Ayurveda – Understanding Your Constitution
Ayurveda literally means the knowledge of life. It is the worlds oldest holistic healing system still in use today. The ancient principles of Ayurveda originated in India more than 5000 years ago. They have been passed down as a sacred oral tradition and within the Vedas- the oldest scriptures known to humankind. The essence and practices of Ayurveda have no borders or boundaries. It is an art and science for all who wish to return to a state of internal and external harmony.
Prakruti and Vikruti
Each individual has a prakruti or inborn constitution, a unique composition of the three doshas. One’s current state is known as the vikruti or imbalance stemming from deviation from our innate nature. Once we establish our prakruti and vikruti, we can use the wisdom of Ayurveda to consciously make choices regarding food, lifestyle, yoga, exercise, career path, environment and every other aspect of our life to maintain balance, and therefore have the energy to fulfill our highest potential.
How to Establish Your Constitution
Go through the following dosha checklist twice. To establish your prakruti (essential nature/ constitution from conception), initially check the boxes that relate to your long-term tendencies or the way that things have been most of your life. The 2nd time through, check the boxes that relate to your vikruti (current state). The checklist is merely a guide- its accuracy is determined by the objectiveness of the individual. It is best to see an Ayurvedic Consultant or Practitioner to get a clear and accurate assessment of both your prakruti and vikruti.
What Your Dosha Type Means for Your Diet
Ayurveda is Sanskrit for “the wisdom of life.” Ayurveda originated in India and pre-dates modern medicine by thousands of years.
Ayurveda healing differs from modern medicine in the following ways:
- Focuses on preventative techniques, instead of merely reacting to illness as it arises
- Diet and habits are more strongly considered when diagnosing and treating
- Emphasizes on the uniqueness of the individual and finding what works for you personally
Three Types of Ayurveda Doshas
There are three types of Ayurveda Doshas – kapha, pitta, and vata. Doshas are more commonly known as mind-body types and are derived from the five elements.
While we all have aspects of each of the three doshas, for most of us, there is one dosha that dominates. You can also be a combination of two doshas, but that is less frequent. Before you learn about the characteristics of each type of dosha, determine which one(s) are most pertinent to you by taking this quick quiz.
I took this quiz with a little bit of healthy skepticism, not expecting anyone dosha to be that much stronger than the others, but for me, the traits corresponding to vata dosha are twice as strong. There are several dosha quizzes online, all of which gave me similar results.
Once you determine which dosha pertains to you, read about the strengths and weaknesses of that dosha and what dietary changes you can make to keep yourself in better alignment. While this article focuses on dietary modifications, there are all sorts of supplements, lifestyle and yoga practices that are also beneficial.