In Ayurveda, each person is born with a unique Prakriti, or psychosomatic temperament that encompasses physical, functional and behavioural characteristics. According to Ayurvedic practitioner and teacher Matthew Remski, Prakriti is “your innate constitution, the inherent mould you were cast in. It is genetic.”
Knowledge of your Prakriti allows you to create a lifestyle that sustains and nurtures your natural alignment with life, and you can use it to inform, achieve and maintain a way of being optimally harmonized.
Your Prakriti is made up of a unique combination and ratio of the three doshas known as kapha, pitta and vata. According to Remski, “You can’t see a dosha; it is not a substance, nor can it be quantified or measured critically. Rather doshas are principles of feeling, a way of talking about sensations, feelings and relationships in an interconnected or holistic manor.” Doshas provide a way to describe a set of internal sensations and circumstances that a person can easily identify without complex biomedical language; they link physical, emotional and relational sensations together into a meaningful health narrative. Remski affirms, “Doshas are a way to talk about internal sensations relating to three general categories: things that build (kapha), things that metabolize (pitta) and things that move (vata).”
The Healing Remedies Sourcebook states that, “Good health is achieved when all three doshas work in balance.”
There are many online tools to determine your constitution, but my favourite is this one from the Chopra Yoga Center. When taking the quiz, Remski recommends you, “hand it to your partner and have them fill it out for you, because you will answer the questions from your constitutional perspective.”
The body also changes with age, seasonality, and life circumstance, meaning your questionnaire results will change over time. To account for these temporal considerations, Remski recommends you “take your quiz, stick it in a drawer, and do it again in six months to see what happens.”
Understanding what your dosha is is the first step toward a holistic lifestyle that promotes your optimal, natural alignment. The Sourcebook states, “Heat relates to pitta, an imbalance of which can cause problems such as fevers, heartburn or emotional disturbances, such as anger or jealousy.” They recommend eating “cooling” foods like eggs, cheese and lentils to remedy.
Eating for your dosha
When choosing food based on your dosha, Ayurveda recommends that food be selected to balance your dominant dosha:
1. Kapha: Select warm, dry and light foods that taste pungent, bitter, or astringent; avoid sweet, sour and salty.
2. Pitta: Eat food that is sweet, bitter and astringent; keep away from sour, salty and pungent.
3. Vata: Select warming, oily or heavy foods or foods that taste sweet, salty and sour. Minimize pungent, bitter, or astringent foods.
Move for your dosha
Choosing exercises suited to your dosha will give you the greatest benefits and enjoyment and allow your body to move in a way that promotes your optimal health.
1. Kapha: Great physical strength and steady energy, which is ideal for endurance sports. The biggest challenge for Kapha is finding the motivation to exercise. Those who are dominant in Kapha need to engage in aerobic activities that work up a sweat to clear congestion and sluggishness.
2. Pitta: If you’re dominant in Pitta you’ll like challenging sports and tend to be good at all exercise in moderation. You need to beware you don’t increase your stress while exercising and benefit from taking walks in nature and swimming.
3. Vata: With bursts of energy, Vata tires quickly and would benefit from grounding exercises such as yoga and dance. Vata is averse to the cold, so indoor exercise is recommended during winter months.
Take the quiz and tell us, what your dosha is in the comment section below.
Ange Peters, founder of hol-fit, is a holistic personal trainer, nutritionist and mama of two. She makes glowing health accessible to people worldwide through innovative web teachings and creative connection. Gillian Mandich is a PhD student in health and rehabilitation science with a focus on childhood obesity and physical activity. She’s a holistic nutritionist, certified yoga and Yoga Tune Up instructor and personal trainer. Together you can find them on Twitter, iTunes, Stitcher and their blog.