In this week’s blog I will discuss your unique body type (Prakruti) and how understanding this can help bring about balance in both mind and body.
As mentioned in the last blog, Ayurveda looks at each person as an individual with different characteristics and qualities. From a health point of view certain foods and lifestyle choices will agree with some and not with others, this is unique to Ayurveda’s treatment for maintaining mind & body balance. It is not a one size fits all system.
Although physiologically we are all one of the same substance and function, ones responses to life vary. Human beings exhibit a vast diversity in size, shape, complexion, energy levels and health.
So what factors are responsible for such a great variety in intelligence, emotional responses and adaptability to the environment’s demand?
Ones persons food is another person’s poison. Some react to a situation in one way and others differently. To one person a relaxed, easy going attitude to life is responsible for a long life and for others working hard brings a healthy and long life. One person eats little exercises a lot but still gains weight easily, while others have difficulty in gaining weight even though they eat a lot.
All these questions can be answered through Ayurveda, by understanding that each individual is a unique identity, body type or Prakruti. The body type cannot be changed, but imbalances can occur in one’s life from the moment we are born.
What are the body types?
Vata, Pitta and Kapha the 3 doshas, varying according to each individual. One dosha will usually predominate and will make its mark on us in terms of our appearance and disposition.
The 3 doshas have certain qualities and characteristic that make us different from one person to the next, if this is the case then food and lifestyle choices will also vary from one person to the next. Hence eating to one’s body type can bring about perfect health and having a diet and lifestyle that aggravates that body type can lead to poor health, quality of life and wellbeing.
Eating to one’s body type can bring about perfect health, where as having a diet and lifestyle that aggravates your body type can lead to poor health and wellbeing. Knowing your body type, not only guides you on what foods are best but also gives you a deeper understanding of yourself as a person, our tendencies on the mental and emotional level an important factor when learning about ones self. This knowledge is something that you can take with you throughout your life, that you know works and is not some passing fad or diet.
Something that I often here in my practice from a client is “I’m healthy and don’t understand why I have this health issue” The simple answer is we are what we eat and we are because of our own actions in this life and according to Ayurveda if we are engaging in activity and diet that aggravates our unique body type then this can be the underlying cause of our health issue.
Here are the 3 doshas or body types in more detail;
Vata: have the qualities of lightness, irregularity, dryness, rough, thin, cold and movement. This body type’s structure has a tendency towards being thin, light, dry skin with visible muscles, tendons and veins they are either very tall or short. Their personality is energetic, enthusiastic, creative, cheerful and outgoing; they tend towards emotions such as fear, worry, anxiety, and stress. When Vata is out of balance and are eating foods that are a similar nature to there make up (such as dry foods, cold foods raw foods and irregular eating habits) then they tend towards constipation, dry skin, high blood pressure, cramps, loss of energy, lower back pain, insomnia, aches and pains, nervous system and hormonal disorders.
Pitta: have the qualities of heat, sharpness and oiliness. Body type structure is of medium height with a slender delicate body frame, with well-developed muscles, soft warm and oily skin. Eyes are sharp and they have a tendency to premature greying. Their personality traits are ambitious, high achievers, make good team leaders, enjoy control over situations and are successful in business. They tend toward emotions such as anger, hatred, agitation, jealousy, criticism and impatience. When Pitta is out of balance and are eating foods that are a similar nature to their make up (such as chili, tomatoes, fermented foods, pickled foods, yeast, coffee sour foods and spicy foods) then they tend towards, skin disease, liver and spleen problems, acne, feel over heated, stomach ulcers, hot flushes and heartburn.
Kapha: have the qualities of heaviness, oiliness, coldness, dampness and slow. Kapha types body structure tends to be heavy, thicker body frame with large features. Their personality is very caring, comforting and nurturing. They tend towards emotions such as feeling of being victimized, possessive, depression and greediness. When Kapha is out of balance and are eating foods that are a similar nature to there make up (such as cheese, ice cream, cream, oily and fried foods, butter, too much sweets and heavy types of foods) they tend towards diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol, lymphatic congestion, weight gain, fluid retention, excessive phlegm, aches and pains in the joints and sinus congestion.
Knowing your body type can easily be worked out by an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner. It is best not to google or go by Ayurvedic books that have a check list charts trying to determine your body type, this only represents your current situation. Seek advice from a professional Ayurvedic Practitioner that can share with you the tools to better your health.
Please note this article is just a basic outline, it is not the answer to all health conditions,that need specific treatment.
Yours in good health:
Scott Allan – Ayurvedic Practitionar at Yoga Therapy & Ayurveda Wellness Centre Buderim:
Scott Allan is a skilled and clinically experienced practitioner with over 8 years experience. He has trained with Dr Ajit of the Australasian Institute of Ayurvedic Studies and still continues to further his knowledge with Dr Ajit who is also a mentor for Scott. He currently runs the Yoga Therapy and Ayurveda Wellness Centre in Buderim with his wife Kim. Scott offers health consultations, Ayurvedic treatments and much more. For more information on the services Scott offers www.yogaayurvedacentre.com.au