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    Ayurveda Body Types: Vata, Kapha, And Pitta Explained

    Embark on a journey into the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda as we explore the intricacies of Vata, Kapha, and Pitta body types. Gain a deeper understanding of how these doshas shape your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Discover personalised insights and practical tips to balance each dosha for optimal health. Whether through mindful practices, dietary adjustments, or lifestyle choices, this guide serves as a roadmap to aligning with your unique constitution.

    By Liv Surtees / Jan 21 2023

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    When it comes to diet, lifestyle, and exercise, unfortunately, there seems to be a common misconception that a one-size-fits-all approach applies: we tend to believe that following what someone else does to stay healthy and happy will work for us too. 


    The truth is, the way that we support ourselves needs to be personalised in reference to our specific body type and the natural characteristics that make us the unique individual we are.


    Ayurveda, and more specifically, being able to understand our Ayurvedic body type (dosha) can help us to live a lifestyle that’s the most supportive of our unique bodies and minds. 


    In this article, we’re going to dive into the world of Ayurveda doshas and take a look at how you can define your dosha and live a lifestyle that’s in alignment with what your body (and mind) truly needs.

    what is ayurveda?

    Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest, holistic forms of medicine. Ayurveda originated in India over 5,000 years ago and can be translated from Sanskrit as “science of life”.


    The overarching belief of Ayurveda is that every aspect of life is all inextricably connected. Therefore, in order to achieve a good state of health and wellness, there must be balance and harmony throughout every aspect of life. If you are out of balance or there’s stress within the body, the Ayurvedic belief is that you’re in greater danger of developing illnesses, conditions, or diseases.


    So, in order to keep a state of balance, Ayurvedic healing includes natural treatments, certain diets, specific lifestyle practices, and various types of exercise to ensure that you are keeping the body, mind, and spirit in the best possible health and living in a state of balance.


    However, individuality is recognised in Ayurveda and a “one-size-fits-all” approach is thrown out of the window. Depending on the type of body type you are (known in Ayurveda as a dosha), the specific type of personality and health you naturally have will determine the specific practices you should be doing to support yourself.


    Therefore, it’s important to recognise your dosha and then take the steps to support your health and wellbeing in the most impactful way: good job that’s exactly what we’re about to do!


    what are the different ayurvedic body type (doshas)?

    There are three main body types in Ayurveda. However, it’s important to note that the term “body type” actually refers to the energy within both the body and the mind, not just the physical form! 


    Let’s take a look at the three different types and see if you can identify with one of them. If you can’t identify fully with one specific dosha, there’s no need to panic though! People can be a mix of doshas and in fact, most people are a mix of all, but have one or two dominant doshas that they identify most clearly with.

    vata dosha

    Vata connects with two specific elements: air and space. Those with a Vata dosha typically have a physical build that’s slim, they have high energy levels, thinner hair and drier skin. Emotionally, they are creative, enthusiastic and adaptable. 


    Those with a Vata dosha don’t sleep for long periods of time, they struggle with cold weather, and they may become anxious, stressed, unstable, and impulsive when out of balance.

    kapha dosha

    Kapha connects with two specific elements: earth and water. Those with Kapha dosha typically have a physical build that’s softer since they may carry a bit of extra weight due to a slower digestive system, and they will have more oily skin. Emotionally, those with a kapha dosha are stable, soft, nurturing, and gentle. 


    Those with a Kapha dosha are usually calm and therefore don’t tend to get riled up easily. However, they may struggle with fatigue, logical thinking, and they may become overly attached or emotionally dependent on others if they are out of balance. 

    pitta dosha

    Pitta connects with two specific elements: fire and water. Those with Pitta dosha tend to have medium-builds, they’re athletic, strong, and they have healthy yet more sensitive skin. Emotionally, those with Pitta tend to be courageous, extremely motivated, goal-oriented, and competitive. 


    Those with Pitta dosha are highly-driven but when out of balance they may find that they get involved in conflict, are impatient, overly-critical of themselves and others, and insensitive. 

    how to live in alignment with your dosha

    Whether you identify with a specific dosha or you have one or two dominant doshas, once you understand which dosha(s) you are, you can make lifestyle changes that support your natural body and personality type. 

    diets for different doshas

    Vata doshas should prioritize warm foods such as soup, cooked vegetables, purees, and drinks such as hot milk. They should avoid cold or raw foods such as salads. Food with more moisture should also be prioritised and dry foods should be avoided. 


    Kapha doshas should prioritise fresh and light but flavorsome foods. Eating meals that are spicy and bitter, such as steamed vegetables with added spices such as ginger, are powerful at balancing kapha doshas. They should avoid heavy foods such as bread, cheeses, and fried food and need to regulate the amount and speed at which they eat: they shouldn’t overeat.


    Pitta doshas should prioritise cooling foods and avoid overly powerful or sour foods. Eating meals that are light, packed with cooling foods and sweet fruits is a great way to balance the pitta dosha. They should avoid hot foods, spicy foods, and skipping meals.

    exercise for different doshas

    Vata dosha should prioritise more mindful, less impactful types of exercise. For example, exercises such as yoga, walking, and dancing, are great practices for those Vatas. 


    Kapha dosha should prioritise aerobic and endurance exercise such as weight lifting, running, rowing, and boxing. The focus for Kaphas should be on doing exercise that makes them sweat.


    Pitta dosha should prioritise doing exercise that is calming and cooling (although obviously exercise makes us hotter). Swimming in particular is a great exercise for those with Pitta doshas.

    lifestyle practices for different doshas

    Vatas should prioritise keeping a regular routine that involves mindful activities, especially grounding practices. Spending time in nature, sunlight, and practicing meditation on a regular basis is powerful to balance vata. 


    Kaphas should focus on energy-promoting practices and not sleeping too much! Even though practising mindfulness is important for Kaphas, the practices should always focus on cultivating energy. Additionally, doing things such as spending time in warm environments such as saunas can be useful for Kaphas.


    Pittas need to prioritise upholding a good work-life balance and spending regular time doing calming activities such as creative arts or peaceful meditative practices. Spending time doing more childish and playful activities are a great idea for pittas to bring more joy into their life.

    final thoughts

    Identifying which Ayurvedic body type you have and living a life that not only supports this body type but also helps you balance various aspects of your life can bring you to a higher level of health and wellbeing, both physical, mental, and spiritual.


    So, which dosha are you? How are you going to change your lifestyle habits to support what you now know?

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