, feeling scattered and ungrounded, and the cold feelings of anxiety and fear.
Due to its mobile nature Vata is more prone to going out of balance than the other two doshas.
Pitta is made of primarily Fire and Water which creates qualities that are warm, moist, oily, sharp, liquid and spreading. This bio-energy governs all transformation, metabolism and digestion within the body, for example, the formation of enzymes and hormones, assimilation of foods, body temperature, perception and comprehension both visually and mentally and thirst. Psychologically, Pitta creates courage and drive, warmth and friendliness when in balance.
Pitta’s primary seats in the body are the small intestine, liver, blood and the eyes. It is in these areas where we first see an excess of the Pitta in the body.
When Pitta increases more than is natural, it creates hot conditions such as hyperacidity or other burning sensations, skin rashes or acne, which reflect the state of the blood, red sore eyes and light sensitivity, loose stools or diarrhoea, liver disorders, anaemia, burning sensations, inflammatory conditions and the hot emotions of irritability, jealousy , frustration, anger and judgmental tendencies.
Kapha is comprised mostly of the Water and Earth elements. Kapha’s characteristics are cool, moist, heavy, oily, smooth, dull and dense. It creates stability and lubrication in the body and is responsible for strength of tissues and joints, moisture and lustre of the skin and maintains immunity and good memory. Psychologically Kapha creates calmness, patience and love.
Kapha is primarily found in the stomach, lungs, mucous membranes, lymphatic system and joints.
Too much Kapha, or elementally the earth and water qualities in the body, creates heaviness and lethargy, a dampened appetite, excess of mucous and congestion, a dull mind, difficulty getting going in the morning and an increase in tissue growth. Emotionally, one experiences more attachment and apathy.
Each Dosha has three possible states of being: A state of equilibrium, a state of depletion and a state of accumulation or aggravation. Ayurveda considers it is when the Doshas accumulate more than is natural for an individual that they create imbalance in the tissues and their related sites in the body and mind.
A primary principle of Ayurveda is that like increases like and therefore that opposites will bring about balance once again.
An Ayurvedic practitioner can recognise the body’s little warning cries of unease before a disease fully manifests. They will guide a person back to health through the use of diet and lifestyle choices, breathing techniques and meditations, herbs, massage and self care practices. Indeed, almost anything can be used as a medicine if it is given for the right person at the right time in the right season. To work with me click here.
This may seem simple, however, when we begin to look at the world around us and our own bodies through the Ayurvedic lens of Vata, Pitta and Kapha and the characteristic of the 5 elements, we begin to see the profound nature of this theory.
We begin to understand how it is the small choices we make each day, such as the foods we eat and the habits we cultivate, that either enhance and strengthen our health or, over time, erode it. This insight can lead us to make the choices in our lives which will create balance and greater health. Ayurveda can give you that insight and body wisdom!