Ayurveda: your individual body type
Discover your natural constitution
Ayurveda is a holistic approach to health, as old as life itself. Everything we do is Ayurvedic - if it is cold, we want to get warm, if our mouth is dry, we want to drink, we go for a swim then we want to get dry. The demands and pace of modern life mean that we can get out of touch with the basic principles of balance and we may benefit from guidance back to our natural state of health and happiness.
Air and space
Fire and water
Water and earth
Space, air, fire, water and earth
An Ayurvedic consultation
The fist step in Ayurvedic consultation is to identify your original body type (prakriti dosha) as either Vata (space and air), Pitta (fire and water), Kapha (water and earth) or Tri-doshic (all 5 elements in equal balance). This can be done through observation of your physical attributes, questions about your interests, tongue analysis and pulse diagnosis.
Next we will identify what your current dominant dosha is ie how the elements are manifesting in you now. For example, fire may feature strongly in your original body type giving you a predisposition for good muscle tone, a rosy complexion and shiny hair. If your fire increases too much then you may experience acne, heartburn or inflammatory conditions. If your current status matches with your original body type and there is no imbalance you will receive guidelines for the prevention of disease and maintenance of health. If you have an imbalance then recommendations will be made to address the imbalance and return you to your original constitution which will give you optimum physical health, good mental health and positive ageing.
Ayurvedic treatments are of two types:
Drayva chikitsa - changes to daily routine, behaviour, activities
Bhava chikitsa - using foods, herbs, oils
You may receive recommendations about:
- yoga (movement, breathing, meditation etc)
Main principles of Ayurveda
The system of Ayurveda, comprising of 8 subjects including surgery, immunisations, psychiatry and anti-ageing, was written down in India 3-4000 years ago. The evidence for Ayurveda surrounds us in nature, the cycles of the seasons, day and night, growth and decay, weather systems and agriculture. Preserved in writing by people who had studied the science of life ('Ayu- life, veda- science') this method is used to treat a wide range of diseases of the body and mind as well as preventing the onset of disease by addressing imbalances in the early stages.
Ayurveda is based on the principle of the five great elements, describing everything in the known universe as being composed of different quantities of space, air, fire, water and earth. These elements combine together in each individual person to give us our original body type, or constitution. This is known as your dosha prakriti. When a person is healthy and content their doshas are balanced which means they have the correct proportion of all five elements for their nature. Someone might by nature have a lot of fire, be driven, passionate, motivated and intelligent, but if their fire becomes excessive it may lead to impatience, aggression, ulcers or other heat-related conditions. This imbalance is called your vikriti dosha.
Causes of disease
Disease can be caused by excess use / reduced use / faulty use of:
4. five sensory functions
5. or the effect of weather / seasons
Analysis of health
Ayurveda assesses health (swastha) in 7 ways
1. balanced doshas ie the current constitution and original constitution match (sama-dosha)
2. the digestive fire is balanced (sama-agni)
3. healthy tissues eg plasma has the right amount of fluid, no retention or dehydration (sama-dhatu)
4. the waste systems are functioning well - sweat, urine, stools (sama-mala)
5. the 5 sensory functions are satisfied (prasana indriya)
6. satisfied mind (prasana manas)
7. the soul (prasana atma)