Double Doshas and Tri Doshas

When you are a double-dosha type, two doshas are presenting themselves strongly in your constitution. This means that you can have qualities of each of the two doshas. These qualities do not "blend" together, but rather show their influence individually, either one trait or the other will present itself at a time.

The first thing to do is to look at which dosha is dominant in each section, mind and body. You may be one dosha in mind and another in body. If this is the case, you can follow one routine when it comes to the physical and another when it comes to the mental issues. If you have both doshas in both areas, you need to use the remedies that are appropriate for that particular condition at the time.

Vata-Pitta

If Vata is dominant in the body, then you are likely thin like a Vata dosha dominant person. You are also quick, humorous, and talkative, but since Pitta is present, you may be more ambitious that pure Vatas. Pitta lends some stability and strength, but also may bring a tendency toward anger. You may have a stronger digestion because of Pitta's fire, which also improves circulation.

If Pitta is dominant in the body, you'll look more like the muscular Pitta type. Vata's influence may make you a little more prone to get stressed-out, and nervous.

Read about both Vata and Pitta and see what parts apply more to your own situation.

 

Pitta-Kapha

Kapha is so strong structurally that most likely you will have a heavier physique, even if Kapha is not dominant in the body section of the test. Pitta's influence makes you more muscular than pure Kapha types, though.

If Pitta is more dominant in the mind section, you will have more drive and ambition, but that may also mean more of a tendency toward anger and criticism.

If Kapha is more dominant in the mind section, you will be more laid-back, but are more prone to laziness. You need motivation to get active.

Read about both Pitta and Kapha and see what parts apply more to your own situation.

 

Kapha-Vata

This is a pretty rare type because Kapha and Vata seem to be opposites in so many ways.

If Vata is dominant in the body section of the test, then most likely you will be thin like a Vata, yet relaxed and kick-back like a Kapha. You can be quick like a Vata, yet procrastinate like a Kapha. Both Kaphas and Vatas dislike the cold.

If Kapha is dominant in the body, you are more solidly built, and may display Vata in your creativity and zest for life. Because of Vata's digestive sensitivity, watch your diet carefully.

Read about both Kapha and Vata and see what parts apply more to your own situation.

 

Tri Doshas

When all of the scores are within one point of each other, or evenly distributed, you are one of the rare few who are "Tri-Doshic". When you have this mind/body type, you are more likely to remain in balance, because the ratio of Vata, Pitta and Kapha is nearly even. You will tend to have lifelong good health and a good immune system. However, whenever you do get out of balance, you must work harder to balance all three doshas, because you don't have a "lead" dosha to start with.

Sometimes it's hard to figure out some of the answers to the questions, and in that case, your body type may be obscured by a Vata imbalance. Vata is the lead dosha, and can oftentimes present like Pita or Kapha. For example, you may be small-boned, but overweight. A Vata imbalance could very well cause such confusion.

The doshas like to move around, and there are hundreds of ways that they relate to each other - so to be in equal ratio at birth is highly improbable. You may actually be a double-dosha type after all. The most important thing to remember is not to try to fit yourself into a particular category, but to learn as much as you can about yourself. The Tri-Dosha needs to look more carefully at keeping in balance with the seasons and the clock, and seeing how each particular dosha expresses itself in the mind and body. Look at which dosha is dominant in the mind section, and which dosha is more dominant in the body section. You probably have qualities of all three doshas, and you need to find ways to keep in balance that go with the seasons, too. (see the section on the calendar and the clock)

An Ayurvedic physician can provide the most accurate diagnosis of a mind/body type. Typically, the doctor will use a special pulse diagnosis, have you answer a series of questions, and look at your tongue and your physical features to determine your particular combination of doshas. The doctor can also detect any imbalances and recommend specific Ayurvedic herbs and lifestyle adjustments, if necessary. If you are interested in learning more about Ayurveda and adopting this lifestyle, and particularly if you are not feeling well, it would be a good idea to consult an Ayurvedic professional.

Vata, Pitta, and Kapha doshas are present in everyone, just in different proportions. And all three doshas need to be kept in balance. To do that, you need to be aware of your own mind/body type. Your mind/body type is determined by which dosha or doshas are most prevalent in your personality and physical makeup.

Being in balance not only means being healthier and happier, but also being the best person you can be!

Lesson 2: The Doshas: Balance and Bliss for a Lifetime

Calendar

Weather and seasonal changes affect our balance. Everyone can benefit from adapting their routine to the season. November through February, when it is cold and dry, is Vata season. When wind, cold, and dry weather continues, Vata accumulates in the environment which can cause a Vata imbalance in the body. During this season, it is a good idea to adopt a more Vata diet and routine to keep Vata in balance. Stay warm, eat warm foods, and don’t wear yourself out.

