In Ayurveda, doshas are used to identify the elemental energy that governs your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Understanding your dosha can help you understand your body and guide you towards a more balanced and harmonious life, improving your sleep, digestion and mental health.
The Three Doshas:
Ayurveda recognises three primary doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each are associated with the five elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether). All the doshas combine in varying proportions to make up an individual’s constitution. There are many elements that indicate what dosha you belong to, so let’s go through some of the common traits of each dosha.
Vata – Composed of Air and Water
- Typically thin and have a light frame, with drier skin (try this!) and hair (and this!)
- Have a fast metabolism, and may struggle to gain weight
- Paler complexion
- Tendency to have cold hands and feet
- Light sleeper
- Sensitive digestion
- Creative and imaginative but prone to anxiety and fear
- May find it more difficult to focus
Pitta – Composed of Fire and Water
- Medium build and well-proportioned, with moderate muscle mass
- Medium amount of hair, hair texture is soft
- Soft skin, prone to oiliness and acne (try this!)
- Strong appetite and digestion, but when imbalanced, prone to inflammation in digestive system.
- Warm body temperature, easily sunburned
- Good at concentrating, but may be prone to irritability when imbalanced
- Passionate and ambitious, may be a workaholic
Kapha – Composed of Water and Earth
- Sturdy build, with rounder body type and big boned.
- Thick, lustrous hair
- Smooth, possibly oily skin (try this!)
- Strong resistance and good health
- Tendency to be cold
- Loyal and thoughtful, Kaphas are loving, caring individuals
- Comfortable with routine
- Slow to anger
You may find you are a blend of two or all of them, but you should have a dominant type. This dominant dosha is the dosha you identify with the most and can adapt your lifestyle, diet and skin care accordingly.
Balancing Your Dosha
Signs of Imbalance – Dry skin, irregular digestion, anxiety, cold, insomnia
Vata needs warm, cooked and nourishing meals. Opt for grounding foods such as root vegetables, grains and healthy fats, such as avocado and coconut oil.
Start balancing your dosha by creating a rigid routine. Incorporate light exercise regularly, like yoga, which promotes flexibility and balance. Find time to rest and reset by practising meditation and self-care activities and limit use of technology. Try and get good quality, adequate sleep to balance vata.
Signs of imbalance – Inflammation, irritability, digestive issues and skin rashes.
Pitta needs cooling and hydrating foods. Favour sweet and bitter foods which are cooling and refreshing. Include more leafy greens, fresh fruits and grains into your diet. Avoid spicy, sour and salty foods.
As pitta can be overly competitive and irritable, practise patience and take things in moderation. Avoid excessive heat by exercising when it is cooler and having cold showers. Stay hydrated throughout the day to keep cool.
Signs of imbalance – Weight gain, fatigue, congestion, emotional attachment.
Kapha needs light and warming foods. Incorporate more bitter and astringent foods and include spices into your diet such as ginger and turmeric. Stick to lighter whole foods, like leafy vegetables, fruit and legumes. Limit heavier foods, such as red meat and dairy.
To rebalance kapha get into a good sleep routine of going to bed before 10pm and waking up early at around 6-7am. Go for a walk at sunrise and get plenty of exercise to activate the body and mind. Challenge yourself by trying something new every month to keep stimulated, like a new exercise class or hobby.
The more we stay in balance, the healthier we will feel. Try these tips and see if they make a difference to your mind and body!
Check out our “Shop by Concern” section to select skincare for skin conditions your dosha is prone to!