Human Body; Do you hold enough knowledge about it?
In Biology, you learnt about the structure and function of the human body. Types of organs, no. of bones, the function of the body system, the process of the human body, and much more. Whatever you learn is absolutely true but there is something else which Ayurveda tells.
As per the Ayurveda, our body is composed of five basic elements; Prithvi (Earth), Vayu (Air), Jal (Water), Agni (Fire) and Aakash (Space). These can also be termed as the building blocks of nature. These five elements remain in balance in varying degrees. The balance of 5 body elements is known as Dosha.
The human body has three Doshas namely, Vata, Pitta and Kapha. It is necessary to keep them in balance for a healthy and disease-free life. If any one of the Doshas is imbalanced then one may suffer a certain ailment or illness.
How to know about specific Doshas?
On the basis of the ages of Ayurvedic practice, the dosha is determined. It is based on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual characteristics. Here is the overview of each dosha.
Meaning: Moving like the wind
Active Element: Air
Regulatory Element: Space (or Ether)
Represented by Season: Autumn
Functions: Manages Nervous System; Controls Breathing, Blinking, Heart Beating and Blood Circulation.
Of all the Ayurvedic principles of the human body, Vata is considered the supreme. It manages all the physical and mental functions. The people with Vata's Dominant personality are good in some ways but they hold many weaknesses.
Strength: Creative, Energetic, Learn Quickly, Multitasker, Flexible
Weakness: Anxious, Dry Skin, Mood Swings, Low Memory Power, Cold Sensitive, Irregular Appetite, Gastric Issues, Insomnia, Easily Distracted
The Five Subdoshas of Vata
Prana Vayu (Forward moving air)
Prana Vayu is located in the nervous system, mainly in the head or brain. It functions mainly in the cerebrum administrating various functions of the body including sensory perception, thoughts, inhaling, swallowing, and sneezing. Prana Vayu fills positivity in life and lets us connect with our inner selves. The practice of Brahmari Pranayama and Nadi Shodhana is the best to regulate Prana Vayu. Taking Brahmi Kola and Tulsi is also good for Prana Vayu.
Apana Vayu (Air that moves away)
Situated on the pelvic floor, the energy spread through the lower abdomen. Apana Vayu is responsible for digestion, elimination, urination, and reproduction. It controls all the forms of Vata as the colon is the primary seat of Vata. The imbalance of Apana Vayu causes menstrual pain, back pain, knee pain, and more. Taking Haritaki, and Triphala; including ghee in the diet; appropriate water consumption; walking, yoga, pranayama is good to balance Apana Vayu.
Vyana Vayu (Outward moving air)
Situated in the heart and lungs; Vyana Vayu moves from the body centre to the periphery pervading the whole body. Functions of Vyana Vayu include circulation of blood and other nutrients, dissemination, locomotion, extension, contraction, perspiration, pumping of the heart and more. One can balance the Vyana Vayu by Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, and taking arjuna or other ayurvedic herbs.
The location of Udana Vayu is at the throat where it governs the upward motion of the body. It manages memory, speech, self-expression and speech patterns. If it is in an imbalanced state, then one faces hiccups, throat diseases, speech difficulties and breathing problems. To balance Udana Vayu; Nadi Shodhana Pranayama and Ujjayi Pranayama is advised. Liquorice as a herbal remedy is also said to be taken to maintain its balance.
Samana Vayu (The Balancing Air)
Samana Vayu is located in the abdomen, at naval. It moves from the body to the centre. The main function of the Samana Vayu is to manage the digestion, and assimilation and to keep Prana and Apana balanced. If Samana Vayu is weak, then one can face a lack of confidence, poor judgement, demotivation, no desires, and digestion issues. The best pranayama to balance Samana Vayu is Kapalabhati and Bhastrika. Herbal supplements can also be used to balance it like ginger, ajwain (cumin), and Hingvastak.
Signs & Symptoms of Vata Imbalance
- Joint Pain
- Dry Skin
- Lack of Sleep
- Sensitivity to Cold
- Feeling Confused
Balancing Vata Dosha
There are a few ways to manage the Vata Dosha in the body and lead a happy lifestyle. Let's talk about them in detail
When you are calm, you feel happy and cheerful. When you are happy, your mind works well with full energy and power. Some ayurvedic massage with the use of herbal oils helps in making you relaxed which then gradually balances Vata. Steam treatment is also a good option.