Pitta season comes during the summer, July through October, when the weather is hot. To keep Pitta in balance during this time, eat cool foods, such as salads. Drink cool, not ice cold, liquids, and avoid too much sun.

March through June is Kapha season, when it is cold and wet. This is the time you are more likely to get a cold from a Kapha imbalance. Stay warm, eat light meals, and get enough regular exercise to help keep Kapha in balance.

 

 

VATA

PITTA

KAPHA

Season:

November-February (Cold & Dry)

July-October (Hot)

March-June (Cold & Wet)

Clock

Just as the seasons have attributes of the doshas, so do the hours of the day. At sunrise, or about 6:00 A.M., the day’s cycle begins with Kapha. To take advantage of the Kapha cycle, it is best to awaken between 6:00 A.M. and 8:00 A.M. On awakening, you feel slow, relaxed, calm: all Kapha attributes. Kapha lasts until about 10:00 A.M. Even young children can reap the benefits of the Kapha hours by arising at sunrise.

From 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M., it is Pitta time. You are at your most active and efficient during these hours. At noon, or lunchtime, your appetite is at its peak. Eat lunch between noon and 1:00 P.M. to use Pitta to your advantage. Lunch also should be your largest meal of the day. Parents should pack nutritious snacks and lunches for children that include the foods best for their particular mind/body type. This is the best time for children to take tests in school; and it is their most productive learning time.

From 2:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. is Vata time, when you are most alert and creative. A light dinner should be eaten before 6:00 P.M. if possible to take advantage of this energy.

The cycle repeats again in the evening hours. From 6:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. is Kapha time. Sunset brings the body rest and a slower pace. It is best to get to bed by 10:00 P.M. to take advantage of the natural Kapha rhythm of this time. For best digestion, eat dinner at least three hours before bedtime. Younger children who need more sleep should go to bed earlier so that they will still arise at sunrise.

Pitta time is 10:00 P.M. to 2:00 A.M., when Pitta keeps the body warm; the body also uses the Pitta heat to digest food and rebuild body tissues.

Vata time occurs again at 2:00 A.M. to 6:00 A.M. Vata creativity is expressed as active dreams. At this time, brain impulses are at their most active for the night.

Every person is born with a unique balance of each of the three doshas. Generally one or two of the doshas will dominate, and this will determine the Ayurvedic routine for your mind/body type. Remember that we each have Vata, Pitta, and Kapha in our constitution, but in a different proportion. Here are some examples of things you can avoid to help keep your dosha in balance:

 

 

VATA

PITTA

KAPHA

Aggravated by (Avoid):

Wind, Caffeine, Traveling, Irregular Routine, Irregular meals, Cold, dry weather, Excessive mental work

Heat, Alcohol, Smoking, Pressure, Stress, Excessive Spicy or salty foods, Excessive activity

Cold, Damp, Oversleeping, Overeating, Heavy foods, Too little variety in life

 

It might be helpful to think of the doshas as primary colors. Vata is yellow, Pitta is blue, and Kapha is red. Each of us is made up of all three colors, just in different proportions in different areas. The colors don't blend, so there are no orange, green or purple, but there are lighter and darker shades of the primary colors. You could almost, like a coloring book, or a map, draw a picture of someone and put in where the different colors show up, except we can't really illustrate things like personality traits. But if you can picture it in your mind, you can look at which colors show up the most, and most vividly, and you will know your dominant dosha.

The doshas express themselves in every aspect of our lives. They are even active when we are asleep! Here are some ways that our doshas are apparent in the intimacy area of our relationships. I have included money in here because while some people are free about sharing their bodies, it is difficult for them to share their checkbooks.

 

 

VATA

PITTA

KAPHA

Dreams:

Flying, Falling

Problem solving, Test-Taking

Romantic, Involving water

Particularly Sensitive To:

Music Sounds, Touch

Mood lighting

Seductive scents, Good food and drink

Money Spending Tendencies:

Usually spends too much money, often on unnecessary things

Doesn't spend much money on day-to-day things, but splurges on luxuries

Doesn't like spending money, Has lots of money in savings

 

Before we were men and women, we were boys and girls, sons and daughters. In general, our constitution doesn’t change much. When we are in balance, we have the same proportion of Vata, Pitta and Kapha that we were born with.

Clock Part 2

However, just as each season has it’s own dosha, each age has its own dosha, and we are more susceptible to the dosha’s influence at that time in our lives.

 

Kapha

 

Childhood has all the qualities of Kapha. This "season" of our lives lasts from when we are born until about age 20 or so. As children, we are more Kapha-like. We may have a little bit of baby fat, we’re more calm and carefree. We place an emphasis on friendship and love to be cuddled.

