Ayurveda is a healing modality indigenous to India. Often referred to as the ‘sister science’ of yoga, it has been practiced as a medical system for more than 5000 years and is still highly effective and widely used. The word Ayurveda means “science of life” or “lore of life” in Sanskrit. The guiding principle of Ayurveda is to promote health through the balance of the five natural elements— earth, water, fire, air and space (ether).
Due to the unique qualities of the elements, it is believed that pairing them creates three distinct energetic constitutions or “doshas”. Within the human body, the three doshas are known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each has specific mental and physical attributes and governs certain bodily functions.
What Are the Three Doshas?
VATA is composed of air and space and controls all movement and communication in the body including communication between neurons, circulation, breath, voice, transportation of nutrients to cells and excretion of waste. Vata is also associated with creativity, intuition, open-mindedness and adaptability.
PITTA is comprised of fire and water and is responsible for transformation, digestion, assimilation and production of cell energy. It contributes to our strength, both mental and physical. Pitta is also considered the fire or light that ignites our passion, motivation, ambition, courage and intellect.
KAPHA is made up of earth and water. Its main function is to lubricate and protect. It governs plasma, mucous and adipose tissue, construction of cell membrane as well as growth and development of the body from fetus to adult. Emotionally, Kapha is also about compassion, reliability, mental stability and memory.
Finding Balance with Ayurveda
According to the Ayurvedic tradition, being in a balanced state vs. being in an imbalanced state is based for everyone on their own unique constitutional balance that combines the five elements and the doshas in distinctive proportions. Although we have all three doshas present within us, most people have one or two dominant doshas. This is our prakurti, or essential nature. It reflects our balanced state or optimum health. We also have a vikruti, which is an acquired state, reflecting our imbalances or health concerns. When treating an ailment with Ayurveda, both the prakurti and the vikruti are taken into consideration.
Our Berlin yoga classes are committed to creating an environment where people can live in optimal health and wellness. We feel that Ayurveda paired with yoga can be a wonderful way to practice emotional and physical balance. Finding out how to determine your dosha can be just the beginning. If you are around this summer, check out our next workshop on Ayurveda in Berlin.