Ayurveda is based on the principle that there are three different body types, or dosha, and these are the energies that make up every individual. We all fall into one main category - vata, pitta or kapha - and this largely defines our nature, physical build, eating habits and even vulnerability to certain illnesses.
When you visit an ayurvedic doctor or practitioner, they will generally go through a series of questions to help work out your dominant body type. Questions might include: personality traits, where you would like to live, the temperature you prefer, as well as the speed in how you do things.
They would also look at the structure of your bones, facial features and feel your pulse. There are 360 different pulse combinations to discover your state of health – an Ayurvedic doctor or practitioner can also pick up issues in your pulse before an illness actually develops.
We each contain varying proportions of each dosha generally one or two in dominance. Our naturally dominant body type does not signify imbalance, but rather how – or who – we are in our most healthy, balanced state.
Understanding the qualities of these different body types can help you choose which foods to eat to improve diet and overall wellbeing. It can also help determine how much exercise you need, as well as the type of activity that is best suited to you, as well as being aware of the kind of lifestyle where you’ll thrive.
Here’s a snapshot of the three dominant body types, over the next few weeks I’ll give you a lot more information about managing each one:
Vata is changeable and much less stereotyped than the other two groups, and this variability in size, shape, mood and action is a trademark. They are often creative, spiritually perceptive and in balance, are excitable and joyful. Commonalities are dry skin, hunger at unusual times of the day or night, irregular sleeping patterns and a tendency to walk and talk quickly. Common health problems include worry, anxiety, constipation, arthritis, forgetfulness and bloating. Famous vata are Adrien Brody, Kate Moss, Christy Turlington, Kate Hudson and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Pitta people tend to be type A personalities - competitive, success-oriented and driven. Often with trademark bright red hair, they can have an innate sense of vision and a natural ability to lead. If there’s an imbalance they can be judgemental and hot-headed. They are usually average weight and height and don’t like it when a meal is late. When in balance, they have a face that glows with happiness and are warm and loving. Health issues can be over-eating and drinking, spicy food, fever, rashes and ulcers. Famous pitta are Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore and Daniel Craig.
Kapha types are generally complacent, calm, grounded, nurturing and loving. Their personality is even-tempered and reliable and they are often well-built and powerful – skinny is not a healthy goal. They tend to wake up slowly, lie in bed a long time, which is not good for them, and need a coffee once up. Common health problems include fluid retention, low metabolism, poor digestion, weight gain, fatigue and depression. Famous kapha are Oprah Winfrey, Jack Nicholson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez.
Knowing your body type is the most critical step in getting control of your health right now because it forms the building blocks of diagnoses, treatment and maintenance – remember, food and lifestyle is medicine - and prevention is the key rather than treating symptoms. I’m going to be giving you a lot more information on the different body types over the coming few weeks.
In the meantime, to increase your chances of leading a healthy, happy and harmonious life, why don’t you start by finding out where you are on the Health Spectrum - a world first health and personality test that I’ve created with internationally-acclaimed wealth expert Roger Hamilton. healthspectrumtest.com