Children go through a stage where they are very possessive. They identify things as "mine!" They don’t want to share. They hoard their toys and start collections. These are Kapha traits. As parents, and teachers, we understand that this is a part of their growth process, and gently teach them how to get along with others, how to relate better with other people. We need to remember these lessons as adults in the world!

When we are children, it might take longer for us to learn things, but once we learn them, we never forget. It might have taken quite a while to learn the alphabet, to get all 26 letters in the right order. But I think we’ve all got it down now, even though we don’t practice every day!

When we’re very young, we take a lot of naps, and sleep long hours at a time. Then we go through another stage as teenagers where we sleep a lot, too. This is all very Kapha-like behavior.

Kids also tend to get a lot of colds, especially during the pre-school years. Colds and congestion are Kapha imbalances. Like increases like, and kids share their germs freely when they gather together on a regular basis. Kapha associated with Kapha produces more Kapha, and too much Kapha leads to imbalance. Getting kids on a Kapha routine during these times helps to balance them out.

 

Pitta

Sometime around age 20 our Pitta nature starts taking over. We might be in college, or just entering the working world, and our ambition becomes important to us. We become more competitive, we want to get ahead. We start thinking about money, and wanting those luxury items like fast cars.

At this age we are very busy building our careers, we are super work-oriented. We’re in the thinking and planning phase of our lives. We’ve got this fire burning inside us, so we’re a little more aggressive in going after what we want. We can be impatient.

This is the time when we use our intellect more than any other. Whether we’re studying for exams or learning about our chosen field, we are constantly thinking. We’re also strategizing and positioning ourselves. We look at where we are and where we’re going. We like being in control.

As a part of this planning stage, we’re also looking for our lifetime partner. We’re discerning in this process, sorting out our priorities. We have lots of choices to make, but we know what we want – or at least we think we do! Our sexual desire is at its peak.

 

Vata

Then at about age 40 Vata comes strongly into play, and we become more Vata-like as we grow older. We start noticing that we don’t remember things as well. There’s a joke that circulated around the internet about "Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder." Attention Deficit Disorder is actually a Vata imbalance, so there is a lot of truth in the humor there. At this age, our attention is also divided between work, family, community and other responsibilities, so we naturally have more on our minds. I don’t know who started it, but it goes something this:

It looks like there is finally a diagnosis for my condition: A.A.A.D.D.: Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder. The symptoms? Let’s look at a typical day. First I decide to go to the market. Where did I put that grocery list? Oh, over here by the mail. I put down my car keys and as I’m throwing out the junk mail I notice the garbage can needs to be emptied. So, I put the bills on the table and then I’ll empty the can. But since I’m going out, I’ll get a few bills into the mailbox on my way.

But first I’ve got to find my checkbook, which is in my purse which is... got it! Except I’m out of checks. Back to the desk, and on my way I’ll put those dirty dishes in the dishwasher – which needs to be unloaded first. So, I’ll stack them in the sink for now. What is the cat doing in the sink? Now she’s all wet, I’ve got to dry her off. No towel on the rack? I’ll use the potholder, then throw it in the laundry room. As I head back to the kitchen I’m thinking – now what was it I was going to do?

At the end of the day, I haven’t gotten the groceries, the bills haven’t been paid, there is cat hair in the sink, I’m out of checks and I can’t find my car keys! But I can’t figure out how nothing got done today, because I know I was busy all day long! Yes, this is a serious condition, and I will seek help. But first I think I’ll check my e-mail.

As we get older, more of Vata’s physical ailments present themselves, too. Our fertility decreases. We may begin to have digestive problems, and our hearing may get a little worse. All these things are the effects of more Vata present in our system. This is the time for us to adapt our diet and exercise programs to include more Vata foods and activities.

Sometime after age 60 we may become more Kapha-like again. We slow down and want to surround ourselves with family. We’re more concerned with comfort. It may be more difficult to stimulate ourselves physically to keep in balance, but we can certainly stimulate ourselves mentally, by taking classes and learning new things. We can continue to do things that we enjoy and engage in conversations with people we respect.

 

VATA

PITTA

KAPHA

Learns best by:

Listening

Reading, Visuals

Association

Memory:

Learns quickly, Forgets quickly

Good, sharp memory

Learns slowly, but then doesn't forget

Ayurvedic Approach to Food and Eating

Food for Vata

Vatas are the pickiest eaters of the three mind-body types. This is probably because their digestion is very delicate. Vata governs the colon, and when out of balance, Vatas are prone to Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Since Vata is composed of air and space, it is easy for Vatas to get gas. So, naturally, with all these things going on, Vatas need to watch what they eat.

