What’s your dosha? Never even heard of a dosha? Read along and join BPY and fellow yogini and nutrition blogger Gabby Terzano in learning more about Ayurveda and your dosha:
GT: Whether we think about it or not, nutrition is a huge part of our lives in many ways. What we eat can affect our sleep, energy, skin, weight, hair, nails, bone strength, muscle strength, etc. Diving a little deeper into the affects of food, it can also take a huge part on mental stability. Getting to know your body will help you learn what to eat and when to eat it to keep yourself balanced. We will discuss how to combine nutritional focus and yoga together to keep the mind and body balanced by incorporating Ayurveda and knowing your dosha into our practice.
BPY: Ayurveda is an ancient science originating 5,000-6,000 years ago. Ayurveda is very interrelated to the practice of yoga. These two disciples are interwoven together throughout their course of development. Yogis and sages spent their time exploring how the body worked, experimenting with their eating, and daily hygiene and mediation practices. Over the course of time, this practice has focused on preventative measures as the best means to live a healthy and full life. Literally, the word Ayurveda means the science of life with “ayur” meaning life and “veda” meaning science of knowledge. Living in a society that deals with the effects of many preventable diseases makes taking a look at an Ayurveda and its practices a worthwhile endeavor.
There are two guiding theories in Ayurveda. The first is that your mind and body are inextricably connected, and the second is that there is nothing more powerful to heal the body than your own mind.
Ayurveda is personalized to each individual using a system of doshas. The three doshas are known as vata, pitta, and kapha. Doshas are the individual’s body “energies” that make up one’s mental and physical constitution and these can be in or out of balance. Your first goal will be to find out what your dosha or doshas may be.
GT: My primary dosha is vata. When my vata is in balance, I am active with good energy and creativity. I will also be lean. . However, if my vata becomes imbalanced and tips into having too much vata, I will likely start to feel anxious and fearful. Vata out of balance can manifest as racing thoughts, insomnia, deviation of digestive patterns that can result in weight gain. The overriding feeling is that of being l out of control. Interestingly, in thinking about my current habits, I do find times when I worry a lot if I am stressed and this in turns leads to lack of sleep because of worrying. A regular lifestyle routine helps balance vata, which it also helps me.
The qualities of my primary dosha (vata) include cold, dry, light, irregular, rough, moving and quick. The first thing to determine is in which direction is my vata out of balance. Do I have too much or not enough vata? The best food types to pacify Vata are sweet, salty, and sour. This means I will eat foods that will be oily, heavy, and hot. Foods like cheese, avocado, or coconut are oily. Examples of heavy foods include meat, cheese, and peanuts. Chili pepper and eggs are hot.
To pacify my vata, here is a recipe I would choose to make! It contains eggs (hot) and avocado (oily). Leaning towards sweet, heavier fruits such as avocado will help balance Vata. Spices will also be important in balancing Vata, so I have added salt, black pepper, and an all-purpose garlic and herb seasoning containing dried thyme, dried parsley, dried rosemary, and garlic.
Avocado Egg Salad (serves 2)
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- ½ avocado
- 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon all-purpose garlic and herb seasoning OR ½ teaspoon dried thyme, ½ teaspoon dried parsley, and ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- place the eggs in a medium size sauce pan and fill with water until eggs are just covered
- cover the pan, place burner on high and wait for water to boil
- once water is boiled, turn off the heat and remove the pot from heat
- keeping the pot COVERED, let sit for 15 minutes
- remove eggs from water and let cool
- once eggs are cooled, peel the shell off
- dice eggs and add them to a mixing bowl
- in a separate bowl, add avocado, Dijon mustard, chives, garlic and herb seasoning, salt, and pepper
- mix until smooth, making sure avocado is mostly mashed
- add eggs and mix together
- serve on whole grain toast or eat alone!
I learned that many people have more than one dosha characteristic and some people are a mix of all three (rare). Curious to know what your dosha is? I found out what my dosha was by taking this quiz at the Chopra Center website.
BPY: People with a vata imbalance are best supported in their yoga practice by postures that are calming, quieting and warming. Postures like uttanasana (forward fold) and Virasana (Hero’s pose) are very good for a vata dosha.
GT: The dosha you were born with is your primary dosha. You will always carry this dosha with you throughout life. Although this is true, you can experience natural imbalances and unnatural imbalances. Both of these may make another dosha more prominent at that point in time. Examples of natural imblanances include time and age. Different doshas are more prominent during one’s life, season, or certain time of day. Unnatural imbalances include diet, lifestyle, stress, trauma, and viruses. It’s important that we try and control as many unnatural imbalances as we can, like lifestyle and diet. We can reduce stress by practicing yoga and believing in our practice, eating the right foods, getting enough sleep, and living a healthy lifestyle.
BPY: Ayurveda is complex and at the same time simple. Find what you are made of and take care of yourself with the things that support your body and mind the best. We have just scratched the surface of Ayurveda and its practices in this article. Stay tuned for more insight into bringing Ayurveda practices into your healthy life routine!