So, what the heck are doshas? Yogi Cameron explains.

by Jun 2, 2014Wellness0 comments

The first time I heard of Ayurveda I was working as a website technician for BanyanBotanicals.com. I thought it sounded weird. I couldn’t even pronounce “Ayurveda,” and “Dosha” sounded like something you order at an Indian restaurant.

Eight years later I was reintroduced to Ayurveda by the mother of someone I was dating. She truly believes an Ayurvedic lifestyle is the secret to good health, inner peace, and no frown lines.

Colour me intrigued.

After some research I learned Ayurveda is a form of traditional east Indian medicine dating back 5,000 years. While Ayurveda is often given a bad name because of Ayurvedic medicines we now know to be harmful — like those containing lead or mercury– Ayurveda has many positive practices that are helpful even now in our era of pill-popping.

When we choose to live an Ayurvedic lifestyle, we have the potential to strengthen our immune system, maintain homeostasis, and significantly reduce the possibilities of any unwanted side effects we might experience as a result of drugs or other unnatural regimens. I don’t know about you, but I’m all about boosting my immune system and avoiding pharmaceuticals.Ayurvedic practioners believe your body has three energy types called doshas, and a myriad of disturbances with our bodies can occur of these are out of balance.

Yogi Cameron began studying Ayurveda in 2003 in India at Arsha Yoga under his Guru Dr. Vasudevan, and was kind enough to give me some insight into the doshas.

“Dosha refers to the five different elements in our bodies: ether, air, earth, water and fire,” Yogi Cameron explains. “In the Ayurvedic system, water is combined with fire and earth so to make only three doshas of Air, Fire, and Earth. Air is the element that provides movement to everything. Fire is the element that heats and energizes everything while Earth is the element that is the heaviest and gives grounding and stability to everything.”

The doshas are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

Vata is Airy, and helps us to explore creativity and inquisitiveness, and remain in motion. A balanced Vata can be creative, artistic, and sensitive. When excessive, Vata energy can cause dry skin, insomnia, constipation, and various nervous disorders.

Pitta is Fiery, and what drives us to achieve, accomplish goals, and exhibit fiery qualities like passion and anger. People who are considered Pittas are often described as “type A, overachievers.” When excessive, Pitta energy can cause indigestion, liver complaints, bloating, fatigue, and other ailments.

Kapha is Earthy, and what helps us to feel grounded, nurture others, and exhibit a calming presence in stressful situations. Kaphas tend to be calm, loving, and begrudge change. When excessive, Kapha energy can cause weight gain, diabetes, and a feeling of lethargy.

“When the doshas move up or down too much we experience discomfort,” Yogi Cameron says. “If they more even more extremely, we experience disease. Just like in nature if the wind blows too strongly and becomes a hurricane it will destroy everything in its path.”

I’m a Pitta, but I used to be Vata. So what gives? Can my dosha change?

“Prakruti is the nature we are born with that really doesn’t change much during our lifetime,” says Yogi Cameron. “Prakruti refers to the distinct character each and everyone of us has. Our dosha change for many reasons including the seasons, lifestyle changes, or the phase of life we are going through. There are also elements in our mind called Gunas. These also tend to move depending on our thinking process. It is beneficial to take a dosha/guna quiz – like the one on my site – to see if your body and mind are in balance and what you can do to get back into equilibrium.”

Embracing Ayurveda seems like a challenge, and an overwhelming one at that. Luckily, Yogi Cameron has some advice for those of us who are just starting to become more aware: “Don’t try to take in everything at once as Ayurveda is about a lifestyle which will take some years to perfect. The good news is that it is a system based on how nature operates so if you start to live a more green and organic lifestyle that you will become familiar with it very quickly.”

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