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Doshas

"But the real secret to lifelong good health is actually the opposite: Let your body take care of you."

Deepak Chopra

Get Started By Understanding Your Constitution

You have to start from where you are. This means that your first step to becoming healthy is to understand your constitution of body type. When you do you can start to introduce changes that you know will help you. Take this great quiz to learn more about how to support your health.

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There are 3 bioenergies in Ayurveda:

  • Vata representing movement
  • Pitta representing digestion
  • Kapha representing tissue and physical structure.

These bioenergies are in each of us but in different combinations which is why we are all alike and different at the same time. Ayurveda supports the best expression of your unique system which is one reason why it is so valuable for sensitive people. The details of each dosha are outlined below.

Vata Dosha

Vata dosha is an important dosha or bioenergy for sensitive people because the Vata dosha can be easily destabilized by stress and overwhelm causing other systems of the body to go out of balance. Vata represents movement and its subdoshas govern movement for various aspects of the body including the nervous system.

Each of the doshas has a primary vital function that serves the entire human system and each dosha also has five subdoshas that reflect the role of the dosha for various parts of the body and spirit. It is important to note that health and spirit are not separate; they are interdependent. A person in a spirit damaging situation over a period of time will suffer health effects. A person who has ill will have difficulty maintaining a healthy life-affirming spirit. Healing one heals the other.

The Importance of the Vata Dosha

We all have had the feeling of being in the zone. We know when we feel in balance when we feel clear-headed and are able to act in a way that is consistent with the highest good for ourselves and each other. That is the feeling of vata in balance. When vata is out of balance we can feel frenetic, anxious, worried and unable to resolve the discomfort that we feel. We find our actions or the lack of them tied to external forces rather than the natural good of ourselves. Because our center of gravity has shifted, we have become decentered. Vata in balance, is the feeling of being centered.

For sensitive people, staying centered is a huge challenge and requires sustained health and stress management practices that will support one's highest and healthiest daily functioning. Feeling decentered is an important clue for an HSP, signaling imbalance and the potential for additional health problems in the future.

Everywhere you look your body is doing something unique with every molecule of air, water and food you take in, guided by its innate tendencies. You have the choice to follow these tendencies or modify them, but to recklessly oppose them is unnatural. In Ayurveda, living in tune with nature-easily, comfortably and without strain-means respecting your uniqueness.

Deepak Chopra, MD, Perfect Health, p. 32.

Vata Dosha: Vata Subdoshas and Their Importance

Vata has five subdoshas. They are:

  • Prana Vata: You have probably heard the word prana at some point. It is the sanskrit word for vital life, and refers to our vital life force. This Vata subdosha is located in the head and chest and governs perception, thinking, and the senses – all of the facilities we use to manage our lives.
  • Udana Vata: Udana is a sanskrit word for upbreath, and it is located in the throat and chest. It is a communication path between the body and the head. It regulates speech including self-expression.
  • Samana Vata: Samana vata is located in the stomach and intestines. It does not regulate digestion, a pitta function, however, it has the vital function of regulating the movement of food, peristalsis. If food moves too quickly or too slowly through the digestive tract then imbalances will occur.
  • Apana Vata: Located in the lower intestines and colon, this subdosha governs elimination, sexual function, and menstruation.
  • Vyana Vata: An important subdosha for HSPs, Vyana Vata is located in the skin, circulatory system, and nervous system. It governs touch, circulation and the nervous system, which reflects how stress touches us. Many stress and circulatory disorders including heart disease are represented by this subdosha.

The Predominantly Vata Dosha Person

The Vata dosha characteristics are cold, dryness, movement, and roughness. The Vata person has certain readily visible characteristics, most noticeably a thin, lanky build with a tendency to rarely gain weight. Vata individuals also have prominent joints, dry, rough skin, dry often light-colored hair and fine features. They dislike cold, dry and windy weather. A Vata because of their moveable nature, can have difficulty keeping a fixed schedule including eating which creates a constant state of disruption in their system. They have poor digestion and have a tendency to be constipated.

All doshas are balanced by their opposites. To stay in balance a Vata person needs to practice a schedule that provides some security for their system. Because a Vata person will tend to be hyperactive and restless, they need to maintain a healthy, balancing schedule to support their resilience and minimize disorders created by excessive, frenetic activity, including anxiety, stress disorders, and insomnia.

When in balance, a Vata person is enthusiastic, cheerful and full of life.

Pitta Dosha

Pitta dosha is an important dosha or bioenergy for sensitive people to learn about and understand because it relates to digestion of food as well as emotions and experiences.  Since sensitive people become easily overloaded, they can have trouble digesting all that they take in.  Managing Vata to calm the nervous system and Pitta to improve digestion can help sensitive people achieve a more stable quality of life.

Each of the doshas has a primary vital function that serves the entire human system and each dosha also has five subdoshas that reflect the role of the dosha for various parts of the body and spirit. It is important to note that health and spirit are not separate; they are interdependent. A person in a spirit damaging situation over a period of time will suffer health effects. A person who has ill will have difficulty maintaining a healthy life-affirming spirit.  Healing one heals the other.

The Importance of the Pitta Dosha

Pitta dosha is the dosha representing digestion. Digestion, the process of breaking down food to be assimilated into the body, is a process that uses both heat and moisture. Pitta is a hot dosha reflecting that to support digestion. Pitta is also associated with sharpness, which includes a sharp mind, and eyesight. Because Pitta is considered both hot and moist it is balanced by coolness and dryness.

For highly sensitive people, the Pitta dosha is extremely important. Stress can throw digestion off, and result in imbalances not only to Vata dosha but also imbalance Pitta dosha as well.  The result is a double whammy of imbalances.

