Keywords: Dosha, Vata, Pitta, Kapha
This is a compilation of FAQ’s for the THREE Ayurveda Doshas that make up our body.
Ayurveda, says Varsha Khatri that “a healthy diet is useless unless you also have a healthy well-functioning digestion.”
Dosha refers to a bodily humor (or bio-energy center) in Ayurveda medicine. The term comes from the Sanskrit dosa, meaning “fault” or “disease.”
There are three types of doshas in Ayurveda: vata, pitta and kapha. According to Ayurveda, the five elements that are found in all living things—ether, air, fire, water, and earth—are the building blocks of life. The proportion of each element in our bodies, determines our dosha type.
Dosha energies are believed to circulate in the body and govern physical, mental and emotional characteristics. Each person has a dominant dosha or combination of doshas. Ayurveda health systems and medicine systems are based on balancing the three doshas.
The 3 Doshas
- The fragile Vata (predominant elements air and ether)can never seem to get warm and rest enough. She is snacking most of the day. She’s talkative and repetitive but can discuss a number of knowledgeable subjects.
- The fiery and intense Pitta (predominant elements fire) type may enjoy the occasional power trip. She devours food ravenously and lives from one meal to the next.
- The contented Kapha types ( predominant elements earth and water) have an appreciation of art, culture, dance, and music. Kapha’s have an innate sense of taste and smell, and love to eat. She is well grounded, caring, loving and motherly.
Doshas play a dynamic role and maybe ever changing depending on the environment, weather, atmosphere, circumstances and stress levels. Your intentions are manifestations of your dosha. Some day you want to indulge your self in spicy foods and other days in desserts and sweetmeats. Similarly, your sleep patterns and social interactions may differ due to the atmosphere around you. Mood swings are an innate part of your tendencies – good or bad.
Q 1.What does Ayurveda mean?
A. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word meaning life and longevity.
Q 2. Does Ayurveda really work?
A. Ayurveda is a healthy lifestyle that promotes a vegetarian diet and relaxation. The foundation of Ayurveda lies in Herbal Cures similar to traditional Chinese medicine. Some of the herbs are being studied by Indian and Western scientists and turned into medicines.
Q 3. Is green tea an Ayurveda?
A. Green tea is bitter and astringent in taste. It’s also plant food. Therefore, you may call it Ayurvedic.It reduces Pitta and Kapha dosha and increases Vata dosha. To get the most from green tea, the best way is to drink it on empty stomach. Taking food at the same time or immediately before or after food inhibits the absorption of EGCG. On the other hand, green tea may inhibit the absorption of iron.
Q 4.What should I eat at night according to Ayurveda?
A. You should add pulses, lentils, green leafy vegetables and curry leaves to your evening meal. It is good if you consume proteins and less carbs at night to keep your digestive system working like a well oiled machine.
Q 5. What are Ayurveda detox teas?
A. A drink of fresh turmeric, ginger and whole spices helps the liver to flush out toxins and restore balance in the body. It is healing and restorative.
Q 6. What is my Body Type?
A. Vata is predominance of air and space (ether) which is the energy movement. Pitta consists of elements of fire and water. The Kapha is dominant in water and earth-the dosha of structure and lubrication. Kapha’s have good digestion and metabolism.
Q.1. Is Turmeric good for Vata?
A. Turmeric can be used by all doshas. Turmeric is pungent, bitter, astringent, and healing and has a pungent vikapa. It may stimulate vata, but doesn’t aggravate it (but too much may cause an imbalance). Turmeric helps digestion, maintains the flora of the intestine, reduces gas, has tonic properties and is an antibiotic.
Q 2. What should a Vata avoid?
A. Cold foods such as salads, iced drinks, raw vegetables and greens are not considered good for Vata with an imbalance (where vata is dominant). Avoid drinks with too much caffeine and candies as they disturb vata dosha. Avoid un-ripe foods as they are too astringent.
Q 3. How can I reduce my Vata immediately?
