Ayurveda can help you improve your quality of life.
Learn how to balance the Tridoshas
(Vata, Pitta, Kapha)
By learning how to balance the Tridoshas, the following goals can likely be achieved:
Prevention of many diseases before they take place
In many cases, slowing down or reversing the disease process
Support in becoming healthier: physically and mentally
What is really empowering about Ayurveda is that It is based upon the laws of nature. One learns how to use the tools of lifestyle management and also proper nutritional protocols to balance the Tridoshas.
What are the Tridoshas?
Ayurveda's concept of the Tridoshas is unique. Ayurveda says the body is made up of tissues (dhatus), waste products (malas), and doshas (loosely translated to Energetic Forces). It is the Tridoshas' job to assist with the creation of all of the various tissues of the body and to remove any unnecessary waste products from it. It is also the Tridoshas that influence all movements, all transformations, all sensory functions, and many of the other activities in the human body and mind.
The Vata dosha is responsible for all movement in the body and is the most important of the three doshas and the main two reasons are:
If Vata becomes imbalanced it can cause the other two doshas (Pitta or Kapha) to become imbalanced. This is called a Tridoshic imbalance and is the most difficult to overcome.
Vata is the main driver or mover of the body, including the other two doshas, all the tissues (dhatus) and all of the waste products (malas).
Vata provides the following functions:
All eliminations: fetus, semen, feces, urine, sweat, and a few others
Assists with all the various metabolisms in the body (called Agni in Ayurveda)
Controls all of the various movement of body (both physical & mental),
including such things as respiration, heart beat, motivation and contraction of muscles
Relays all sensory input from the various sense organs to the brain
The Pitta dosha is associated with fire or heat and is responsible for all metabolism in the body. Wherever there is transformation, there is Pitta. Whether it is in the GI tract, liver, skin, eyes or brain ...
Pitta provides the following functions:
Metabolism - at all the various levels
from digestion of food to transformation of all other material
Thermogenesis - maintains the proper body temperature
Vision - converts external images into optic nerve impulses
Appetite - the feeling of hunger and thirst
Comprehension - of information into knowledge, also reasoning and judgment
Courage & Braveness - to face the situation
Complexion - gives color and softness to skin
Kapha is the heaviest of the three doshas. It provides the structures and the lubrication that the body needs. These qualities help to counterbalance Vata's movement and Pitta's metabolism. A big, heavyset football play or wrestler is a person with a predominance of Kapha.
Kapha provides the following functions:
Strength - to perform physical tasks
Moistness & Lubrication - to prevent excessive friction from occurring between the various parts of the body
Stability - to add the necessary grounding aspect to both mind and body
Mass & Structure - to provide fullness to bodily tissues
Fertility & Virility - to produce healthy offspring
What is the Normal State of the Tridoshas?
When the Tridoshas are balanced, the individual experiences health on all levels: mental, physical and spiritual. This is much more than the mere absence of disease.
The following areas help to define what Ayurveda considers as health.
Happiness - sense of well being
Emotions - evenly balanced emotional states
Mental Functions - good memory, comprehension, intelligence, and reasoning ability
Senses - proper functioning of eyes, ears, nose, taste, and touch
Energy - abundant mental & physical energy to perform
Digestion - easy digestion of food and drink
Elimination - normal elimination of wastes: sweat, urine, feces and others
Physical Body - healthy bodily tissues, organs, and systems
What causes the Tridoshas to become Imbalanced?
Balanced & Imbalanced
Each of the three doshas have certain quantity, qualities, and functions. When all of these are balanced this is conducive to well-being, health, and wellness. However, this balanced state is not stable; it is always changing. The Doshas will become either increased (vriddhi) or decreased (kasaya). Both of these states lead to ill-health or disease. Another important point to understand is that each dosha has a set of qualities (gunas) associated with it which can increase or decrease in quantity.
Qualities of Vata Dosha
Cold, Light, Dry, Rough, Hard, Mobile and the Ability to penetrate fine particles
Qualities of Pitta Dosha
Hot, Sharp, Slightly Oily, Penetrating, Liquid, Light and can be sour and foul smelling when excessively increased
Qualities of Kapha Dosha
Cool, Heavy, Dense, Stable, Oily and slimy
Two kinds of Imbalances
Natural - imbalances
Natural imbalance is due to time and age, which are mild and normally do not cause any problems. Vata, Pitta, and Kapha increase and become predominant during one's life, during a season and during certain times of day. For example:
Vata is predominant during the latter part of one's life, during the fall like weather and during late afternoon, as well as during the last part of night and the last part of digestion.
Pitta is predominant during middle age, during the summer season, at midday, at midnight and during the middle part of digestion.
Kapha is predominant during childhood, during the spring season, in late morning, at the first part of evening and during the early part of digestion.
Unnatural - imbalances
Unnatural imbalances of the Doshas can be caused by such things as: inappropriate diet, inappropriate lifestyle, trauma (like a car accident), viruses, parasites, etc. While some of these items are beyond our control, the type of lifestyle we live and the foods we eat are within our control.
Like increases Like
To learn how to reduce the Tridoshas, it is first necessary to understand what causes the Tridoshas to increase. The reason, according to a simple rule in Ayurvedic principles, is: "Like increases Like, while Dislike (opposite) decreases Like." For example, if you are cold and you eat ice cream, you will become colder; or if you are hot and you eat chilli peppers, you will become hotter. These examples, which seem so obvious, are the basis for much of what is done in Ayurveda that allows its exceptional results. Herein lies one of the true beauties of Ayurveda: its principles are so simple, so basic, that it naturally appeals to common sense.
Example of Vata increasing Lifestyle and Foods
So if we engage in either lifestyles or consumes foods that have Vata qualities one will be increasing the Vata dosha in themself.
Some examples of Vata increasing activities are the following: running outside while dressed lightly when it is cold, dry with lots of winds blowing, going to a rock concert after skipping a meal and not having slept all night, eating popcorn while driving in traffic with the music blasting, never taking time to rest, relax and take it easy. Basically any activity that is nerve racking and/or highly stimulating is going to increase (aggravate) Vata.
Types of Vata increasing foods would be things that have the above mentioned qualities and/or taste bitter, astringent or pungent like: popcorn, rice cakes, beans, cayenne pepper, coffee and alfalfa sprouts.