A Primer on Ayurveda and the three Doshas

Ayurveda is a traditional, living science from India that understands and teaches us about the body, mind and soul alignment. If there is not health in one of these areas, it makes it tricky for you to accomplish opportunities for growth in the other areas.

Within the mind-body-soul triad, Ayurveda has one examine the individual (you can even do this yourself!) within a framework identified by the doshas. Dosha is a Sanskrit word can be approximated to the word fault as in a fault-line where earthquakes happen. The three doshas are vata, pitta and kapha. 

Which dosha represents you is often a really hot topic. You will find quizzes and surveys out there where folks enthusiastically explain which dosha they fall into just like you hear about zodiac sign allegiance. And those surveys are amazing and knowing your dosha is fantastic. However, why would you want to be so enthusiastic about where earthquakes happen?

Each person has a balance of all three of these doshas in their life. These surveys are pointing you to understand which dosha is more dominant in your constitution. We want to celebrate all of the doshas and the elements that come together to define the dosha. This is a topic for another time.

In clinical applications of Ayurveda we would rather you not identify with the dosha because where you spend your focus can lead for the dosha to become more present in your life. Where we fault (the dosha) is where we find imbalance and in Ayurveda, sustained imbalance can lead to disease. So through understanding how the doshas are playing out in one’s life we can either be reactive or proactive with our health.

How does this apply to you and your health?

Ayurveda can be really useful in supporting someone to be healthy or to help relieve symptoms that may be appearing. The end goal is that your Ayurvedic coach can help one return to a place of ease that allows for more success and sustained energy. Ayurveda wants you to be able to see the abundance around you, age gracefully, and achieve your purpose.

Image from Ayurveda: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Wellbeing by Geeta Vara

Each of the doshas have characteristics and qualities that align with the elements that define them — you can see this in the image above.  You have a blend of all three of the doshas in a combination unique to you. You might resonate with one or all of these! There are a rare few that are an equal blend of all three (known as tri-doshic) but more often, we can find us aligned primarily with one or two doshas. Your Ayurvedic coach will use the doshic understanding of an individual as well as other information to make recommendations about how one can keep healthy, which we also refer to as balanced.

balance = health; imbalance = disease / sickness / symptoms present

When we say balance, we are really considering the balance of these doshic energies in one’s body and life.

So where does Ayurvedic Coaching fit in?

Individuals with training in Ayurveda have a range of knowledge in this system (you can think of this range as health coaches -> actual doctors). We meet with clients to help them understand their self a little bit better. We work to understand your gifts and where life may have gotten in the way.

After an assessment, I can make recommendations for how to get life to be more pleasureful and easeful for you. The magic here is in the collaboration, I will work with you to find the right amount of work to put into action. After we have tackled some of the current imbalances in you, we can start to be more proactive about your health — preparing you for the seasons and life events ahead. If you get back to a place of imbalance (which often happens, life is crazy), we can work together to get you back to balance.

And this is simple. We talk about life, stress, how much you like food, all the things. We even discuss where things aren’t going so well. Then we come up with a plan for how you can make it better with simple adjustments. Ayurveda knows that the power is in the individual to make the change and I am here to be your guide and cheerleader.

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