Things can seem to be huge when eyed from human vision but is just barely visible element when viewed from the lens of universe. We are made from the same dust from which the universe is made up of, the same five elements- earth, water, ether, air and fire. We are not in any manner disconnected from the universe, whereas it lives within us, breathes with us. Science which still views every human from a single vision and perspective, has its roots emerged from the science of Ayurveda.
Ayurveda has been serving the humans from past many years and holds the same perception that the creator had while the creation of human existence i.e. based on the five elements, just the degree of each element differs for different human.
We all are different, have different skill sets, different identities, different perspectives and in a similar way our body consists of different energies. Ayurveda shows that the path to optimal health is different for different people, which is based on the nature of their body. The science of understanding the nature of our body or the energies consisted by it is known is Tridosha.
Tridosha is made up of 5 elements (mahabhutas) air, ether, fire, water and earth. Each body is a composition of these five elements, ruled by any one of the elements. It is not possible for any element to be absent from the composition. When the imbalance happens, it signifies the dominance of any one of the doshas.
Tridosha defines three different energies or principles called Vata, Pitta and Kapha consisted by our body and govern its function on physical and emotional levels. Each individual has a balance of these three Doshas and imbalance of these can lead to several diseases or sufferings such as diarrhea, weak nervous system, weak metabolism, constipation, anxiety, depression etc.
Dominance of any of the dosha doesn’t signify the absence of other two doshas but defines the nature (prakriti) of that individual. Prakriti is pre-defined during the evolution of new human life in the womb itself.
Ayurveda, the science of life and well-being has been dwelling on earth from past 5000 years. It’s practice is rooted in India and from many years people of India and surrounding nations are enjoying enormous benefits of natural science i.e. Ayurveda.
Now Ayurveda has been recognized and practiced throughout the different parts of the world due to its mystical results.
The basic structure of Ayurvedic treatment relies on the theory called, ‘Tridosha Tatva’. The word Tridosha is derived from the sanskrit word ‘Tri’ which means ‘three’ and ‘Dosha’, meaning ‘pollutant’.
These three pollutants play a major role in the well-being and functioning of the human body. To be more precise, our body functions in harmony when these three Doshas are in balance.
Vata, Pitta and Kapha- are the three types of Doshas as described by Ayurveda.
Vata Dosha consists of air and space and is known to govern the mind and body.
Pitta Dosha consists of Fire and water and governs the metabolic activities within the body.
Kapha Dosha consists of water and earth and governs the structural aspects and strength of the body.
Vata Dosha is made up of air and space elements and possess qualities similar to these elements. Vata Dosha holds characteristics very similar to wind such as light , cool, unstable and dry. People with Vata dosha tend to have quite lean physical appearance due to thin bones, light body and they tend to have dry skin and hair. People with Vata Dosha move and speak quickly. They tend to be talkative, enthusiastic, creative, energetic and flexible.
When out of balance, physically they tend to lose weight, become constipated and experience weakness in their immune and nervous system and mentally, suffer from anxiety and overwhelmed, have difficulty focusing and making decisions and tend to have trouble while sleeping.
They cannot function under stress very well and the symptoms of imbalance becomes more apparent while suffering from it. Emotionally they are charged by cool emotions such as fear, worry and anxiety.
In order to bring balance to Vata, emphasis on opposite characteristics is important such as moisture, stability, nourishment and warmth. Balance of Doshas can be achieved by the medium of diet, yoga, meditation and aromatherapy. All these aspects will be explained in detail further in the article.
Pitta Dosha is made up of fire and water elements, fire being the dominating one. Pitta Dosha holds characteristics very similar to fire such as hot, sharp and penetrating. People with Pitta Dosha tend to feel warm, have oily skin, sharp features and penetrating eyes. They have good musculature and moderate weight. People with Pitta are highly focused, competitive, capable, courageous, clear communicators and are generally known as problem solvers.
