Ayurveda is an ancient Hindu science of medicine that teaches us to use the 5 senses to heal. Yoga is the tool used to create a peaceful mind and body. Ayurveda helps heal the poisons in the body, which are bad habits. Bad habits turn into disease, sickness and mental chaos. When healing with ayurveda, the key is to not have abrupt changes. We are looking for a remedy with compassion to ease our way into healthier bodies and minds. When we heal with the 5 senses, we heal with the 5 elements: ETHER, AIR, FIRE, WATER, EARTH. These elements exists everywhere in ayurveda practices: In bodies, foods, exercise, breathing, oils, and so on. No two people are created the same, everyone has different bodies and different doshas. There are 3 doshas or body types someone can have: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each body type posses different imbalances, different elements, and different healing methods.
Vata: Vatas have the elements AIR and ETHER present. Air is the wind and Ether is the cosmos, universe, the force of energy we cannot see but feel. Their qualities are light, cool, dry and mobile. Most of the time they have a thin body frame, long neck and bones, thin skin, they tend to run cold, and may fluctuate their weight. They are prone to constipation, chronic immune challenges, and have weakness in circulatory and nervous systems. Vatas tend to have a lot of anxiety, have trouble sleeping or sleep lightly and are quite frequently nervous. When they are in balance they are focused, able to act quickly, have good digestion, have positive outlook on life, and are able to attain goals.
Pitta: Pittas have a the elements of FIRE and WATER. Fire is the heat and water cools it off. Their qualities are light, hot, slightly oily, and flowing. Pitta people have a hot body temperature, medium size build and muscle tone, reddish skin and a tendency to have rashes or acne. Pittas are sensitive to heat and humidity; they also have a healthy appetite but if they miss a meal, they become irritable. They are focused, energetic, intense, and dynamic. Pittas tend to have loose stool, heartburn and skin problems. They sleep moderately but can overheat in the night. When imbalanced they can have anger and jealousy. When in balance, they make great leaders, have strong intellect, and have inner peace.
Kapha: Kaphas have the elements of WATER and EARTH. Water is the life force that is contained by the Earth. Their qualities are heavy, cool, moist, soft and stable. They tend to be stocky, potentially overweight, good musculature development, short neck and large bone structure. Kaphas speak slowly, they are slow moving, consistent and dedicated. They are prone to mucus conditions within the lungs and sinuses, and may have water retention and diabetes. If they are imbalanced they are challenged with depression, lethargy, stubbornness and over attachment. When in balanced they are patient, kind, loving, compassionate, and diplomatic.
Yoga practices for each of the doshas are completely different. It pacifies each dosha to be put into balance. Yoga is a treatment, a balancer, brings harmony back into the state of being. Other methods of treatment in ayurveda include diet, aromatherapy, color therapy, sound healing, and touch healing. Yoga, along with other treatments, will treat the root of suffering with compassion and gentleness. When someone is out of balance and is suffering it is known to be a disease since we are out of touch with our soul and the divine. The 3 causes of diseases involve a) misuse of the senses: the most common, involves heavy ego, disharmonious actions to the mind and body b) failure of the intellect: not listening to intuition, listening to the ego and c) time and emotion: moving too fast causes stress and bad emotions, buying into illusion.
Treatment in ayurveda therapy involves a consultation where time is spent understanding the person’s body, mind and soul. From there recommendations are given of how to fix the imbalances. Recommendations can be specific herbs, certain exercises, daily routines, and special ayurvedic practices. A practitioner should never say, “this will cure you” because that is not ethical. We can only give suggestions and show a client methods that could resonate with them. If someone needs to balance their vata, yoga practices will be along the lines of slow but moving to bring the fire element in them. Kapha people need more of a fast paced yoga class to get them moving and warm. Pitta people do well with restorative yoga or any yoga that is very grounding and cooling.
Ayurveda brings the mind, body, and soul into wellbeing. It gives harmony back to the body. Yoga creates healing and restores wholeness. The variety of methods ayurveda uses gives us the chance to specialize healing. No matter what the dosha is or the imbalance, ayurveda therapy will bring its own forms of holistic healing to restore the spirit and heal the body.
Lauren Jamie Hall
Founder of The Handle With Care Project