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  • Writer's pictureAyurveda Gal

Meet the Doshas; Vata, Pitta, Kapha

In Ayurveda there are 3 doshas that govern all the energetics we experience in our day to day lives. They are not physical, they are subtle energetics; however they influence the physical world around us. We see them in our body with our unique make-up (our constitution). We see them in our mind, influencing our thoughts, emotions and behaviorial patterns. We see them in the times of the day, as in the doshic clock. They govern the seasons of the year, and even the phases of our lives. Once we shift our awareness to the subtle understanding of these doshas, they will begin to reveal themselves more and more..

Vata consists of the elements air (wind) and ether (space). Its qualities include light, dry, mobile, subtle, rough, and irregular. Vata is responsible for all movement in the body, flow of breath, the nervous system (messages moving), expression of speech, circulation, elimination, etc. The word Vata translates to that which blows. When Vata manifests in the body, we experience these qualities physically and emotionally. When in balance Vata brings comfortable movement, regular breathing, consistent appetite, normal excretion of waste, positive enthusiasm, healthy desire, good energy, a calm mind, and inspirational creativity. When Vata is out of balance we experience things like dry skin, poor circulation, low body weight, and scattered thoughts.

Vata types have an “airy” nature. Long limbs, curly hair, angular narrow features, smaller thinner frames. They are impulsive and love change. When we see Vata in the time of day it brings creativity, expansion, mental drive. These times are 2-6 am/pm, and it is the time of day when you want to be working on something you are passionate about, a creative project, or its the perfect time to meditate and connect to the expansiveness of the universe. Vata season is fall to early winter when it is cold and dry. This is the perfect time to balance Vata with grounding root vegetables and warm spiced drinks and soups. In our lives, Vata time is from retirement on, it is the time to slow down, share, teach and enjoy life.

Pitta is made up of fire with a small amount of water. Its qualities include hot, sharp, penetrating, slightly oily, fast, and irritable. Pitta governs digestion and metabolism. The word pitta translates to bile. Its primary function is transformation. We can see this is the physical body as hormones, body temperature, hunger, skin radiance, and thirst. We see this in the mind as anger, critical thoughts, our perception of reality, digestion of thoughts, emotions. When Pitta is balanced it is full of vitality, passion, charm, and charisma. Pitta types are dynamic leaders, they like the center of attention. They are fun, colorful, productive, athletic and competitive. When out of balance they tend towards anger, fever, loose stool, burning, frustration, and jealousy.

Pitta types have a moderate build, usually athletic, angular features, fine hair, and usually fair skinned. When we see Pitta in the time of day it is from 10-2 am/pm. This is the time our inner fire (agni) is burning the strongest and we want to be eating or digesting at this time. Its best to eat our largest meal midday during Pitta time. In the evening we ideally want to be in bed before Pitta time hits or else we will get a second wind and not get as deep of rest. We also want to be sleeping so our digestive organs can go through a mini detox each night and clean out anything left over from the day that is not serving us. Pitta time is summer when it is hot outside. We can balance this heat by eating cooling foods like salads, and fruits. The Pitta time of life is from puberty to retirement. This is the time in our lives for productivity and reproduction. It is very easy to get overly stressed in our modern culture and we can calm some of these habits by eating extra greens to cool the heat, as well as meditating and spending time in nature.

Kapha is formed of the elements earth and water. Its qualities are cold, wet, heavy, stable, unctuous, slow, sticky, cloudy, and sweet. In the physical body this is moistness, lubrication of the lungs, heart and joints, protective lining of the stomach, cerebrospinal fluid, excess fat, excess mucous, and swelling. In the mind there is stability, contentment, memory, and love. In balance, kapha types are loving, compassionate, reliable and loyal. They love structure, stability, and represent strength, solidity, protection, endurance. Out of balance, there is excess mucous, coldness, heaviness, stagnation, sluggish digestion, excessive desire to sleep, and complacency in the mind.

Kapha types have big round eyes, smooth, lustrous skin, thick hair, round faces, strong teeth and nails, and a sturdy build. Kapha time dominates 6-10 am/pm, and brings it descending energy. It is a time for connection and nurturing. In the morning it is a perfect time to take a brisk walk or do a workout to get the energy moving, our bodies are strongest in the time of Kapha. In the evening it is good to honor the time of kapha and connect to yourself and loved ones. Try to go to bed in the time of Kapha so you can go into a deep restful sleep that will have you energized physically and mentally when you wake up. The season for Kapha is late winter and early spring. When the cold melts and there is an abundance of moisture in the air and in our bodies. Light, dry, bitter and spicy foods will balance this and the season of Kapha is the perfect time to do a yearly cleanse. In our lives we begin in the Kapha time until the transformation of puberty brings us into our Pitta dominated time. We have excess growth, energy, and are full of love and the desire to connect. Kapha is the time of new potential.

Look at your physical frame and the nature of your thoughts. Do you see the different energetics at play? If you look outside can you feel which dosha is dominating the season? Begin to notice how you feel when you go to sleep and wake at different times of the day. When do you feel most vibrant? The more we look for the cues, the more the doshas will dance for us, and this relationship and awareness will only continue to grow.

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