Ayurveda Part 3: Finding Balance
By Dr. Gita Gupta BHSc, DC, CAP
Previously here on the blog, Dr. Gita Gupta introduced us to Ayurveda and explained the principles behind the 3 doshas. Today, we dig deeper into the specifics surrounding Prakrati, or individual makeup, and how your lifestyle choices affect it.
In Ayurveda, the three life forces that make up the universe are known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Ayurvedically, these are what make up our doshas. They are considered the applicable forms of the elements that define our growth process, development and biological tendencies.
With the understanding that our lifestyle choices affect our health and influence our doshas, it is imperative that we understand the difference between our own personal make up in its optimal form, and the imbalances which lead to our diminished health.
Prakrati is our unique constitution that says which doshas, and in what ‘ratios’ we are manifest. For example my prakrati indicates that I am primarily a pitta, with kapha and vata of equal value remaining. So, if we were to look at a pie chart, about half of it would be pitta and the other half would be split into the other two quarters representing vata and kapha (see figure, LEFT).
Now, there are thousands of combinations that can represent ones prakrati, and this is why we must approach everyone’s treatment individually. Now, let’s look at how my lifestyle choices can impact my doshic makeup: if I were to become imbalanced, let’s say by drinking a large amount of coffee every day, that would increase my of vata levels, which doesn’t suit my prakrati. My pie chart might start looking more like 2/3 vata, 1/2 pitta and 1/5 kapha. Since my body works at an optimal state when vata is only 1/4 of my energy, this new version of my personal “pie chart” would increase the dryness, wind and movement in me (all essences of vata), and it may over stimulate my body and mind. It might even aggravate my fire which could increase the amount of heat and ash in me.
This new state I am in would what is referred to as my Vikruti. My vata would be overtaking my kapha and pitta, throwing me off-balance. This is not to say that no one can have coffee, including me, but it does mean that I should restrict the amount of coffee and vata stimulating drinks I have to maintain the proper balance in me. This attention would have to be paid to all other doshas as well. Since we all have our own specific make up, any number of things that may have a negative effect on me, may not affect my neighbor or friend. And this is the precise reason we should all take the time to understand our prakrati, and learn how we can avoid falling into our vikruti.
Dr. Gupta practices both Chiropractic and Ayurvedic Medicine at the clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Find out more about her services via her website www.drgitagupta.com, and you can also reach her at [email protected].