When out of balance they tend to suffer from diarrhea, infections, skin rashes, odorous sweating, fever and weakness in liver, spleen and blood. They possess quite ignorant nature when in stress and tend to be overly intense and sharp with tongue. Emotionally they are charged with heated emotions of anger, resentment and jealousy.
In order to bring balance to Pitta, emphasis on opposite characteristics such as coolness, heaviness (nourishing) and dryness is important. Balance of Doshas can be achieved by the medium of diet, yoga, meditation and aromatherapy which will be discussed further.
Kapha Dosha is made up of water and earth elements. Kapha Dosha holds characteristics very similar to water such as moist, cool, stable and heavy. People with Kapha Dosha tend to have heavy bone structure, supple skin; low metabolism and large body frame.
They are not prone to quick fluctuations due to their stable personality and does not approve of change due to their comfort-prone nature. They are generally conservative and prefer to keep things the way they are. They possess soft and watery nature.
When out of balance they tend to gain weight quite easily and suffer from weakness in liver, sinuses, depression and lethargy. Due to their comfort prone nature they can often feel a lack of motivation and feeling of being stuck.
They are very good stress handlers and does not have any impact of stressful situations on their physical or mental health.
In order to balance kapha Dosha, emphasis on opposite characteristics is important such as dryness, lightness and warmth.
When vata dosha is at its dominance the person can feel unstable and suffer from restlessness and anxiety. Jaap meditation or mantra meditation is considered to be most effective when body needs a rhythmic hold or stability in life. Use of mala beads or rudraksh beads can be used while chanting the mantras as vata dominated people will find it difficult to contain the stillness while chanting.
Rudraksha beads will work as an anchor to guide you through the mediation and be patient. There is also specific meditation technique such as Ajapa Japa, taught in our classes and teacher training courses. This is an excellent technique to help calm the nerves and reduce vata. Another meditation which may play a significant role is Trataka on flame. This steady gazing technique on flame helps a lot centering the mind and enhance the power of concentration and memory.
Hatha Yoga techniques of Asanas and Pranayamas:
there are many poses which activates the vitality in the body. techniques like Sun Salutation and Shakti Bandha Series as taught in Bihar School of Yoga can help a lot to work of Kapha dosha. There are vitalising pranayamas and Kriyas which increases fire in the body and also help activate the metabolism such as Bhastrika, Kapalbhati, Agnisara Kriya etc. which may play a key role in reducing and managing kapha.
As kapha dominance shows the signs of heaviness, lethargy and therefore it is very important for such people to have mobility in their lives. In walking meditation as the name suggests you have to be moving during the whole process, you can do this process in a garden, preferably barefoot, in your hallway, in your room while circling around it, any place where you feel more at peace and calm.
Start the process by breathing and being conscious about your breath. After that, start moving while reciting a mantra which resonates with your intention. It is a great way for people with kapha dominance to have mobility and progress in life.
Pitta dominated people crave more peace and calm in their life as they tend to have more sharp responses, anger, irritation and frustration in them. Breath meditation helps pitta to divert from the sharp nature to a more calm and relaxing state by focusing on breath and using it as the anchor.
Pitta tends to be more action prone and it is quite necessary to enjoy the stillness sometimes which is well delivered by the process of meditation. While performing breath meditation find a place which is quiet and doesn’t distracts you. Start with taking deep and slow breath to get into the flow and slowly develop the rhythm.
Techniques such as Yoga Nidra can help a lot to people suffering from excessive pitta or Vata predominance. These people need to calm down the energies and relax the digestive systems. Techniques like Yoga Nidra sets the tone to relax the energies and initiates relaxation response in the body. Yoga Nidra can be taught with proper techniques of breath awareness to relax the nerves and using relaxing visualisation methods.
Sushant is Meditation & Philosophy Teacher and Academic Director at Rishikesh Yogis. Sushant carries long years of experience teaching practical as well as philosophical aspects of Kundalini yoga, Kriya yoga, Hatha Yoga and Tantra philosophy.