The (Very) Beginners Guide to Ayurveda | Part 2

So last week, was the first of a series of blog posts to let you all know about the incredible results I am having by following Ayurvedic philosophy. If you haven’t read that yet, I encourage you to go back and read that first. This week, we’re going to take a look at the Five Elements that not only make up the world in which we live, but also combine to form the three constitutional principles known as the doshas. Your doshas, when in balance, will lead to a physically and emotionally balanced state – the ideal bill of health!

The Five Elements

Earth is cold, heavy, solid and dry. Think of dirt.

Water is cold, mobile, heavy, soft, and liquid. Think of the ocean.

Fire is hot, subtle, mobile, dry, and sharp. Think of the sun.

Space is vast, cold, light, and clear. It enables all other things to take form and exist.

Air is dry, cold, rough, and full of motion. Think of the wind.

We can clearly see these elements in the natural world and each has its particular role to play, both in the environment and more importantly – in our bodies. In our bodies, more specifically the digestive system, these elements govern the following:

Earth governs the structure of the digestive tract.

Water governs the digestive fluids.

Fire governs the digestive enzymes involved in metabolism.

Space is all encompassing, is present in each cell.

Air governs the movement of nutrients through the digestive tract.

It’s these five elements that combine in different ways to form the three constitutions or doshas. Your Prakriti is the constitution you were born with. And the right lifestyle for you, will depend on this. See? Tailor-made, no cookie cutter approach here.

image via heymonicab.com

Vata – Space & Air                Pitta – Fire & Water              Kapha – Earth & Water

The following information is taken from this eBook put together by the team at Banyan Botanicals.

Vata Characteristics

A vata predominant person usually displays the following traits.

Physique: A light, trim build, often delicate in nature. The features (facial features, limbs, fingers, etc.) are long, slim, or narrow, and the hair is thin, wiry, or curly.

Digestion: The appetite and digestion are often variable, going up and down, yet often lean towards “eating like a bird” and constipation.

Personality: A vata person tends to be creative, be able to “go with the flow” and think abstractly, and often has rapid speech with a thin, raspy, high-pitched, or crackly voice.

Vata predominant people are also prone to fear and anxiety, and have trouble focusing on one thing at a time.

Pitta Characteristics

A pitta predominant person displays the following traits.

Physique: A medium build, with average height and weight. The physical features can be sharp and fiery (red hair, for example), precise and well-defined.

Digestion: A pitta predominant person usually has a ferocious appetite, strong metabolism, and may “roar” when hungry.

Personality: A pitta nature makes one passionate, an initiator, directed, and focused. A sharp, probing intellect and the ability to focus intently can lead such people to doggedly investigate and get to the core of a matter. This same fire can also make a pitta primary person easily irritable, fussy, angry, judgmental, and critical.

Kapha Characteristics

A kapha predominant person usually displays the following traits.

Physique: A large, stout frame is a general kapha characeristic. The features are rounder, larger, thicker, and often smoother than those with vata or pitta predominance.

Digestion: The appetite is consistent and regulated. The metabolism tends to be slow,  and kapha dominant people may accumulate weight more readily and have more difficulty losing it. As the digestion can be sluggish, the person may feel sleepy or tired after eating.

Personality: A kapha person may be described as “down to earth” or “solid as a rock” (notice the reference to earthy qualities); there is a tendency toward being grounded, stable, patient, compassionate, and nurturing. Once a kapha grabs ahold of something, he or she holds on tight—this frequently means a person with a good memory and/or firm beliefs. These same qualities also make kapha folk prone to inflexibility, possessiveness, hesitancy toward change, jealousy, and inertia.

This information is taken directly from and all credit needs to be give to www.banyanbotancials.com I believe that their dosha quiz is the most comprehensive and you can take that quiz here. 

When your dosha/s are imbalanced (Vakriti) all sorts of health problems will pop up. Everything from skin flare ups and indigestion to more inflammatory ailments and serious illnesses. If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to either see an Ayurvedic practitioner or at the very least, take the quiz! If you’re looking for an easy-to-read (and entertaining!) book that will give you all the know-how to start your journey,  you can’t go past this goddess, Sahara Rose (I mean come on, that name!)

Please let me know if you start on this journey along with me!

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