Pitta also controls emotional disturbances which sensitive people are susceptible to because of their sensitivity and compassionate natures.

Pitta Dosha: Pitta Subdoshas and Their Importance

Pitta has five subdoshas. They are:

  • Pachaka Pitta. Pachaka Pitta is located in the stomach and small intestines. It regulated the speed and intensity of digestion which assures an efficient metabolism. It also regulates the separation of nutrients and wastes.
  • Ranjaka Pitta. Ranjaka Pitta is located in the liver, spleen and red blood cells. It is the subdosha that regulates blood chemistry and the creation of red blood cells. Because of its role with blood, it is also involved in the movement of nutrients throughout the system, which is a blood function.
  • Sadhaka Pitta. Sadhaka Pitta is located in the heart. It governs emotional balance and the digestion of thoughts. It affects memory, intelligence, creativity and the ability to pursue goals.
  • Alochaka Pitta. Alochaka Pitta is located in the eyes and governs vision and the digestion of what we see, meaning our contentment
  • Bhrajaka Pitta. Bhrajaka Pitta is located in the skin, the organ of the body which most interacts with the exterior world. It regulates all the biochemical processes of the skin and displays our sensitivity to the world, including rashes, sunburn, and blushing.

As a science of self-healing, Ayurveda encompasses diet and nutrition, lifestyle, exercise, rest and relaxation, meditation, breathing exercises, and medicinal herbs, along with cleansing and rejuvenation programs for healing mind, body and spirit.

Vasant Lad, BAMS, MASc The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies, p.1

The Predominantly Pitta Dosha Person

People with a predominant Pitta dosha are competitive, ambitious, focused, organized and efficient. They tend to have a medium build and are fairly muscular. They can be good athletes, although they do not thrive in hot and humid weather since anything hot is inflaming for the Pitta person and they perspire easily.

Pittas often have ruddy complexions, and hair that balds or turns gray early. They are susceptible to sunburn and rashes and irritations of the skin.  They have strong digestions. Spicy food does not agree with pitta people; they are more likely to seek out ice cream for cooling.

When in balance, the Pitta person pursues goals in a natural way.  When out of balance, the same person will become impatient, stubborn, and angry.  Pittas have sharp minds and may not always be tolerant of people who have a different point of view; however, cultivating alternative points of view can be enriching for a Pitta person.

Kapha Dosha

Kapha dosha at its best is relaxed and as a result is an important dosha or bioenergy for sensitive people to cultivate and balance to support and stabilize the sensitive systems.

Each of the doshas has a primary vital function that serves the entire human system and each dosha also has five subdoshas that reflect the role of the dosha for various parts of the body and spirit. It is important to note that health and spirit are not separate; they are interdependent. A person in a spirit damaging situation over a period of time will suffer health effects. A person who has ill will have difficulty maintaining a healthy life-affirming spirit. Healing one heals the other.

The Importance of Kapha Dosha

Kapha dosha is all about the structure and tissues of the body. It has a steady, relaxed quality and is the least flappable of the doshas. Kapha is oriented toward stability. Vata and Kapha have opposite attitudes about activity: Vata is excitable and Kapha takes most things in stride. Kapha is a slow dosha which means that it is slow to process information and make decisions. Many sensitive people are also slower in their approach to information because they develop the habit of conscientiousness to offset the overstimulation and overload that they are subject to. A slower conscientious approach is very Kapha. Sensitive people can cultivate the steady, inner security of Kapha to make life including relationships work for them.

Ayurveda understands life to require four requisite dimensions that occur together in space and time: physical body, mind, five senses and consciousness.

Scott Gerson, MD, The Ayurvedic Guide to Diet and Weight Loss, p. 15

Kapha Dosha: Kapha Subdoshas and Their Importance

Kapha Dosha has five subdoshas. They are:

  • Kledaka Kapha. Kledaka Kapha is located in the stomach. Kapha is a moist dosha and structural, and its role here is to keep the lining of the stomach moist.
  • Avalambaka Kapha. Avalambaka Kapha is located in the heart, chest and lower back. This subdosha is responsible for strength. It is commonly referred to as the core, as in strengthening one’s core.
  • Bhodaka Kapha. Bhodaka Kapha is located in the tongue and governs salivation and taste. Taste is an important consideration in Ayurveda for determining foods that are supportive of one’s physiological balance. This subdosha governs the ability to distinguish the Ayurvedic tastes.
  • Tarpaka Kapha. Tarpaka Kapha is located in the brain and spinal column. Its function is related to the creation and protection of the brain and nervous system. As a result, it promotes healthy mental and nerve function, important for sensitive people.
  • Shleshaka Kapha. Shleshaka Kapha is located in the joints and is responsible for lubricating the joints.

The Predominantly Kapha Dosha Person

People with a predominant Kapha dosha tend to be heavy set and are very strong physically. Contrary to popular myth, Kapha people are often very healthy and can handle a substantial amount of physical labor. Of all the doshas they can handle the most physical exertion. Kaphas benefit from strong physical work because it keeps them from a sluggish, sedentary way of life which can lead to obesity.

Kapha dosha is the dosha where some intractable problems can occur. It is the dosha of obesity as well as deep depression, both illnesses that can occur in anyone including sensitive people. Kapha is a moist dosha and as a result often suffers from congestion and respiratory diseases when out of balance. It is the dosha of diabetes as well.

Kapha has some important contributions to make to the health of sensitive people. It is worth protecting and enhancing this important dosha to create a more stable and satisfying life for highly sensitive people.

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Vata Balancing Bundle

If you have Vata dosha, this group of products will help you balance your Vata system. The video to the right will explain more.

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If you have Kapha dosha, this group of products will help you balance your Kapha system. The video to the right will explain more.

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