Taking a diet that helps balance the Vata is the best way to keep yourself healthy. Moreover, avoiding foods with bitter and pungent flavours is advised as it may aggravate Vata. Understanding and taking Vata friendly diet is the most important.
Meditation is the best way to balance thoughts. It eventually balances Vata and relieves pains in the body. Daily Meditation practices should be included in keeping the body healthy and fit.
There are many pranayama techniques that help in relieving the aggravated pranayama. If one should practice them daily, then one can experience a disease-free life.
Vata Dosha Diet
To balance Vata Dosha, one can intake food which is warm and moist; and can get digested easily. Avoid cold, raw food and drinks having nicotine and caffeine.
- Vegetables & Legumes: Carrots, Lentils, Sweet Potatoes, Leafy Vegetables, Green Vegetables and mung beans.
- Fruits: Mangoes, Bananas, Berries, Coconuts, Avocados, Melons, and Peaches.
- Spices: Ginger, Bay, Cloves, Basil, Turmeric, Cinnamon, and Parsley.
- Nuts: Almonds, Cashews, and Chestnuts
- Seeds: Pumpkin Seeds, and Sunflower Seeds
- Grains: Rice, Wheat, and Oats
- Oils: Coconut Oil, Ghee, Sesame Oil, and Virgin Olive Oil
- Beverages: Buttermilk, Nut Milk, and Warm Teas
Active Element: Fire
Regulatory Element: Water
Represented by Season: Summer
Functions: Regulates Body Temperature, Digestion, Absorption, Assimilation, Promoting Vitality.
Pitta manages the primary energies in the body. It is actually the prime element of nature. It is present in the fluid form as it combines fire and water. It is the hottest dosha among all the three.
Strength: Intelligent, Athletic, Self Determined, Leadership, Strong Desires, Motivated, Goal Oriented, Healthy Skin, Fine Hair, Quick Learning Power
Weakness: Impatient, Aggressive, Always Hungry, Experience Mood Swings, Inflammation, Sensitive
Pitta involves in the crucial process of the body. Let's understand this, when we eat something, it reaches our stomach, in the stomach and intestine, and food gets broken down. Pitta is involved in this. When enzymes are formed, pitta is involved. When hormones are released, Pitta is involved.
Signs & Symptoms of Pitta Dosha
- Skin Diseases
- Bleeding disorders
- Short Temper
- A feeling of Hate & Jealousy
- Sour Taste
Balancing Pitta Dosha
Say no to Hot & Spicy Food
The nature of Pitta is hot, so, if you intake hot and spicy food; it will get aggravated. It also increases inflammation and acidity causing Pitta imbalance. It is advised to avoid the food which is hot and spicy in nature.
Consumptions of Cool food
Cool food means those foods which hold cold properties. This type of food calms the aggravated Pitta. So, if you are finding a way to balance Pitta Dosha, then eating cool food will definitely help you.
Performing pranayama every day can give extraordinary benefits as it lowers the heat in the body. Among the long list of Pranayamas, Sitkari, Shitali and Chandra Bhedhana pranayama are best to balance Pitta.
The property of the moon is cool and calm. A moonlight bath means either laying down on the cool grass under the moonlight or just taking a walk under the shining and calm rays of the moon.
Brahmi and Pitta Oil are the best to lower or reduce the Pitta symptoms. Rubbing the feet and forehead with Brahmi and Pitta oil at night reduced Pitta symptoms.
Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe Vera holds a great number of benefits. Taking aloe vera juice every day helps in relieving pitta symptoms and offering relief from the symptoms of Pitta Dosha.
Pitta Dosha Diet
Pitta Dosha can be reduced by taking fresh, cool, sweet, grounded and carbohydrate-rich foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables are advised to take in order to reduce Pitta immediately. Persons who are suffering from high Pitta Dosha should follow the food chart given below.
