Ayurvedic Body Types

Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient form of Indian medicine that literally means “life knowledge.” Ayurvedic medicine focuses on the three elemental substances that form our life force within our body. When the body is in balance it will be healthy; when the body is not balanced, certain symptoms will appear. The three ayurvedic body types, or doshas, determine how we should eat and which types of exercise will be most beneficial. Let’s see which dosha is yours. You may have qualities from all three categories, but the one that you favor the most is your primary dosha. You will also notice some similarities to Annemarie Colbin’s Five Phases, which includes the same elements.

Vata – Vata’s element is air. Most vata body types have thin, delicate bone structure, low body fat, and have difficulty gaining weight. Vatas are sensitive, spiritual, always running late, fidgety, may forget to eat, their daily routine often feels overwhelming. They may be flighty, have memory problems, and are easily confused. They may also suffer from baldness. When vatas are in balance they are sharp, quick thinking, creative, fast talking, abstract. Vatas may also enjoy the arts, writing, poetry, and music. Signs of imbalance include gas, bloating, unfocused, spacey, dry skin, hair and nails, coldness and chills, nervousness, sleeplessness, worry, and cavities. The vata needs to nourish his or her nervous system, bones, and colon. They should avoid eating low-fat diets, raw and cold foods, and need very careful planning if vegetarian or vegan to stay grounded and focused. Vatas should eat more lubricating, grounding, heavier foods to calm down, use good quality oils and fats, and eat warming foods to prevent coldness. They may find creamy soups, light protein like fish and eggs, mashed sweet potatoes, root vegetables, heavy grains, and regular balanced meals beneficial. Vatas should practice weightlifting, yoga and pilates for exercise.

Pitta – The Pitta’s elements are water and fire. They have a medium body frame, well-proportioned, tend to be muscular, and are easily overheated. They have type A personalities, are compelled to accomplish things, are focused, organized, never miss meals, and can become very upset if they skip a meal. Pittas tend to be workaholics, and don’t do well in hot, humid climates. They can be sassy, and create problems that don’t exist when they are feeling too balanced. They need to eat often. A balanced Pitta is productive and can get the job done. They are organized and are able to work until they drop. They have a lot of energy, are enthusiastic, and are quick and sharper than a Vata. An unbalanced Pitta, though, is easily agitated, irritable, overly competitive. They tend to have other heat associated conditions, diarrhea, skin rashes, burning eyes, increased appetite and overwork. The Pitta should pay special attention to the liver, gallbladder, spleen, small intestine, blood and eyes. They should reduce excessive spices, which can cause overheating, and red meat. They need to increase sweet and bitter foods, cooling and astringent foods, sweet spices like cardamim and fennel, and protien in their diets. Pittas may find peppermint tea, fresh lime, light protiens like chicken and fish, leafy greens, sweet vegetables beneficial in the diet, and should practice calming and relaxing physical exercise like pilates. Pittas need gentle relationships.

Kapha – The elements of Kapha are earth and water. Kaphas have a larger body type, not necessarily overwight, but gains weight easily, holds fat and water, and are powerful athletes when in shape. They tend to be grounded, stable, solid, clear about the ways of the world, sensual, have a strong sexuality, and sense of physicality. They have a steady appetitie, but not like the Pitta. Kaphas can miss a meal; they have slower metabolism, and don’t like to exercise as much. They are slower moving and tend to try to lighten up both physically and emotionally. In balance, a Kapha is reliabel, dependable, calm, peace loving, even tempered, loving and affectionate. Out of balance they hold onto emotions, are lethargic, sleep too much, suffer depression, lack enthusiasm, feel dull and sluggish, are overweight and are often congested. Kaphas need to nourish their lungs, stomach, body fat, and lymphatic system. Kaphas should reduce high-fat foods, heavy, fatty proteins, dairy, gluten-based grains, red meats and starchy vegetables. They need to increase drying and heating foods, pungent spices for their thermogenic properties, lighter grains, ligh proteins, and vegetables. Kaphas will benefit from beans, quinoa, spinach, dandelion, slads, cayenne, pepper, ginger. They need to practice self-acceptance and body-image affirmations and will do best with cardivascular exercises.

After reading this, I think that I am mostly a Vata. I do have some of the other qualities, but the Vata is definitely my dominant dosha. What Ayurvedic body type are you? I’d love to hear from you. Leave your comments below…

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