The 3 Constitution Types of Ayurveda
April, 4 2020
What works for one, doesn't always work for another.
This simple truth is what gets so many flustered and confused when working with herbal medicines or alternative health practices. The key to understanding how create successful remedies & practices for yourself, family, or clients is to know their constitution (or dosha)!
It's quite easy to determine someone's Dosha simply by looking them over, and you get quicker at it with practice! The foundation of Vitalist Herbalism, which is how I was able to get off 13 different prescription medications, cancel a surgery, and heal my decade long struggle with PTSD & Anxiety, is in working to correct the constitutional balance in the body. When we support the constitution, instead of treating symptoms, the natural intelligence and vital energy of the brings about healing on levels far beyond what a practitioner could try to balance by just trying to correct symptoms alone.
Let's learn about the Doshas!
Corresponds to Ectomorph
Vata people tend to be either quite tall or short. They are most noted by their long and slender extremities that lack large amounts of tissue (muscle or fat). They frequently have thin and dry hair and nails. They correspond to Air elemental types.
The vata dosha corresponds to the elements of air & ether (space), the mercury principal, and the mutable mode.
Keywords for Vata: Delicate, spiritual, sensitive, shifting, flighty, disorienting, austere, changeable, aware.
Vata Tissue States: Dry/Atrophy ; Wind/Tension
Planets: Mercury, Uranus, Saturn
Inherent tastes: (increases vata) Bitter, Astringent, pungent
Counter tastes: (reduces vata) Sweet, Salty, Sour
Vata corresponds to the season of Fall, when the dry, light, and crunchy leaves are quite symbolic of the Vata constitution. It is during the fall that Vata people are most vulnerable to having an imbalance or dis-ease take hold. Vata hours are 2-6 and many Vata people find themselves awake in the early morning hours. People of all constitutions should rise before 6am during Vata time.
Vata’s are nourished by: Moist, heavy, smooth, and hot foods. Self-acceptance.
Corresponds to Mesomorph
Pitta people are of medium build, athletic, bursting with energy, and typically have some red features (skin tone, hair, freckles ect). They correspond to the fire elemental type.
The pitta dosha corresponds to the fire element (alongside the oil quality of water), the sulfur principal, and the cardinal mode.
Keywords for Pitta: Ambitious, powerful, purpose, individuality, leadership, competitive, pioneering
Pitta Tissue States: Heat/Excitation.
Planets: Mars & Sun
Inherent tastes: Pungent, Salty, Sour (which is aggravating to a pitta person so they should avoid)
Counter Tastes: Sweet, Astringent, Bitter (these cooling tastes should be enjoyed by someone with a fire, pitta, or cardinal constitution)
Pitta corresponds to the Summer season and this is their most vulnerable time, where they need to pay extra attention to caring for their health and wellbeing. Pitta hours are from 10-2 and it is important for them to stay cool during these hours.
Pitta’s are nourished by: Substantial, Aromatic, calming, cool, and the aforementioned tastes sweet, astringent, and bitter.
Corresponds to Endomorph
Kapha people are of stocky build, frequently with extra adipose (fat)tissue, with thick hair, skin, and nails. Their bodies are curvy, soft, rounded, with decent muscle mass. They typically are dense, heavy, slow moving, and loving.
The Kapha dosha of Ayurveda corresponds to the earth & water elements, the salt principal, and the Fixed mode.
Keywords for Kapha: sustaining, nourishing, loving, stable, dense, heavy, helpful
Kapha tissue states: Cold/depression ; Damp/stagnation ; Damp/relaxation
Planet: Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn,
Inherent tastes: (increase Kapha) Sweet, Salty, Sour
Counter tastes: (decrease Kapha) Bitter, Astringent, Pungent
Kapha season is late winter into the spring. This season represents the most vulnerable time for Kapha individuals and it is important for them to keep moving and not submit to the heaviness and lethargy that feels natural during this season change. Specifically Pisces into Aries season. Kapha hours are from 6-10 in both morning and evening, which is why it is important for Kapha people to wake up and get moving before 6am or be stuck feeling lazy the whole day.
Kapha’s are nourished by: dry, warm, light, and moderate foods.
How to use this information:
Lets say we have someone with symptoms of digestive issues, they have a thin frame without a lot of tissue on them, muscle or fat. You can see they have dry and cracked skin around their nails and their hair is dry, split, and frizzy. They tell you that their digestive issues always seem to be changing, and right now they’ve got nausea and gas. In the old way of thinking you might tell them to take a heavy dose of fennel & ginger tincture to help reduce the nausea & move the gas. With those you run the risk of making their digestive issues worst! How could that be possible when almost every herb book on the market would tell you to use those herbs for those symptoms. Let’s take the new approach considering their constitution.
This person is a Vata Dosha, (we can tell by their lack of fat & muscle, their torn up cuticles, and tendency towards dryness) Vata is characterized in part by their ever changing symptoms, particularly digestive issues. As Vata is a combination of the Air & Ether element they always tend to by dry, most especially in their delicate mucus membranes in the lining of their intestines, respiratory track, and bladder. This dryness of the mucosal membranes leads to all sorts of changing symptoms. Fennel & Ginger are both hot/dry herbs. Only further drying out a person that so desperately needs moisture. By having the medicine in the tincture form we are again denying the person the desperately needed moisture. Instead of treating the symptoms we need to treat the whole person, and the best way to do this is by determining the imbalance in their tissues.
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