Ayurveda is the sister science of yoga, focused on wellness, originating from the same Sanskrit texts 5000 years ago. Fostering the mind-body connection, Ayurveda believes that the foods you eat influence the way that you feel. Unlike the one-size-fits-all approach to health in the West, Ayurveda is focused on the individual, believing that the key to health is eating the right foods to your Dosha.
Just like we each have a unique fingerprint, each person was born with a specific mind-body constitution called a Dosha. Our Dosha is comprised of the natural elements: air, space, fire, water, and earth.
The word Dosha literally means “energy.” The three Doshas are:
- Vata = air
- Pitta = fire
- Kapha = earth
We are a combination of all three Doshas but in varying amounts. Some of us are naturally more airy, while others are naturally more fiery and others more earthy. Find out which is your primary Dosha so you can gain deeper insights into your mind and body.
1. What’s your body type like? (Or about the closest to it.)
A. Small-boned, naturally thin, hard to put on muscle.
B. Medium built, able to put on muscle easily.
C. Bigger-boned, curvy, tend to put on weight easily.
2. What’s your skin like?
A. Dry and dehydrated—rough in certain areas.
B. Oily and sensitive—acne and/or redness when imbalanced.
C. Moist and smooth—sometimes oily t-zone.
3. Now how is your body temperature?
A. I’m always freezing! I always have to carry a shawl with me and crave hot weather.
B. I get overheated and sweat easily. I can’t stand extreme heat and humidity!
C. I can handle both hot and cold temperatures but prefer warm and dry weather.
4. How’s your digestion?
A. Irregular—Sometimes it’s fine then other times I’ll get extremely bloated/gassy.
B. Strong and sharp—I can usually just about anything but sometimes I suffer from heartburn and hyperacidity.
C. Slow—I tend to stay full for many hours after a meal and often feel heavy or tired after eating.
5. I have to ask: How are your bowels?
A. More on the dry and hard side, a tendency towards constipation. I evacuate once per day or even less.
B. Quick—as soon as I eat, I have to go to the bathroom! I evacuate almost three times a day!
C. Pretty regular and smooth. I usually go upon waking and later again in the day.
6. What are your eating habits like?
A. I tend to snack throughout the day on little things whenever I’m hungry, without a set routine. I often eat while standing up and on-the-go.
B. I like having set meal times so I know exactly when my next meal will be. I need a good, satisfying meal in order to function.
C. I don’t eat that often but when I do, I often indulge in sweets, carbs, dairy, and other foods that may not be the best for me. (But I love them!)
7. How’s your sleep?
A. Light and scattered. I often have trouble falling asleep because I have so many thoughts running through my mind! I sometimes wake up throughout the night.
B. Soundly for about 6-7 hours a night.
C. Heavy. I feel like I could sleep forever! I often wake up still tired and there’s nothing I love more than a good nap.
8. What’s your personality like (if you had to just pick one)?
A. Creative, idealistic, artistic, eccentric, enthusiastic, out-of-the-box.
B. Achievement-oriented, hard-working, organized, leader.
C. Calm, loving, caring, laid back, patient.
9. What are you like in difficult situations (your go-to reaction)?
A. I tend to get anxious and worry. It’s hard for me to turn my mind off.
B. I tend to get angry and impatient. I sometimes lose my temper and explode.
C. I tend to suppress my emotions and feel depressed or lonely, even though I don’t like to show it.
10. What’s your work-life like?
A. I’m a creative multi-tasker. I do best when I have lots of different projects going on to keep me entertained. I do best when I’m brainstorming big-picture ideas and have a lot of time on my own.
B. I’m an all-in enthusiast. I put everything in my work and constantly strategize ways to fine-tune it. I do best in positions of leadership and working towards a shared team goal.
C. I’m very patient and like to work one-on-one or with small groups of people. I also like to use my hands, such as cooking or sewing. I do best when I know I’m helping someone out.
