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Vata, Pitta and Kapha: All You Need to Know About the Ayurvedic Body Types

Since its inception 5000 years ago, Ayurveda has come to be recognised internationally as a core practice in the ways of living. The many natural remedies and treatment procedures formulated by Ayurvedic practitioners are all based out of one key factor - the body type.

Ayurveda believes that the human being’s mental, physical and spiritual form is a coming together of five naturally existing elements - Earth, air, fire, water and ether. Each of these five elements plays an important role in the functioning of the body’s vital systems. According to the science of life, a person is said to be at the peak of mental and physical performance capabilities when all these elements are in perfect harmony with each other. Ayurvedic treatments ultimately focus on achieving such a balance.

Ayurveda characterises the human body into three major types - Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each type is based on the elemental powers it possesses. Ayurvedic practitioners can determine a body type through an initial examination of a person’s vital signs, including pulse rate and breathing.

Let’s have an in-depth look at the three body types:

Vata Body Type

The Vata body type is made up of air and ether elements. Mobility, speech, nerve reactions and blood circulation are all essential manifestations of the Vata dosha.

Vata Dosha - Character Traits

People with Vata characteristics are generally said to be very creative. Their upbeat attitude and enthusiasm help them explore and experience many things in life. They are also rather active and outdoorsy.

Vata’s creative abilities extend to their taste in music and love for dance and other art forms. They have a simplistic and minimal lifestyle, preferring a cozy environment that radiates warmth and comfort.

On the flip side, Vata can at times be forgetful and resort to an uncontrollable urge to spend money. This is why taking the time out to relax is important for the Vata person, and thankfully, they find that easy to do due to their strong spiritual connections. A quick nap or a nice hot oil massage will surely make the Vata person a happy one.

Vata Dosha - Physical Appearance

People with Vata body type are usually either very tall or short in stature. They have a slim build akin to a model. Their hair is normally fuzzy, while their teeth aren’t perfectly aligned. Vatas also tend to get heavily tanned when out in the sun for longer periods.

Caring for the Vata Body Type

When it comes to grooming and self-care, people with Vata body type will find most comfort in warmer climates where there is peace, quiet and comfort. Having a consistent and well-balanced intake of food and beverages is essential. Vata people should also avoid taking up strenuous physical activity, and rather opt in for light workout sessions that involve yoga and meditation. For a well-balanced diet, Vata people should focus on consuming:

Spices in small quantities
Boiled vegetables
Sweet fruits like bananas, grapes and papayas

After every meal, drinking a glass of lukewarm water/milk mixed with prescribed Ayurvedic herbs will greatly help in digestion.

Pitta Body Type

The Pitta body type is made up of water and fire elements. Metabolic functions such as hunger, thirst, intelligence and hormones are all essential manifestations of the Pitta dosha.

Pitta Dosha - Character Traits

People with Pitta body type are known to be very organised. They are very practical and well-structured in their approach to getting things done and are great in managerial tasks. They prefer spacious and well-ventilated environments and are quite casual in their dressing sense. Pitta’s are also great teachers and have good money management skills.

If the fire element takes over, Pitta people tend to get temperamental and at times would want to assert dominance over their peers. Strong massages with cooling oils and a good long outdoor workout will help Pitta’s blow off some steam.

Pitta Dosha - Physical Appearance

The typical Pitta body type is of average stature with a muscular build. They have medium-sized eyes with a piercing gaze. Their teeth are mostly yellowish and due to their sensitive skin, they tend to get sunburnt easily.

Caring for the Pitta Body Type

Imbalances in the Pitta body type can result in gastrointestinal related problems like ulcers and skin inflammation. It is important that people with this body type pay close attention to the food they eat. Even while working out, extreme sessions are best avoided and opting for a healthy dose of cardio-based exercises is beneficial. For a well-balanced diet, Pitta people should focus on consuming:

Sweet fruits like apples and oranges
Regular intake of all types of vegetables
Less spice intake

After every meal, drinking a glass of cold water/milk/ghee mixed with prescribed Ayurvedic herbs will greatly help in digestion.

Kapha Body Type

The elements of water and earth are dominant in the Kapha body type. Since these elements are complements of each other, they are responsible for maintaining solidity in the structure and functions of the body.

Kapha Dosha - Character Traits

People with the Kapha body type are said to be very calm and level headed. They can remember minute details, thus make for great conversationalists. They are also very patient and prefer having a routine lifestyle.

When there is an imbalance, Kapha people tend to get lazy and start overeating. They also have a habit of holding on to things and being very attached to material possessions.

Kapha Dosha - Physical Appearance

Women with the Kapha body type have an “hourglass” figure, further recognised for their fuller lips, big eyes and thick hair. They also have smooth skin and whiter teeth.

Caring for the Vata Body Type

The Kapha body type can fall victim to an uncontrolled eating spree. Therefore, it is important for people with this body type to be very conscious of what they consume in order to avoid becoming overweight. Classic Ayurvedic Panchakarma therapy is just what the Kapha body type needs to help achieve inner peace and relaxation. For a well-balanced diet, Kapha people should focus on consuming:

A small mix of dry and fresh fruits at least an hour before and after breakfast or lunch

Spicy or bitter vegetables
All forms of herbs and spices

After every meal, having a spoonful of organic honey mixed with prescribed Ayurvedic herbs will greatly help in digestion.

The Tridosha - Achieving Perfect Balance Between the Body Types

The Tridosha is a combination of Vata, Pitta and Kapha Ayurvedic body types. This is a symbolism of perfect balance, of ultimate harmony between all the elements that rule bodily functions. Achieving this body type is no easy feat, as it requires years of practice, dedication, and belief in oneself that it can be accomplished.

Here are a few essential life hacks that you should begin practicing in order to achieve Tridosha.

A Healthy and Adequate Amount of Sleep: Rest and relaxation play a central role in maintaining the balance between the doshas. Setting a good sleep cycle - going to bed by 10 PM and waking up at 6 AM, will keep your body well rested and reset for the new day. Avoid sleeping at odd hours, taking prolonged naps or staying awake at night.

Mental and Physical Activity: Ayurvedic treatments are usually coupled with the practice of Yoga and meditation, and this is for good reason. Exercising too much or too little will result in an imbalance dosha, so pick what’s best for you and be consistent in it.

Eating Right: Everything in moderation is the key. Each dosha benefits from certain types of foods. Consulting an Ayurvedic practitioner will give you a better idea as to what is best consumed to regain the balance.

Avoiding Bad Habits: Any form of unprescribed or illegal external substance can totally flip the balance of your dosha. Engaging in smoking and drinking will also adversely affect your health over time.

Caring for the Hair and Skin: Your lifestyle directly reflects on the appearance and condition of your hair and skin. By looking after your hair and skin with visits to such experts and a proper regime in place, you will, over time, be able to achieve an improved balance of doshas.

Eager to get the perfect balance and harmony of your dosha? Pay a visit to Govardhan Ecovillage to experience relaxing and uplifting Ayurvedic treatments.