Friday, May 20, 2011

What's your ayurvedic body type?

Ayurveda is a 4000-year old Indian philosophy of healing and wellbeing. Translated literally, it means the ‘art of living wisely’ (or science of life) – it is a system which encourages balance in all areas of life, with the ultimate goal of improving health through lifestyle choices suited to one’s constitution, such as diet, daily routine, sleep, exercise, herbal remedies, massage and meditation.

According to the UK-based ayurvedic brand Pukka Herbs: “The wisdom of Ayurveda encourages us to take responsibility for our own health according to the different stages of our lives, the seasons, and the environment we live, work and play in. These factors all have a big impact on our health and it makes sense to adapt our lifestyle accordingly so we can continue to live in harmony with our body and stay at optimum health.”

The three doshas
There are three doshas – or mind-body types – according to the ayurvedic philosophy: vata, pitta and kapha. Each dosha is associated with particular attributes, predispositions and health priorities.  Most people are a combination of doshas, with one dominant type. When a dosha becomes out of balance, it can have a serious impact on our wellbeing – the goal of ayurveda is to restore balance and vitality.

Vata types tend to be fast-thinking, visionary and creative but when out of balance they can be forgetful, distracted, nervous and uptight. Vata types are prone to digestive problems (particularly bloating and IBS), anxiety or mood imbalances, and joint disorders. They are aggravated by cold, frozen or dried foods. They can be thrown by change or travel – rest and routine are a vata type’s best friend.

Pitta types are confident, passionate and born leaders. They are organised, perfectionists but excess pitta can make them fiery, short-tempered and irritable. Pitta people have a tendency to suffer from skin irritations, inflammation, overheating, heartburn and ulcers. They should avoid excess heat and humidity, and should steer clear of fried, hot or spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol. Fresh air is a great pitta remedy!

Kapha types tend to be loyal, calm, strong and nurturing but if imbalanced they are prone to fatigue, low energy and overindulgence.  Kapha types may suffer from congestion, water retention, weight gain and slow digestion. Their best medicine is to remain physically active, avoid icy drinks, excess sugar, bread or fatty foods. They need to break their routine every now and then – excitement and variety keep them energised!

Take this quiz to find out what your dosha is.

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