Updated: Nov 1, 2021
Ayurveda and Its Doshas
Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest forms of holistic medicine and still widely used today. Combining physical, psychological, and spiritual health, Ayurveda focuses on whole-body healing and states that a person’s dosha, a type of bodily humor, determines their personality and health.
Ayurvedic medicine is based on the idea that the world is made up of five elements: aakash (space), jala (water), prithvi (earth), teja (fire), and vayu (air). A combination of each element results in three or doshas, known as vata, kapha, and pitta. These doshas are believed to be responsible for a person’s physiological, mental, and emotional health. (1)
Every person is said to have a unique ratio of each dosha, usually with one standing out more than the others. For example, a person may be mostly pitta while another may be mostly vata.
Rather than winter, spring, summer and fall, Ayurveda divides the year into three seasons: vata season, which goes from late fall into early winter; kapha season, from the coldest, darkest part of winter into spring; and pitta season, the hottest time of year from late spring to early fall.
Fall is dry, rough, windy, erratic, cool, and subtle. These are all qualities shared by vata dosha, and because like increases like, fall is considered a vata season. This same principle illustrates why taking a few simple steps to balance vata this fall can be tremendously beneficial. By making diet and lifestyle choices that counter the effects of each season, you can better maintain your internal sense of equilibrium throughout the year. If we consider the Ayurvedic principle that opposites balance, vata season will be less aggravating if you fill it with warmth, oiliness, deep nourishment, loving relationships, and a sense of stability, routine, and grounding.
As far as your yoga practice goes, include grounding postures like tree, triangle and warrior. Sun Salutations should be done slowly and consciously. Include warming breath work such as kapalabhati. Too many hours in front of the television is very aggravating to vata especially before bed. Try turning the TV off an hour before bed and create a bedtime routine of some calming breath, meditation, and soothing, seated yoga postures. Daily self-massage with warming oils is very grounding and helps with the dryness of the season. Create a daily routine, going to bed and waking at the same time each day. Strict routine is excellent for vata.
If you would like to dive deeper into identifying and balancing your dosha, an Ayurvedic practitioner/specialist can help you.
(1) PubMed Central - highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health.