1.Go to bed before 10PM
2.Maintain a regular daily routine
3.Follow a vata-pacifying diet.
4.Have some boiled milk with cardamom before bed with tablets for digestion or organic Triphla.
5. Practice Transcendental Meditation
Q 4. What are 3 foods that Vata should never take?
A. Tomatoes, Extra Turmeric and Watermelon.
Q 5. Is ghee (liquefied butter) good for vata?
A.The oily nature of ghee (liquefied butter) helps ensuring Vata move in a downward motion as it is supposed to. The properties of ghee keep your digestive tract lubricated, alleviate hardness of bowels and reduce flatulence and bloating – all these are symptoms of aggravated vata
Q 6. Is ginger good for Vata?
A. Ginger is good for Vata dosha. It is most beneficial for the vata digestive issues like bloating and constipation. It is a better flavor than most Ayurveda herbs and posses higher levels of anti-inflammatory properties. Having said that, dried ginger is also effective.
Q7. Is honey good for Vata dosha?
A. Arghya honey is beneficial for eyes, and eliminates vitiated Kapha and Pitta dosha. Kashaya (astringent in taste), Katy Vipaka (pungent after digestion), Balya (strengthening) and does not aggravate Vata.
Q 8. What is Vata Body type?
A. Vata type have mainly air and ether elements in their physical, mental and emotional bodies. A vata body is irregular- sometimes thin, long bones, or may be pear shaped figure. Vata types mostly have difficulty in gaining weight.
Q 9. Can vata be overweight?
A. Mostly vata are underweight and not overweight. Vata cannot absorb nutrients properly. Having said that, they can become overweight when and if imbalanced and they start eating sweet, oily foods in order to calm their vata imbalance.
Q 10. Which Yoga is best for Vata dosha?
A. Generally speaking all yoga asanas are good for balancing vata, as most asanas are calming to the mind. There are some that are particularly good and some that must be avoided. Uttanasana (Standing forward bend) is an exceptionally good asana for vatas. Standing with your feet, shoulder-width apart.
Q 1. Is tea bad for Pitta
A. Most people can enjoy a cup of Pitta tea occasionally.
Q 2. Is lemon Juice good for Pitta Dosha?
A. No, sour things tend to increase the Pitta fire.
Q 3. What should you eat to reduce Pitta?
A. You should try to have three good meals a day. Try sweet, bitter and astringent. Tastes that are cooling and refreshing. Examples are: fresh fruits, vegetables, rice, quinoa, spelt, barley, oats, milk, butter, ghee. Foods rich in bitter taste include green leafy vegetables, rhubarb and rocket.
Q 4. Which juice is good for Pitta?
A. Pitta people are prone to inflammation, skin irritation and high acidity, cooling green juices suit pittas – like Kale juice or Bok choi are better greens than broccoli and spinach. Mint and aloe vera are also cooling in nature.
Q.5 Is turmeric good for Pitta Dosha?
A. Drinking turmeric milk will balance Pitta and help you to reduce acid level in the stomach. It also promotes quick healing of ulcers, due its healing (Ropan) properties.
Q.6. How Can I rid of Pitta?
A. Balancing Excess Pitta
- Taste: Bitter, sweet, and astringent tastes calm Pitta. Therefore, eat more foods like apples, grapes, zucchini, lettuce, cucumbers, Cilantro, and fresh organic dairy.
- Eliminate or reduce alcohol; red meat, fried, oily, spicy and sour foods.
- Touch: wear breathable natural fibers like cotton, and linen.
Q 7. Is Green Tea good for Pitta Dosha?
A. Yes, you can have green tea. As Pittas are hot by nature, representing the fire element, the teas best suited are those with cooling qualities- sweet or bitter in taste. Another tea that helps to balance Pitta is Chamomile tea. Chamomile tea is great for relaxing the mind and body.
Tulsi (Holy Basil) tea is a good beverage for Pittas from September through to June (cold or cool weather). Tulsi provides the much needed astringent taste and is excellent adaptogen, helping reduce stress levels. Tulsi tea is ideal for vata and kapha doshas.
