I've always had my nose in either a weather, health or self-help book. About 6 years ago, I kept running across a way to describe imbalances in the body through the elements. Feeling a keen connection with nature and being an avid outdoor adventurer, this drew me in. Here's what I was uncovering.
Ayurveda is the ancient wisdom from India and categorizes the 5 elements into 3 combinations, or doshas. They are functional concepts that help us understand ourselves and the world around us. Each play a critical role in our bodies, mind and physical world.
Here are the doshas in relation to the elements.
Vata = Air + Ether (movement energy)
Pitta = Fire + Water (transformative energy)
Kapha = Water + Earth (binding energy)
These elements are found in everything and everyone in varying amounts. They are present in thoughts, food, bodies, nature and energy. If we feel out of balance in our mental and physical health, the elements are usually imbalanced as well.
To discover your mind/body type, check out this Dosha Quiz to help bring to light where you can start.
Once you understand your current ratio of the elements you can then learn more about the dosha qualities.
Vata shows up as clear, dry, light, mobile and cold - communication.
Pitta shows up as hot, sharp, spreading and oily - metabolism.
Kapha shows up as slow, heavy, dense, soft, cloudy and smooth - structure.
Ok, this is where I became so fascinated years ago. Let me share some examples of where you can find these in nature. The Fall season is vata. Leaves become dry, the wind picks up and the air becomes colder. You can experience too much vata when you have excess screen time. A hot pepper is pitta. When you eat one, the hot sensation spreads in your mouth. The sun is also pitta and can create too much heat in the body. The vegetable squash in kapha. It grows in the ground, is smooth to the touch and are heavy in weight. Receiving or giving a hug is also very kapha.
Depending on our body and lifestyle habits you can aggravate a quality, to pacify it you need the opposite quality. Just as you desire a blanket if you are cold. Same goes for inflamed, burned skin by the sun (the opposite of hot is cool) so cooling aloe will pacify the aggravated pitta.
Just like the seasons, the doshas fluctuate in your body and mind and it's in your best interest to stay fluid and remedy your imbalances as they arise. Cultivating an understanding of the doshas within yourself is a wonderful tool to strengthen your self-awareness and improve your overall well-being.