Ayurveda is a complete holistic medical system that has been practiced in India for thousands of years.
In the ancient language of Sanskrit, “ayus” means life, and “veda” means knowledge. Ayurveda is the science of living. As a complete system that treats each person as an individual, ayurveda is perfectly customized for you.
Ayurvedic healing teaches that there are three basic constitutional “types”: earthy Kapha, fiery Pitta, and airy Vata. Once you know your type (we are blends of all types, but one usually stand out), you can learn to analyze your personality and body type, and find out which foods, exercises, lifestyles--even jobs--are most beneficial for you. Here is an illuminating quiz to help you find your Ayurvedic type.
Consider each statement, and assign the number that is most appropriate beside each one:
(0=never applies; 2=sometimes applies; 4=often applies).
My skin is dry. I can’t seem to moisturize enough.
I’m slim and can eat whatever I want without putting on weight.
My digestion feels irregular: Sometimes I’m ravenous; sometimes I have no appetitite.
I learn new things easily, but my long-term memory isn’t great.
I am creative and enthusiastic.
I give out so much energy that sometimes I need to rest up to recover.
My energy levels fluctuate a lot.
I dislike the cold, be it in weather, food, or drinks.
My moods change easily.
Stress makes me feel fearful and insecure.
I am of medium build and have a well-balanced shape.
When I get indigestion, it tends to manifest as burning sensations.
I love iced drinks, ice cream, and other cold foods.
I have a large appetite and digest food very quickly.
My mind is generally well-focused and alert.
People consider me passionate, confident, and courageous.
I don’t like heat much: It tires me, and I sweat easily.
I tend to be impatient, and sometimes anger easily.
I am determined, critical, and stubborn.
I’m rarely daunted by a challenge.
I have a solid build. As a baby, I was big boned.
My digestion is slow, and I feel heavy after eating.
I gain weight easily and am slow to lose it.
I am patient and even tempered.
I’m able to remain calm and unruffled under stress.
I feel I’m slower than others to grasp new concepts.
Once I really learn something, I never forget it.
Once I get going, I have loads of stamina, but I’m not a high-energy person.
I have a caring, compassionate nature.
I don’t like humidity and dampness, but I’m fine in very hot or very cold conditions.
Now add up each of your three dosha sub-totals. Your highest score reveals your most active dosha.
There is a languidness about slow, graceful Kapha people. From his or her earth element, the Kapha type inherits a solid reliability. Caring and compassionate, Kaphas can always be relied on in a crisis. They are often the people friends call when they require comfort, support and tenderness or just need to talk out problems. Because Kapha individuals are centered, have a steady faith, and don’t easily change their core beliefs, they find it easier than other types to feel secure and content with life. Kaphas are very loyal and, being guided by a cohesive, sustaining force, have no trouble keeping their friends. The sustaining Kapha force also enhances longevity.
Kaphas are inherently patient, peaceful people. Full of empathy, they forgive more readily than Vatas and Pittas. They find it relatively easy to unburden themselves, and they don’t hang on to baggage from the past.
Confident, determined, and cheerful, Pitta types have sharp, discriminating minds and the ability to focus thought and energies very effectively. Precise and orderly Pittas exhibit a keen intellect and enthusiasm for learning, and they grasp new information easily. They are enterprising types, good at manipulating information to their advantage. They make great public speakers, as they are accomplished at thinking on their feet, and quick to respond. Fortunately, their responses are usually accurate, too. Guided by a grand plan, Pitta people don’t fritter money away on little things, and they happily spend it on luxuries. Pittas are sensitive to heat and light, so you will often spot them in designer sunglasses.
While Vatas react to stress by becoming anxious and fearful, and Kaphas dig their heels in, Pittas tend to become angry and impatient. However, because of Pitta’s self-control, these emotions aren’t always visible. Although hot-headed, Pittas keep the larger goal in mind and so are not at the mercy of changeable moods like Vata people are.
Vatas have a great enthusiasm for life and happily involve themselves in new projects. In their bursts of exuberant energy, they are quick to pick up on fresh ideas. If their imaginative selves are not actually setting the trends, they will at least be the first to adopt the latest ones. Vata powers of concentration could be stronger, and while Vata people grasp new concepts quickly, they don’t always remember them some time down the road. Vatas are generous and believe money is for spending. Being spontaneous, they spend freely on trifles and find it hard to save.
Vata types like to do everything quickly, preferring to be physically active, partly because that’s their nature, partly to ward off boredom. Vatas are fast to react, even if they are not always correct in their responses. They often make decisions in haste and repent at leisure. Excitable by nature, Vatas tend to fidget, and they often bite their nails when nervous.
Keep in mind that Ayurvedic healing is a complex system. This article is meant to start you on your exploration!
Adapted from The Ayurvedic Year, by Christina Brown (Storey Books, 2002).