11. What’s your favorite type of yoga?
A. Creative vinyasa flows where the postures get FUNKY! I’m all about the free movement.
B. Power yoga or Ashtanga. I like structure and sweatiness!
C. Yin yoga. I like to chill and focus on my breathing
12. Which animal do you relate to most?
A. A bird—always flying to new heights, exploring unchartered territory and seeing the world from up above.
B. A lion—fierce, courageous, powerful and strong. It knows exactly what it wants.
C. An elephant—kind, loyal, giving, gentle.
Mostly A’s: Vata
Vata is cold, dry, and ever-moving. Mentally, Vata types are creative freethinkers who require constant change, easily becoming bored with the mundane. Ideas circulate through their minds like the autumn leaves and sometimes it’s difficult to organize the tornado in their heads. They’re big over-thinkers and when out of balance are prone towards anxiety, eating disorders, and insomnia.
Vata types have vivid dreams, with thoughts flowing through their minds between the hours 2-6am, when Vata time is highest.
Physically, Vatas are cold and dry like fall leaves. They have dry skin and hair and often feel cold. Their appetite varies like the wind, sometimes strong and other times meek. They love movement and exercise, but can easily overwork themselves, becoming fatigued and weak.
Internally, Vata types are prone towards the accumulation of air (bloating and gas) and dryness in the colon, or constipation.
Mostly B’s: Pitta
Pitta is fiery like the summer heat. Mentally, Pitta types are driven hard-workers who thrive in competition. They’re task-oriented realists that will do whatever it takes to get the job done. Excessive heat accumulation can cause them to become impatient and agitated, though they’re generally strong leaders.
Physically, Pitta types contain a great deal of heat that needs to be released. You can often see the signs of fire in their body manifesting as red tones in their hair and a flushed face. They become overheated easily and cannot tolerate hot, humid days. They perspire more than the other Doshas and are naturally well-muscled. They require strenuous exercise to cool down their bodies and can become addicted to exercise. They have more oily skin and hair that is prone towards acne.
Internally, Pitta types contain a great deal of fire and are able to digest about anything. They often expel superfluous stomach acid, suffering from heartburn and hyperacidity. They do best in routine and their fire comes out when they’ve missed a meal!
Mostly C’s: Kapha
Kapha is moist, soothing, and cold. Mentally, Kapha types are patient, kind, and loyal. They are humorous good-listeners, and often available when someone needs to be heard. However, Kapha types tend to suppress their throat chakras and lock in caged emotions, leading them to feel lonely and depressed. They are prone towards self-indulgent behaviors and binge-eating, convincing themselves it’s a better idea to stay home and start their workout routine on another day. They’re slow to initiate change and find comfort in their routine.
Physically, Kapha types have cold hands and feet. However, unlike Vata, they’re skin is often moist and soft. Kapha types tend to overeat and are prone towards water retention, sluggish metabolism, and weight gain.
Internally, Kapha types have a slow metabolism, often feeling sluggish after a meal. They are attracted to rich, creamy foods like dairy and desserts which have similar characteristics to Kapha energy, making them feel heavier.
*Dosha Combinations. Many people are more than one dosha. Maybe you’re a Vata-Kapha, or Pitta-Vitta. Either way, understanding your Dosha can help you to make healthful choices in your routine and eating habits. Depending on your Dosha, there are certain foods we recommend eating to bring out the best feelings.
To learn more about your Dosha and ideal eating habits, check out Ayurvedic expert Sahara Rose’s workshops at Wanderlust O’ahu. In the meantime, be sure to check out Sahara’s book, the Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda and download her free Dosha guides here.
Sahara Rose is the best-selling author of the „Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda“ and has been called “a leading voice for the millennial generation into the new paradigm shift” by Deepak Chopra. She is a Certified Ayurvedic, Holistic and Sports Nutritionist and host of the Highest Self Podcast. Sahara’s mission is to bridge ancient Ayuredic wisdom with modern Western nutritional science. Visit her website and on Instagram.