We’ve all experienced “butterflies” when we’ve felt smitten, or seen the way a person’s cheeks flush when he embarrasses himself. And when you ignore your feelings, sooner or later, your body has a way of letting you know. This is because your mind and body are deeply connected. In Ayurveda and many other Eastern medical traditions, this fact is understood- and Ayurveda goes so far as to classify mental dispositions and their related physical states (FYI: modern medicine also recognizes that a person’s mood is largely dependent on the state of his or her gut- something that’s called the “gut-brain connection”). So, in this post, we’ll talk about what Ayurveda says about your mood, how it reflects on your health, and what you can do about it!
The Three Doshas
Ayurveda says that there are three Doshas (not to be confused with the food, dosa), or constitutions: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each Dosha has associated mental and physical characteristics, and foods that are said to be balancing. It’s important to know that everyone has a mixture of all three Doshas, but most people tend to be dominant in one or two, rather than being equal across all three. Briefly, here are the Doshas:
Vata: This type is associated with creativity, intuition, and a quick mind. Physically, it is associated with being thin, dry, cold, rough, and quick.
Pitta: This type is associated with drive, action, leadership, and power. Physically, it is associated with being muscular, oily, hot, and strong.
Kapha: This type is associated with compassion, calmness, and clarity. Physically, it is associated with being voluptuous and solid, and having soft skin, large eyes, and thick hair.
This is a dosa, not to be confused with Dosha! It's good for Vata types.
Do you see yourself in any of these descriptions? Which types best describe you? You can use this as a guide as you read the descriptions below!
Excitement and Adventurousness
Excitement is the hallmark of a Vata constitution that’s in balance. Generally, Vata is associated with the mind. Healthy Vata is also associated with intuition, expansiveness, and connection to the subtle elements of life. If you feel this way regularly, great! Chances are you’re probably healthy and grounded, and have good digestion for your body type.
Persistent Anxiety or Insomnia
A Vata type that’s out of balance is like Chicken Little: scattered, obsessive, and constantly scared that the sky is falling. An imbalance in Vata leads to fearful thoughts, anxiety, difficulty resting or sleeping, agitation, stress, overexertion, and even feeling unsafe. Physically, this can manifest as being underweight, feeling too cold, very dry skin, and being overactive.
A lot of people think that junk food is balancing for Vata types (and Vatas can get a lot of hate for it). That’s not true (sorry)! It’s important to avoid too much sugar, as this can be over-stimulating. If you find yourself imbalanced in Vata, it’s best to eat grounding, cooked foods, such as root vegetables, whole grains, and fats. Adaptogenic herbs like Ashwagandha and Shatavari are excellent for excess Vata. And, if you’re worried that the sky is falling down, try Anxiety Relief!
If you're a Vata struggling with anxiety, try cooked root vegetables.
Confidence and Courage
When in balance, a Pitta type is courageous and a powerful force to be reckoned with! If you tend to feel confident, self-assured, and in action, you’re probably a Pitta type that’s taking excellent care of yourself. Good work!
Irritability, Impatience, Resentment, or Anger
A Pitta type that’s out of balance can be very difficult to be around (think: a mean boss on a bad day). Unfortunately, imbalanced Pittas are the people that are most likely to disregard their health in favor of achieving their goals. They can also be stubborn, so trying to feed them foods they don’t feel attracted to in an effort to balance them out can be a losing battle. But if you are a Pitta type looking for balance, reach for mild foods, like salads, steamed veggies, fruits (especially melons), and raw coconuts. Avoiding meat, cheese, and fried or heavily-spiced foods is also very important. In addition, a tea like Happy Place or Stomach Soothing Tea can help you out a ton!
If you're a Pitta type experiencing bouts of anger, try eating more steamed veggies.
Love, Compassion, and Patience
A balanced Kapha type is like a happy Labrador Retriever- friendly, sweet, playful, and loving. Kaphas are grounded, wise, loyal, and patient. If you’re a Kapha that feels this way, great! You’re likely in balance. And when you’re healthy, your skin will glow, your hair will be thick and luscious, and your eyes will shine.
Lethargy, Depression, or Emotional Possessiveness
Unfortunately, Kaphas are the most likely type to gain weight. They can also feel sluggish and tired very easily. They can cling to old memories and relationships long after they’ve expired, and can be resistant to change. If you are a Kapha type, and you find yourself stuck in unhealthy routines and find yourself unstimulated, make sure you’re getting plenty of exercise, and make an effort to have new experiences. In addition, raw fruits and vegetables are extremely beneficial for you. In addition, a regimen with a tea like Daily Detox can work wonders for you!
If you're a Kapha and you feel tired or chubby, try eating more raw food.
Lastly, no matter what your constitution, it’s a good idea to pay closer attention to how you’re feeling emotionally and in your body- this can tell you a lot about your health and your life!
Did you relate to any of the Doshas above? Let us know in the comments below! And if you found it helpful, share it with a friend!