Q 8. Does pitta cause headache?
A. A Pitta headache starts in temples and spreads to the central part of your head. They are known for their shooting, burning and piercing pain with little nausea and often made worse by bright light, heat or by eating sour or spicy foods. Migraines are associated with this dosha.
Q 9. Is Aloe Vera good for Pitta dosha?
A. Cooling, cleansing and anti-inflammatory herbs are beneficial to Pitta dosha. Pukka Aloe Vera juice and juicy wheatgrass get to the root of deep-seated heat and inflammation in the body and can be incredibly supportive to the fiery pitta person.
Q 10. Does Amla (Indian Gooseberry) reduce Pitta?
A. The cooling and soothing effect of Amla reduces the Pitta dosha and the rough or sharp nature mitigates the Kapha dosha in the body. The sourness of Amla reduces the excess of vata dosha. Amla is digestible, diuretic and natural blood purifier which aids in skin rejuvenation and proper digestion.
Q 1. What foods should Kapha avoid?
A. Foods to Balance Kapha dosha:
- Stay away from foods that Increase Kapha- foods that are sour, salty, sweet, oily or very high in protein
- Fruits: pineapple, bananas, dates, generally very sweet and sour fruits should be avoided.
- Vegetables: sweet juicy varieties of vegetable, cucumbers, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, courgettes
Q 2. Is milk good for Kapha?
A. Consumption of cold milk strengthens Kapha dosha, and this can lead to accumulation of mucus, Therefore, the 5000 year ancient Indian medicine recommends, warm milk taken in small sips, without sweeteners or with cane sugar for Kaphas.
Q 3. How do Kapha body type lose weight?
A. Ideally Kapha diet should include foods that are warm, dry, rough, light and digestible. Try to choose freshly prepared home made food, and not frozen, stale or cold food. Take out time from your busy schedule and exercise to increase your metabolic rate, and efficient fart-burning. Try and engage in Yoga.
Q 4. What should Vata Kapha eat?
A. Vata - Warm moist and soft foods like berries, bananas, peaches, cooked veges, oats, brown rice, lean meat, eggs and dairy.
Kapha- Spicy, acidic and filling foods (example: most fruits and vegetables, whole grains, eggs, low fat cheese, unprocessed meats and hot spices.
Q 5. What is Kapha body type?
A. The earth and water elements meet in Kapha body type. Kapha unites properties such as heavy, slow, steady but also soft, dense, tough and cold in the body. Kapha is responsible for solidity and the right amount of body fluids.
Q 6. What happens when Kapha is out of balance?
A. When out of balance, Kapha can get very lethargic, extremely possessive and depressed. Kapha are particularly sensitive to cold and damp conditions and they benefit from heat. Use dry heat if you feel congested.
Q7. How is Kapha dosha treated?
A. Light, warm dry foods reduce Kapha. Use minimal amounts of fat and oil, Abhyanga (basic Ayurveda massage) is best for Kapha. Sesames, mustard and corn oil are also good for Kapha.
Q 8. What are Kapha diseases?
A. Diseases occurring because of the ‘watery’ kapha are related to increased fluid in the organism, localized in the mouth and tongue, nose, respiratory system, stomach, spleen around the heart and where there is a protective sack, nails and hair. Typically, Kapha is also prone to runny nose, Bronchitis and Sinusitis.
Q 9. What is Kapha personality?
A. Kaphas are akin to mother earth- patient, caring stable and supportive of family and loved ones. Kapha body types have an appreciation of art, culture, dance, and music. Kaphas have an innate sense of taste and smell, and love to eat.
Q 10. Is honey good for Kapha?
A. According Ayurveda, honey is the best medicine for Kapha dosha. Honey helps to balance the vata and pitta in Kapha and keeps it under control. It is likely to overheat high Pitta if too much honey is taken. The energy in honey is unique because it has both Soma (lunar energy) and Agni (fiery solar energy).
***Compiled from a variety of Online sources on Ayurveda doshas.