India is a cauldron of knowledge and it has been passed over many generations in various areas of science including treatment of human diseases. Deep observation of nature led to study of body functions. This knowledge was written in ancient literature of Sage Charak called Charak Samhita. Later Sage Vag Bhatt propositioned a healthy daily lifestyle for everyone in his book Ashtanga Hridaya. In this article we discuss the various body types as propositioned in Ayurved as part of educating ourselves on Ayurved for everyone.
Ayurved recommends treatment based on the elements of nature. The underlying principle is that nature consists of five elements- earth, water, fire, wind and space. The interaction of these elements is the reason we exist and the way we exist. Our body functions are defined by reactions of either of two or all elements. A predominance of any one element makes our body prone to diseases or anamoly.
The body types discussed below are a general classification of all human bodies. The predominant body types shows up in a person’s everyday character. Observing ones body and behavorial characteristics closely helps to determine your body type. This is the foundation of defining your daily lifestyle to attain wellness.
The interaction of wind and space elements of nature results in Vata and a dominance of Vata is known as Vata Dosha. The people with a dominant Vata have lean and thin body. It is quite rare that they put on weight. They are fast speakers and generally restless in their everyday life. Their slumber is broken very easily.Vata leads to people taking quick decisions which can often go wrong.
People with Vata Dosha have dry skin and hair. Their digestive system is not strong. Their food intake is low to moderate. People with dominant Vata Dosha experience intermittent pain in their body. The pain is due to the gas not just in the stomach but wherever it reaches in the entire body. It is therefore very important to control it via diet or recommended living style.
On the positive side, people with a dominant Vata Dosha are artistic in nature. It is said that the wind element defines their persona and they have great imaginative thoughts. Though nature often leads to quick decisions going wrong.
The interaction of water and fire elements of nature results in Pitta Dosha. People with Pitta Dosha tend to exhibit these elements in their behavior and characteristics. They are prone to extreme anger at times.
People with Pitta Dosha are medium build and can quickly build muscles around. They are quite sociable and can easily take up leadership positions. Their decisions are well thought and are more successful in their decision taking ability.
They have reddish eyes representing the fire element. A severe imbalance in Pitta might lead to stress in their everyday life. It is difficult for such people to accept criticism.
The interaction of earth and water elements of nature results in Kafa Dosha. People with a dominant Kafa Dosha exhibit more earthly nature in build and characteristics.
Bulky or the ability to gain weight is a predominant problem of people with Kafa Dosha. They have large, most eyes full of lashes. Their hair is curly and Oily. Their skin is normally Oily and supple.
People with Kafa Dosha tend to overthink their decisions. They are extremely possessive and do not let things go easily. They are slow to think but good at administration.
Determine Your Body Type
For the first time readers, this might be confusing and one would like to determine their own body type in order to relate to this concept. Ayurved for everyone begins with this foundation of understanding your body type. Therefore, in an attempt to simplify things, the following questionnaire will help to determine your body type. The questions are based on your physical looks and psychological persona. Mark your answers as A, B or C here:
1. How do you define your build?
A. Lean and Thin B. Moderate C. Bulky
2. Which skin type do you relate to?
A. Dry B. Normal C. Oily
3. How are your eyes?
A. Small and clear B. Moderate and reddish C. Large, lashy and moist
4. How is your hair?
A. Straight and dry B. Normal C. Curly and Oily
5. What is your speaking pattern?
A. Fast B. Moderate C.Slow
6. How good is your memory?
A. Easily forgers B. Retains C. Long Memory
7. How do you make decisions?
A. Quickly B. With some deliberations C.overthink
8. Which weather do you like most?
A. Warm B. Moderate C. Cold
9. How is your sleep pattern?
A. light B.moderate C. deep
10. Which food do you normally like more?
A. extreme sour and salty B. moderate C. appreciates hidden taste
Now sum up all the As, Bs and Cs in descending order. As are Vata Dosha dominant, Bs are Pitta Dosha dominant and Cs are Kafa Dosha dominant. Your primary body type is the one where you have scored most and your secondary body type is the one scoring second. A person can have a combination of two Doshas and even three. However, finding people with combination of all three Doshas is rare. A total of seven type of combinations have been defined to exist as per Ancient textures.
Balancing Doshas for Healthy Life
Ayurved for everyone recommends balancing the Doshas for a healthy living. Everybody has these Doshas or a combination of them. These Doshas arise at the time of birth but a dis balance can come due to many reasons. The place you live, the dietary practices you follow or the training you have received in life can all play a role in this imbalance.
Dietary habits’ recommendations differ for each body type. As an example, diet for Pitta Dosha might include more water intake while that for Kafa Dosha will be devoid of water. Similarly, the recommendations for physical activities like or massage with differ accordingly. To read more on benefits of massage read my earlier article by clicking here.
Balancing the Doshas are steps to achieve wellness- both physical and mental. To read my article on seven dimensions of wellness click here.
Ayurvedic treatment of any lifestyle anomaly begins with determination of body types. It relates any disease to the elements of nature. Doshas are anomalies of nature elements in our body and are called so as they tend to fluctuate.
Understanding the body types gives a clear direction to its treatment and to altogether eliminate the disease from its root. It affects the way you wake up, eat, drink or sleep. The treatment aims at a wholesome wellness for all.
Do let us know your body type on the comment box below.
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