- Vegetables: Broccoli, Potatoes, Leafy Green Vegetables, Cabbage, Pumpkin, Peas, Okra, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumber, Lettuce, Avocado
- Fruits: Apricots, Apples, Cherries, Papaya, Melons, Berries, Coconut, Pomegranate, Mango, Orange, Strawberries, Grapes, Figs
- Spices: Black Pepper, Ginger, Saffron, Peppermint, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cardamom, Parsely, Mint, Fennel, Orange Peel, Basil
- Nuts & Seeds: Almonds, Pumpkin Seeds, Flaxseeds, Sunflower Seeds, Plain & Unsalted Popcorns
- Grains: Oats, Quinoa, Barley, Wheat, Pasta, Basmati Rice, Couscous, Tapioca, Pancakes, Amaranth, Granola
- Oils: Olive oil, Coconut oil, Sunflower oil, Soya oil, Ghee, Walnut oil, Primrose oil
- Beverages: Buttermilk, Frozen Yogurt, Fruit or Preservative based Yogurts, Sour Cream
Active Element: Earth
Regulatory Element: Water
Represented by Season: Spring
Functions: Maintains Body Resistance, Provides structural integrity, and gives strength and energy.
Kapha means the Protector. It is responsible for the development of different tissues. It is located in the chest. The nature of Kapha is slow, cool, moist, oily, heavy, smooth and steady. Kapha people have strength and balance. Even to the point of lethargy, they have dedication.
Strength: Caring, Patient, Calm, Empathetic, Wise, Happy, Trusting, Strong Bones, Romantic, Healthy Immunity, Steady, Thoughtful
Weakness: Sluggishness, Breathing Problems, Mucus Buildup, Slow Metabolism, Weight Gain, Depression, Demotivated, Over Sleeping
Signs & Symptoms of Kapha Dosha
- Excessive Sleep
- Loss of consciousness
- Sweet taste
- Poor Appetite
- Brain Fog
- Excess Salivation
Balancing Kapha Dosha
Physical activity is the best option to balance Kapha Dosha. If you do either yoga, walking, running, swimming or any other physical workout; you can eliminate harmful toxins from the body by keeping the gut clean. It builds stamina and makes you strong.
A detoxified diet helps in balancing the Kapha dosha of the body. Going on a detoxification diet once a week removes congestion from the digestive tract. It also helps in resolving indigestion, stomach problems, acidity, gastric and other issues. It will be a great idea to opt for a liquid and fruit diet and manage the Kapha dosha of the body.
Stay Warm & Active
People with Kapha Dosha are highly sensitive to cold. Therefore staying warm by using heath pads or wearing warm clothes helps you to stay warm. It will further benefit you to a great point. Moreover, taking a warm diet like herbal teas, soups, spices like ginger, cloves & cinnamon also helps in making Kapha balanced.
Avoid Cold & Damp Things
Kapha Dosha's personality is prone to cold things. If they avoid cold and damp food, then they can balance their Kapha Dosha. Moreover, they are advised to take warm and fresh foods and drinks.
Ayurvedic Neti or Nasal Cleansing removes congestion of the lungs and respiratory tract. When one performs it every morning, one manages the Kapha Dosha of an individual.
Kapha Dosha Diet
What we eat affects the body in positive and negative ways as well. As per Ayurveda, eating healthy in a certain way will remove excess Kapha from the body and balance it. Kapha is aggravated by heavy, oil and pungent food items, so, to manage the Kapha; light, dry and warm food is recommended.
- Vegetables: Potatoes, Leafy Green Vegetables, Okra, Asparagus, Onions, Radishes
- Fruits: Pears Watermelon, Apple, Apricot, Pomegranate, Cranberry, Blueberry, Cherry
- Spices: Black Pepper, Ginger, Cinnamon, Basil, Cumin, Turmeric, Oregano, Thyme
- Nuts & Seeds: Pumpkin Seeds, Flax Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Cashews, Pistachios, Pine Nuts
- Grains: Oats, Wheat, Rice, Rye, Buckwheat, Barley, Corn, Millet
- Oils: Olive oil, Almond oil, Pure Ghee, Sunflower oil
- Beverages: Ginger Tea, Mint Tea, Cinnamon Tea, Skim Milk, Goat Milk, Soya Milk