The Vata appetite, like everything else about this dosha, is variable. Many of those tall, thin super-models (who say that they can eat everything in sight and not gain an ounce) are Vata types. They may gorge themselves at an all-you-can-eat pasta bar, or be content with a breadstick and soda water.

To keep Vata in balance, this couple needs to keep a regular routine when it comes to meals. Even if one of them doesn’t feel like eating a lot, they should each eat something at regular intervals. Vatas tend to like to snack, but then they don’t get the nourishment that they really need from their food. It’s best to establish good eating habits to promote proper, healthy digestion.

The Basic Rules for the Vata Diet:

·  Food should be warm, and cooked, rather than raw.

·  Favor tastes that are sweet, sour and salty.

·  Avoid eating cold, dry foods, like chips or crackers. Try adding a warm dipping sauce to accompany these foods.

·  Avoid caffeine. Caffeine aggravates Vata and causes imbalance.

A Vata breakfast might be oatmeal, rather than cold cereal, sweetened with some brown sugar and soy milk. Many Vatas are lactose intolerant, so soy milk is a nice alternative. Caffeine is particularly aggravating to Vata. So, instead of regular coffee, serve up some herb tea or decaffeinated coffee. Coffee substitutes are often better than coffee because of coffee’s acid content, which may disturb Vata’s digestion.

Because Vatas have such a dilemma with their diets, and because they are such creative people, many Vatas love to cook their own meals. The only problem is that sometimes they’ll taste their way through the recipe so much that they’re not hungry once the meal is prepared!

 

Food for Pitta

Pittas do best on cool, uncooked foods. So the Pitta couple can have lots of salads, raw vegetables, and fresh fruits and be very healthy. Pitta’s digestion is very good, and especially so midday when Pitta is at its peak. It is favorable for the largest meal of the day to be eaten around noontime.

Basically, the foods that Pittas should avoid are the ones that are too spicy or too salty. Pittas can be at risk for ulcers, and should avoid anything too acidic. Alcohol and smoking are two of the most Pitta aggravating things and should be avoided at all costs.

Pittas are frequently thirsty and should always have water or fruit juice handy. Cool drinks are good, especially during the summer.

Basic rules for the Pitta diet:

·  Choose cool or warm, but not very hot foods.

·  Avoid salt, oil (particularly fried foods), and spicy foods.

·  Avoid sour foods like pickles, yogurt, and cheese. Use lemon or lime juice instead of vinegar on salads.

·  Avoid red meat.

·  Eat an abundance of salads and vegetables.

·  Avoid coffee and alcohol.

 

Food for Kapha

Food is Kapha’s biggest weakness. Kaphas love food and love to eat. They especially love sweet foods, though those are the worst for them. One of the big reasons that sweets are so bad for Kaphas is that those tend to be the higher calorie foods, and Kapha is prone to weight gain.

Basic rules for the Kapha diet:

·  Choose foods that are bitter, spicy and tangy.

·  Eat warm foods rather than cold foods.

·  Avoid sugar. Use honey as a sweetener instead.

·  Avoid dairy foods.

·  Avoid fried foods.

·  Eat smaller portions of food.

·  Do not eat in between meals.

·  Do not eat because of your emotional state, whether to celebrate or to soothe.

·  Walk after a meal, do not rest or sleep.

·  Drink fewer liquids during the meal, especially avoiding cold drinks.

 

Digestion

Your mind/body type will determine what kinds of foods you should favor and what kinds of exercise you should do. But regardless of mind/body type, there are certain things that everyone can do on a daily basis to benefit from Ayurveda. You can choose to do as much or as little as is comfortable for your lifestyle. The longer you practice Ayurveda, the easier it becomes, until it is second nature.

Food plays a big role in the Ayurvedic lifestyle routine. There are three parts to the digestive process that are important: digestion of food, assimilation of food, and elimination of food. When our digestion is efficient, the rest follows more easily, we get the optimal benefit from our food and we are more in balance. There is a Vedic expression that basically says that if our digestion is strong, our bodies can turn poison into nectar, but if our digestion is weak, we can turn nectar into poison. The digestive fire is called "agni" in Sanskrit. Ayurveda offers the following guidelines to all of us who want to boost our agni, and improve our digestion:

·  Sit down while you eat. Eat in a quiet atmosphere. Focus on the food; do not read or watch TV as you eat.

·  Don’t rush through meals or linger over them too long.

·  Eat meals at approximately the same times every day.

·  Stop eating before you are completely full.

·  Allow approximately 3 to 6 hours between meals for digestion.

·  Eat when you are hungry, when the stomach is empty.

·  Sip warm water or juice with meals. Drink milk separately from meals, either alone or with other sweet foods.

