Over the last few weeks, my blog series focused on simple rituals to invite Spirit back into your daily life. They take no more than a few minutes and easily fit into your schedule. Here’s the links to all four if you missed any:
Using Ritual to Listen to Spirit (introductory blog in my last newsletter email)
My next series will be on simple ways to incorporate Ayurveda into your life and just like my last series of blogs, you won’t get the subsequent ones in a weekly email like this newsletter. I don’t think most want a weekly email from anyone! You can check out my blog page weekly here —the same page you go to for the current newsletter which IS sent via email once a month or so.
The Science of Life
What is Ayurveda? Ayurveda is a sister science to Yoga. It literally translates to the “Science of Life” and incorporates all aspects of health—physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Ayurveda is a Vedic Science that’s a 5000 year old traditional science designed to bring the body back to balance in order to heal from within. It incorporates nutrition, lifestyle, breath practices and more to bring you to balance—mind, body, and spirit.
Rather than looking at and “fixing” symptoms, Ayurveda looks at the whole person and seeks to balance areas that are out of kilter. Removing the imbalances goes to the root cause vs. just applying a bandage to the symptoms.
If you give the body what it needs to balance, it will heal itself naturally. Our bodies want to heal. It is our body’s nature to heal. We just have to give it the tools it needs for balance.
In Ayurveda, the whole universe is an interplay of the energies of the five elements—earth, water, fire, air, and ether or space. These are the building blocks.
Ayurveda groups the five elements into three basic types of energies that define every person’s makeup, and are present everywhere, called the “Three Doshas”. We all have a mix of all three. The Three Doshas, or energetic personality types as I like to refer to them, are:
- Vata—comprised of Air and Space
- Pitta—comprised of Fire and Water
- Kapha—comprised of Earth and Water.
We start by assessing your “essential nature” known in Ayurveda as “Prakruti”. What characteristics and preferences have you had for most of the decades of your life?
I remember when I first started looking into Ayurveda well over ten years ago, I had so many a-ha’s! THAT’s why I like salty foods and warm, mushy foods! Oh! No wonder I prefer warm, humid weather! Ahh! Yes, I can be like a white tornado at times and I do burn out quickly.
You see, I’m primarily a poster-child Vata dosha. Each dosha has a set of qualities that go with them:
- Vata: cold, dry, light, subtle, clear, rough and mobile
- Pitta: Hot, sharp, light, liquid, spreading, and oily
- Kapha: Heavy, dull, cool/cold, oily, liquid, smooth, dense, soft, static, sticky, cloudy, hard, and gross
These are basically descriptors (known in Ayurveda as “gunas”) you can see in your nature. Like increases like. Opposites soothe.
I’m already “cold” which is why I don’t prefer being in cold weather. My infamous “rain barrel” is already full of cold. Likewise for dry—dry skin, dry hair, cracking joints that need a little extra lubrication. I prefer humidity. You get what I mean.
The seasons outside also have characteristics putting them in the doshic categories as well. Early winter starts out Vata and late winter leans toward Kapha as we go into spring. Spring starts out Kapha and eases into Pitta as we head into summer. Summer starts out Pitta and eases into Vata as we approach autumn.
The seasons of our life can also be seen through the doshic lens. Our younger years are Kapha years. It’s all about nourishment and growth—muscles grow (dense, soft), bones grow (dense, gross, hard). Our middle years are Pitta dominant. Pitta is known for transformation—goals have focus (sharp) and desire (fire). What are you becoming (spreading)? Vata predominates our latter years. There’s more dry, rough characteristics, right? Our nervous system starts to become affected more easily as we age (see the subtle, mobile characteristic there in our nervous system?) This is simplifying it quite a bit but it gives you a general idea.
In addition to being a Vata dosha, I’m also approaching my “Vata” years. So my Vata rain barrel is really full and tends to get off balance more easily as I’ve aged. I’ve learned to incorporate the opposites with gusto as I’ve studied Ayurveda, increasing healthy oils both inside and out—more so during the cold, dry seasons.
Once you’ve established your “essential nature” that’s been with you most of your life, you take the quiz again to see where you are currently, during the last few months or so. This is known in Ayurveda as “Vikruti” and refers to your nature of imbalance. If you’ve been having a lot of stress, this will show up in various ways in your answers. We then compare the first take of the quiz, to your second take of the quiz to see what might be off balance and needing some assistance.
As explained on the quiz, if your Vikruti (second take for how you are currently) is stronger in a particular dosha than your Prakruti (first take for how you’ve been most of your life) was, you’ll want to follow a routine soothing to that dosha to bring it back into balance. If your Prakruti and Vikruti are about the same, you’d follow a routine for your strongest dosha.
So are you ready to see where your essential nature lands? What have you got to lose but maybe that annoying rash, headache, extra weight, insomnia, stress? You fill in the blank (literally)! Just have fun with it!
By the way, I’ve taken my share of dosha quizzes! I probably took my first quiz when I was still living in Madison, Wisconsin in the 90’s. My first Ayurveda training was back in 2010 with YogaFit’s Level 1 program and I completed Level 2 in 2015. The latter part of 2015 I completed a YogaLean week-long immersion training in Austin, TX which incorporated Ayurveda, and in between I completed a 9-month “Living Ayurveda” program with Cate Stillman. Dosha quizzes were used in each program.
My current Ayurveda program is with Yoga Veda Institute and it is a 600-hour advanced track program for their Ayurvedic Health Counselor program meeting the standards set forth by the National Ayurvedic Medical Association. They have their own dosha quiz too.
Yoga Veda’s nutrition module suggested we create our own dosha quiz, using descriptors we feel our audience might prefer or that we’re more comfortable with. So I created one of my own, referencing some of the ones I’m familiar with as well as Dr. Vasant Lad’s (M.A.Sc.) Textbook of Ayurveda. A complete guide to clinical assessment. Volume 2.
Would you please give me the honor of being one of the first to check out my personal “Better Day Yoga Dosha Quiz”? There are two pages below–you need to hover your mouse over the bottom to see the prompt to get to the second page. Or you can access a downloadable version here.
The instructions are at the top. Total the columns each time you take the quiz to find which dosha is your predominant dosha for your prakruti (how you’ve been most of your life) and then again for your vikruti (how you’ve been the past couple of months or so).
I look forward to hearing back from many of you! Thank you so much!
Perfect health is achieved by establishing
and having a deep knowing of the Truth of the Self.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this first installation of my next blog series on Ayurveda! Hope to see you next week on one of my social media sites!
Adding to my Ayurvedic Knowledge!
As mentioned above, I’m currently continuing my Ayurvedic studies by participating in a 600-hour Ayurvedic Health Counselor program. If you are interested in having an Ayurvedic one-on-one therapy session, please contact me! I’ve been incorporating Ayurveda into my one-on-one therapy sessions for some time now. Click and scroll down to Private Consultations/Therapeutic Yoga one-on-one/Single yoga class for a special occasion or gift
Or if you want to gather with a group of friends to learn how to live a lean lifestyle while incorporating Ayurvedic principles into your daily regimen, check out my YogaLean workshop !
Please feel free to share this blog series or the above opportunities with your friends! I’d really appreciate it!
Sandy Krzyzanowski, E-RYT200, RYT500, C-IAYT
Better Day Yoga, LLC
Mail to: 5024 Oxborough Gardens
Brooklyn Park, MN 55443-3990
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