by Lena Shmidt

Did you know your body is made of all the elements that surround us? You are earth! You are water! You are fire! You are air! You are space! According to Ayurveda, often considered the sister science to yoga philosophy, we are each made of the elements that surround us. Ayurveda translates to “science of life” and its tenets can be found in the ancient Sanskrit texts of the Vedas from India. According to Ayurvedic philosophy the three doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—are the energies that define every person’s makeup. The doshas are holistic understandings of our unique blends of physical, mental, and emotional systems. Understanding the doshas can help us bring harmony to our own lives; the ultimate goal in Ayurvedic medicine is balance.

Knowing and understanding the nuances of your dosha can help you decide which activities will nurture your well-being, which foods will nourish you best, and how to help soothe strong emotions when life gets hectic. In Modern Ayurveda: Rituals, Recipes, and Remedies for Balance, author and yoga teacher Ali Cramer explains that Ayurveda is, “a complete system based on the elements of nature and living a life in accordance with the natural rhythms of the world.”

The objective of Ayurvedic medicine is healing imbalance. Imbalance can come from the seasons, the environment around us, life circumstances, the food and drink we consume, the media we consume, and the energy of the people we are around. You may experience imbalance during a period of transition such as starting a new job, moving to a new home, or a relationship changing. You may experience imbalance if you eat too much sugar for breakfast, play violent video games, or feel worried about a family situation. The main takeaways to remember from Ayurvedic philosophy are: like increases like, opposites bring balance, and one size does not fit all.

You can find out your own dosha by using your intuition, taking a quiz online, or consulting an Ayurvedic practitioner who will feel your pulse to determine your dosha. We all have all of the elements within us, though usually there is one combination that dominates and influences one’s life experience. Vata dosha is comprised of the elements of air and space. Pitta dosha is comprised of the elements of fire and water. Kapha dosha is comprised of the elements water and earth Knowing your dosha can help you lead a harmonious life.

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