·  Avoid ice-cold food and beverages.

·  Sit quietly for a few minutes after eating.

This chart shows specifically which tastes are best for each dosha.

 

 

VATA

PITTA

KAPHA

Digestion Tends to Be:

Variable, Delicate

Strong, Intense

Slow, Heavy

Appetite:

Variable

Strong, Hates missing meals or having late meals

Constant

Diet - To Keep in Balance, Favor:

Tastes - Sweet, Sour, Salty, Warm foods

Tastes - Sweet, Astringent, Bitter, Cool foods (not cold)

Tastes - Bitter, Pungent, Astringent, Warm, light foods

 

Here are some examples of specific foods in those taste categories that are balancing for each dosha:

 

Sweet

Salty

Bitter

Pungent

Astringent

sugar, honey, rice, milk, butter, bread

lemon, cheese, yogurt, tomato, grapes, plums, vinegar

salt

bitter, greens, cucumber, tonic water, spinach

beans, alfalfa sprouts, apple, pear, potato

 

Foods to for each Dosha

 

VATA

PITTA

KAPHA

Fruits:

Sweet, soft fruit is best: apricots, avocados, bananas, blueberries, cherries, grapes, mangoes, melon, papaya, peaches, pineapple

Avoid fruits that are sour or unripe. Favor: apples, avocado, cherries, coconut, figs, mangoes, melon, sweet oranges, pears, raisins

Avoid fruits that are sweet, sour, or very juicy. Choose, apples, apricots, cranberries, pears, pomegranates, also any dried fruits are good

Vegetables:

Vegetables should be cooked, not raw. Favor: asparagus, beets, carrots, green beans, sweet potatoes, onions

Asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, green beans, leafy greens, lettuce, okra, peas, potatoes, sweet peppers, zucchini

Avoid Almost all vegetables are good for Kapha, except for sweet and juicy vegetables such as: cucumber, tomato, sweet potato, zucchini

Grains:

Oats (cooked as cereal), rice, wheat

Barley, oats, wheat, white rice

Avoid hot cereals and steamed grains. Choose: barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, rye

Meats:

Avoid red meat. Choose in small quantities: chicken, seafood, turkey

Avoid red meat and most seafood. Choose in small quantities: chicken, turkey, shrimp

Avoid red meat and most seafood. Choose in small quantities: chicken, shrimp, turkey

Nuts and Seeds:

All nuts are okay, Almonds are best

Avoid most nuts and seeds except: Coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds

Avoid most nuts and seeds except: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds

 

We know how important it is to eat well to stay healthy, and we may even understand the right foods to eat to keep us in balance. But in this hectic, crazy, fast-paced world it can still be difficult for us to maintain a good diet.

Part of the problem is that we're running around so much that we rely on "fast-foods." Even when we're eating at home, making dinner could mean we take something out of a cardboard box in the freezer and zap in the microwave. It doesn't have to be this way! We just need to learn a few new habits to discover a new way of eating that nourishes our body and soul.

We talked about Ayurveda's recommendations for each dosha in terms of tastes and specific foods. Now we want to look at how we can use this information to come up with satisfying meals for ourselves and for our loved ones. We don't need to prepare different dishes for different people in the household. Ideally, an Ayurvedic meal consists of all the tastes - and in that way, both our taste buds and our tummies will be pleased.

 

Food preparation

The preparation of food is important in Ayurveda. Meals should be cooked with love, and sweet intention. Whatever emotion we put into our cooking will be mixed into the food we are making. In the movie "Like Water for Chocolate" there is a scene where a girl is making stew. She is heartbroken that her beloved is to marry someone else, and her tears fall into the pot as she adds the vegetables and spices. When her family eats the stew, they are overcome with grief, and they begin to cry. This is a powerful illustration of how emotion can affect the things we create.

It has often been said that chicken soup is the best remedy when someone is sick. And yet, probably the most potent medicinal ingredient is the love with which the soup is made. In that love is the real cure! So, don't cook when you are angry, or sad. Cook with reverence, gratitude, appreciation, and love, and all those good things will come through to be a part of what we take in during our meals.

Cooking can be therapeutic! It is a time for us to be creative and intuitive. The process of cooking itself can be a meditation, opening us up for inspiration. And cooking can be fun, too. It is a great way for us to spend time away from computers and phones, to relax and go with the flow.

 

Presentation

While preparation is important, presentation is important as well. Rather than eating from the driver's seat of your car, or standing up next to a counter, set a nice table for yourself. Clear the table of the mail and newspapers and use place mats or a nice tablecloth. Use "real" dishes rather than paper plates, and "real" utensils rather than plastic ones. Cloth napkins are a nice touch, and are environmentally friendly, too. Candlelight adds a warm glow; be sure to use unscented candles so that the smell of the food is not overpowered. Pay attention to the colors in the room and on the plates, everything should go well together and be pleasing to the eye.

