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The Meaning of Ayurveda and the Doshas

by Tali Samoylenko on Tuesday 24 April 2018

 

You may have heard the term floating about in your local health food shop, but what exactly is Ayurveda and what’s it all about?

Essentially, Ayurveda is an ancient Indian health practice that’s comprised of diet, aromatherapy, yoga, herbal medicine, acupuncture, meditation, massage, and energy balancing. 

It’s an alternative medicine that dates back over 5,000 years – making it one of the oldest medical systems in the world.  

The three Doshas  

In Ayurvedic medicine, there are three elements (called Doshas) that make up your unique composition. Every person has a unique mix of these elements which helps you to understand how best to take care of your body. The three Doshas are:  

  • Pitta (fire) represents the metabolism, digestion, the absorption of nutrients and bodily temperature.  
  • Vata (air) represents the movement of the body like circulation, breathing and blinking. 
  • Kapha (water) represents the growth of the body as well as the immune system.  

Each person has elements of all three Doshas, with one or two being more dominant. You can take an online quiz to figure out which type you are (but we do recommend seeing a professional practitioner if you’re serious about Ayurveda).

Basic Ayurvedic principles 

Once you’ve figured out your Doshas, you’ll know a bit more about your body type, what foods to avoid, which ones to eat more of and how your body responds to certain situations. Here are the few basic principles for each Dosha to follow:  

  • Pitta types are recommended to eat fresher foods that are cooling. The should avoid foods that are acidic and potentially irritating to the gut.  
  • Vata types are recommended to eat warmer, heartier, softer foods. They should avoid light, dry and crispy foods like popcorn.  
  • Kapha types are recommended to eat warm foods that are bitter and spicy. They should avoid dairy and too many sweets.  

If you’re interested in learning more about Ayurveda, you can find an Ayurveda clinic near you to get professionally assessed by a doctor who specialises in the practice.

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