The Basics of Ayurveda

June 8th, 2017

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Ayurveda is the ancient science of Indian medicine. It seeks to bring longevity and a greater quality of life by delving into health and healing. Ayurveda determines the wholesomeness of one’s life by examining the harmony in which one lives with themselves and their surroundings. Any ailments on the physical plane is said to be rooted on the level of the mind, thus a healthy body starts with a happy mind.

 

Ayurveda classifies each body according 3 categories (doshas), our bodies will have characteristics that are predominant in at least one of these doshas. The aim here is to know our bodies better and thus know what to avoid and how to nurture it. If we are out of balance, there is too much of one element dominating leading to poor health. The focus is to bring everything into balance, in a holistic fashion.

 

Vata

This is the first dosha, it relates to the elements of space and air. Its physical qualities are dry, cold, light and irregular. People who are vata tend to be light sleepers and generally quite jittery, there is a lot of mental chatter and they tend to be very talkative as well. They are highly enthusiastic, energetic and creative although their fervent nature can cause high levels of stress, anxieties and fears.

 

Pitta

The second dosha relates to the elements of fire and water. Its physical qualities are oily, hot, intense and regular. People who are pitta tend to be highly studios; they are analytical and highly critical thinkers. They are very discerning and intellectually sharp however due to the fire element they have a fierce temper and can become judgemental and quickly irritated.

 

Kapha

The third dosha relates to the elements of water and earth. Its physical qualities are heavy, oily, cold and smooth. People who are kapha tend to be slow and weighty; they are grounded and stable in their beliefs. They have great mental endurance and are self-determined. They are extremely compassionate and get easily attached giving rise to possessiveness as well.

 

If you feel you don’t fit completely in one of these catagories, there are dosha combinations where individuals sit on the cusp between two of the three doshas. Through the doshas we can identify the qualities we must consciously develop to keep us balanced. For example, vata personalities need grounding as they get quite nervous, pitta personalities need calming qualities as they get quite aggressive and kapha personalities need activity as they get quite lethargic.

 

Once you catagozise yourself you can see your tendancies and since yoga is all about balance we should strive to immerse ourselves in activities that are not our natural prefrences to act as a counder to our tendancies. For example Vata dosha likes fast paced classes but would benefit from a yin yoga practice, Pitta dosha prefers strong practive like Ashtanga but would be better off with Hatha yoga, Kapha dosha likes slow gentle classes but a challenging vinyasa yoga practice would keep them more dynamic. At Inspire Yoga our teachers are trained to characterize your dosha and ensure your classes are structured to optimize your physical, mental and emotional capacities.

 

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