Before eating, take a few moments to express gratitude for the meal, for the people who prepared the meal, and for the time that is spent with loved ones. And during the meal, show respect and appreciation for those at the table by observing etiquette, and by encouraging everyone to participate in the conversation.

 

Balance

The biggest obstacle most of us face when trying to figure out just what to cook is time. There just never seems to be enough of it! And it's not just the cooking time, but the figuring out what to make time, the shopping for ingredients time, the cooking time, the eating time, and the clean-up time. If we followed all the great rules for the healthiest eating, we'd be living our lives around our meals without any time for anything else! That's not good. Remember that Ayurveda is all about balance. The Ayurvedic lifestyle is meant to make our lives easier, so don't strain yourself. Above all else, it is important for us to be flexible.

 

Vegetarian Diet

For many reasons, a vegetarian diet is optimal. Studies have shown that people who don't eat animals have less risk of heart disease and cancer, the two biggest killers in our society today. In terms of ecology, it takes roughly sixteen pounds of grain fed to livestock to produce one pound of hamburger meat. So, eating meat causes a great burden on our global food resources. And then there is the issue of the emotions that permeate our food. There is fear and suffering for the animal that gives its life to become someone's dinner, and do we really want to take that in?

The problem with a vegetarian diet is that most restaurants have not gotten with the program! Many times I have visited beautiful establishments where the only vegetarian item on the menu was "Capellini al Pomodoro" - basically pasta with marinara sauce or some variety of that.

The other problem I find is that many entrees that restaurants consider to be vegetarian are covered in cheese or made with a cream sauce. Ayurveda has nothing against dairy, and even recommends it in some cases. But remember that the Ayurvedic texts were written five thousand years ago when there were no alternatives to dairy. Now we have such great products, made with either rice or soy, that we can get the benefits of the tastes of dairy without the digestive problems that can come with it. Many people are lactose intolerant and simply cannot process dairy in their digestive tracts. Because of the options available to us now, this is no longer a problem!

When ordering in a restaurant, if there is nothing on the menu that fits into the "vegan" category, I simply state my case to the waiter and see what the chef can come up with. If enough of us speak up instead of trying to make do with a salad or a side of French fries, things will eventually change. While a true vegetarian diet technically would prohibit eggs, there are so many things, like breads, that have eggs in them, that I have found that it is better not to strain and just go with it, than to try to avoid eggs altogether. When cooking at home, we have the option of using egg substitutes or egg replacers if we choose to do so.

I believe in having a good time in the kitchen, so I don't get caught up in exact measurements, or specific ingredients. Use foods, spices and smells that you like - be creative, improvise! Consider cooking to be an art rather than a science.

I have found that cooking at home can be easy, and fast, and fun! Using some convenience foods really cuts down on prep time. I've come up with a bunch of different recipes that incorporate what I've learned from Ayurvedic cooking, with an American palette (well, Australian, too, since my husband is from Australia!) that craves variety. And I've figured out ways to cook that save me lots of time and money, too. The best part is that by cooking at home, we're taking care of ourselves and we know exactly what we're eating. And the added benefit is that it's a wonderful way to show the people in your life how much you love them.

Meditation and Mantra

Ayurveda recognizes meditation as one of the most powerful tools to help us restore balance in our mind and body. In this return to silence, we experience a deep sense of peace and relaxation. This reduces the stress that so often triggers the imbalance in our lives that leads to health problems.

Deepak Chopra has revived "Primordial Sound Meditation," which originates from the ancient knowledge of India. In this technique, you use a personal mantra (sound) which is determined by your time and place of birth. When you silently repeat these Primordial Sounds, it stills your mind, and soothes your entire physiology – mind, body and soul. Primordial Sound Meditation is easy to learn and does not require any specific belief or change in behavior or lifestyle. There are teachers and classes all over the world.

There are many other types of meditation, and whichever you choose, Ayurveda recommends that you practice 20 to 30 minutes in the morning and another 20 to 30 minutes in the evening. Time spent in silence or with nature helps keep the doshas in balance and can greatly improve your health and outlook on life. Ayurvedic researchers have found that meditation increases longevity and quality of life and can actually reverse the aging process.

 

MEDITATION TECHNIQUES

Witnessing

Witnessing is a pure form of meditation. It is simply sitting in meditation and watching the thoughts that come and go without judging or commenting. It is interesting to see what our moment-to-moment thoughts consist of from a completely neutral position. With this meditation, you kind of step outside of yourself and observe. It gives you a different vantage point. You see that you are not your thoughts, but you are the thinker of your thoughts.

