What is Ayurveda?
The term Ayurveda means “science of life” and is a holistic system that seeks the wellbeing of a person. It is an estimated 5000 years old wisdom for natural health and inner development. Within Ayurveda, each individual has a personal constitution that is based on three doshas (vata, pitta or kapha) which are related to each other. They can be balanced through a variety of treatments such as Ayurvedic massage treatment, dietary changes and various body exercises (asanas).
The aim for balancing the doshas is to make us feel good and happy, to feel in balance with nature and our environment and body-mind balance. Ayurveda therapy provides us with the tools to get balanced more easily and to feel good in all aspects of life. An ayurvedic consultation and treatment is therefore based upon a person’s dosha and their vikritis (dosha imbalances).
Make a dosha test to determine your body type (constitution).
Characteristics of the doshas and general advice:
Kapha dosha (body type)
Kapha body type is characterized by the water and earth elements, which means that Kapha people have a stable, strong and calm character. A Kapha person is tolerant, loving and compassionate. They works systematically and think things through before making decisions. They rarely get angry.
Kapha people often feel heavy in their body and mind and easily gain weight and muscle mass. They can sleep for long hours (> 8 hours). Their digestion and metabolism is very slow and all activities like eating, talking and thinking is done in their own pace and more slowly. They have a more passive lifestyle and need to be more active. They would benefit from more physical activity (fitness and strength) and more daylight. They are not so keen to make or accept changes and need to explore their comfort zone. Quick decisions, new guidelines and different types of work tasks are challenging because Kapha people do like routines to stick to. Their physical imbalances are related to the water element and manifest as cold, sinusitis or other conditions with a lot of mucus production, obesity, diabetes, problems with the lymphatic system, depression and allergic problems.
Recommended massage: Abhyanga and Garshan with sesame or rapeseed oil
Vata-body type is made up of ether and air element. The word vata means “moving” and characterizes a Vata person as hyperactive, impulsive, creative and unfocused. They are diverse, quick thinkers and speakers and fast learners but forget easily.
Vata people have a slim and narrow body type and they do not easily gain weight. In addition, they are very mobile people. They often have dry skin and cold feet and hands. At work, they don’t have any routines, instead they are more chaotic and have the tendency to handle too many projects at once, but they can adapt to any situation and are very enthusiastic and flexible. They would be more balanced by having routines, prioritizing and believing in themselves. Before making fast decisions, they should sleep on it and learn to be more thorough doing things. A step by step approach is advisable as well as allowing time for thoughts to be processed. They benefit from regular meal times and habits. They are naturally caring people but also have a strong tendency to worry too much and feel anxious about being alone. Imbalances are found in joint pain, muscle aches, frustration, constipation, sleep disorders, headache, PMS and psychosomatic disorders.
Recommended massage: Abhyanga in the morning with sesame, coconut or almond oil
Pitta body type is mainly made up of the fire element and little water. The work pitta derives from the sanskrit word tapa and means “hot” or “strict”. That reflects in their character as being passionate, energetic and intense. A Pitta person is sharp-minded, strives for perfection, competitive, strong-willed and dominant. They tend to get irritated or frustrated in stressful situations.
Pitta people are of medium body build. They have a fast metabolism and can eat a lot. Pitta people have a deep sleep and rarely wake up during the night. They have a tendency to be workaholics and control freaks and need to find a balance between “doing” and “relaxing”. They need to be less demanding on themselves and others. They often feel exhausted and tired and therefore need to do less. Balance may be achieved by doing more mind-calming activities like meditation. They are very organized, ambitious and determined with a good business sense. They are excellent in communicating their thoughts and ideas. Their physical imbalances are related to heat and the fire element and therefore are more likely to develop stomach problems like heartburn and gastritis, skin problems, migraines and other inflammatory conditions.
Recommended massage: Abhyanga with coconut, olive or sunflower oil