Watching the Breath

Watching the breath is sometimes called "mindfulness" meditation. It is a Buddhist meditation that focuses on the rise and fall of the breath. While the mind is engaged in focusing on your breathing it cannot focus on its usual distractions. In this meditation, your breathing should be gentle and regular. Just allow it to be the place where your mind is focused and enjoy the feeling of witnessing breathing rather than concentrating on it.

Sitting

This is the basic meditation of Zen Buddhists, for whom the path of enlightenment is everyday life, lived with awareness and totality. Like all meditations, sitting is a tool to help us rediscover the immediacy and freshness of ordinary life, as we did as children. In this meditation, you just sit and allow whatever happens to happen. Your mind will try to distract you with past and present concerns to take you away from fully experiencing the moment. Zen Buddhists believe these transient thoughts are "paper tigers" and that paying attention to them only gives them more energy. In the sitting meditation, you experience the fact that you are not the mind and can ignore its chatter at will. If your mind is particularly rebellious, you can give it a distraction to play with, such as concentrating on the breath. Kaphas, who enjoy the peace and quiet, do very well with the sitting meditation.

Gazing

Another meditation device to still the mind is gazing. The object that you look at is not really important. Traditional objects include a lighted candle, a flower, a religious image, or a picture of a guru. The main point of the exercise is to keep your eyes on a central spot because not moving the eyes restricts the input of information for your brain to process. The idea is to keep your mind quiet by keeping your thoughts simple. When you start to think about something else, keep bringing your attention back to the object of your contemplation. The goal of your meditation is to feel the quality of the object, to relax, and to enjoy what you are seeing. Pittas, because they are so visual, respond well to gazing meditations.

Listening

Meditation is centered in the idea of relaxing and non-doing. When you are thinking, you may hear but you cannot truly listen. As you center your awareness in music, chanting, or natural sounds, you experience the essence of the sound, giving yourself the experience of emptiness, clarity, and receptivity. Vatas, who are sensitive to sounds, enjoy this kind of meditation.

Meditation in Action

Everything can become a meditation, including the most ordinary everyday chores. What transforms daily activities into meditation in action is awareness and wholeheartedness. The application of the Zen principle of giving undivided attention to and really feeling the quality of each of your actions is exemplified in the Japanese tea ceremony and the art of flower arranging. We can bring this same quality of attention to our driving, standing in line at the store, or paying our bills. Being present in the moment imparts an unmistakable peace, effortlessness, and enjoyment to the "little things" that make up the greater whole of life.

Silence

Today's lifestyle is hectic and crazy. We're constantly bombarded with noise in every way shape and form. The phone, the fax, the pager, the microwave, the computer, the TV, the car radio - everything seems to be fighting for our attention! We need some space, in the form of silence, to keep our sanity. Meditation offers that. It is time for us to just "be."

When we meditate with other people, the effects are amplified. The vibratory level is raised so that each person participating receives more benefits. And those vibrations actually extend beyond ourselves out into our communities, so that by meditating, we're not only helping ourselves but helping the world. Meditating with a partner is a wonderful way to spend time together. It is communicating at a higher level, one that is beyond words. Swami Sivananda said in 1945, "Silence is the language of God."

Being completely silent with someone is an intimate experience. You can tell how close you feel with someone by how much time you spend together in silence. If you are aware of those "awkward pauses" and like you need to fill up the space with conversation, then you probably don't feel like you can let your guard down with that person.

Try spending one whole day, either by yourself, or with a loved one, in complete silence. This means no talking, but also, no TV, no radio, no reading - reading is still mental activity, you're listening to the writer's words in your head. The idea is tune in to your inner wisdom. To be quiet for long enough to hear, and pay attention to, the intelligence of the universe.

Mantra

In the ancient Vedic texts, it is explained that everything is made up of sound. Sound, or vibration, is the purest form of energy. And there is no doubt that sound can affect us profoundly. Our words carry weight. We are moved by poetry, and hurt by unkind comments. The music we listen to can uplift us or give us a headache. Thunder makes us shudder. The voice of a loved one provides reassurance.

"Mantra" translated means "instrument of the mind." Mantras are sounds made up of sacred sanskrit syllables, which together help to harness spiritual energy. Chanting mantras, or even merely reciting them, gives us access to our creative spirit, and brings harmony in our mind and body. Sounds can actually help us to activate our inner pharmacy and bring balance to our physiology, creating wellness and vitality.

Mantras are used for various purposes, and there are many different mantras depending on exactly what you want to learn or manifest. Volumes have been written on this subject, and it is a fascinating study. But since we are talking about relationships in this book, let's look specifically at how mantras can help you attract a wonderful partner into your life.

What do you want?

In any endeavor, the results that we achieve are the result of the quality of our intentions. We need to begin with a clear understanding of exactly what it is that we are going for. In the West, we tend to base our criteria for relationships on superficial values. For example, men seem to want women who look good, and women seem to want men with money. Sure, we could look down the list and find a sense of humor, a love of family, and all those good things. But are we really defining what would satisfy the soul? The Vedic texts have a different way of placing value on a relationship, one that is meant to help us grow spiritually as individuals and as couples.

 

The Mantra Ritual

While you can repeat your mantra anywhere, anytime of day, it is nice to set some special time aside just for the ritual of the mantra. Before beginning your practice, wash your hands, as this symbolizes purity. Imagine that the impurities of your mind are being washed away. Find a comfortable place where you can be quiet and undisturbed for awhile. If it will help you get in the mood, you may choose to sit facing the east, to light a candle, and/or to sit in a cross-legged position. Close your eyes, and concentrate on each syllable of the mantra. Mantras may be repeated either silently or out loud. Continue repeating the mantra over and over again. The repetition will bring you a deep sense of peace and joy. When you feel you are done, sit quietly for a moment, and give thanks to the Siddhas, the sages of Ancient India, for their wisdom and generosity in passing these mantras on for us to use. Then slowly open your eyes, take a few breaths, and go on with your usual activity.

 

Mala Beads

A tool that may help to focus the mind, and which is often used in Vedic tradition, is the mala. A mala is very much like a rosary, it helps us to "count" our mantras. It is a string of 108 beads. Some malas have 54 beads, in which case you use the mala to do two "rounds" of mantras. The number 108 is significant on many levels. It is representative of the nine planets, multiplied by the 12 astrological signs. 108 is also a holy number in that 1, written as a vertical line, symbolizes God, or the Supreme Energy from which all other lines begin. 0 represents a circle, showing that God's creation is complete and perfect. And 8, when looked at horizontally, is the mathematical sign for infinity, or eternity, reminding us that creation goes on eternally. In numerology, 108 adds up to the number 9, which is the number of completeness, and wholeness.

The chain of beads represents life as an endless chain of events, of cause and effect. The mala is tied together with a special bead called "Mount Meru." When you reach this bead, the mala is to be turned and the movement continued in the other direction. Mount Meru symbolizes that we can rise above our perceived limitations. The mala is often held at heart level, which emphasizes the devotional aspect of the mantra ritual.

Using a mala gives your hands something to do, which helps to release nervous energy. It's a way of bringing the mind and body together to focus your thought. Roll each bead, one at a time, between your thumb and your ring finger. Repeat the mantra, and move on to the next bead. Mala beads are very personal, as they take on some of your energy as you use them. You may wear your mala beads as a necklace, with the Mount Meru in front, or as a bracelet, wrapped around your wrist. Wearing this mala reminds you of your mantra, and your clear intention. At nighttime, place your mala under your pillow while you sleep, or on your altar.

 

Reminders

Another way to keep this mantra in your mind is to post it wherever you might see it during the day. You can make little notes to yourself to hang on the bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator door, near the phone, on the computer, or even on the dashboard of your car. You can repeat the mantra as you're walking through the grocery store, or working out at the gym.

 

More Mantras

This mantra helps to heal relationships by bringing us clarity of thought: Om Nama Shivaya

This is pronounced: Ohm Nah-mah Shee-vah-yah. Translated it means: I honor the Divine within. The mantra is meant to remind us of the light within ourselves and within each one of us. Used over time, it helps us to grow spiritually to our highest potential. You can use this mantra specifically for that purpose, too.

 

Another well-known mantra for spiritual growth is:

Om Mani Padme Hum

This is pronounced: Ohm Mah-nee Pahd-may Hoom. Translated it means: "I surrender to the jewel (or pearl) within the lotus." It is repeated to remind us of our commitment to our spiritual advancement. It embraces the world with love. The lotus is a frequent symbol in Vedic philosophy. It is a beautiful flower, with many layers, that opens up to the light. And it grows out of the mud and sludge at the bottom of a body of water. This represents how beautiful we are, despite our backgrounds or origins, and how we can unfold and grow when we reach for the light.


This is a mantra to use for world peace, or even peace at home: Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

This is pronounced: Ohm Shahn-tee Shahn-tee Shahn-tee Translated this means: Peace, peace, peace, let there be peace.

 

Mantras for the Doshas

  DOSHA  

 

  MANTRA 

 

PRONUNCIATION  

 PURPOSE

Vata

Ram

Rahm

Helps boost immune system, Alleviates fear and anxiety

Pitta

Shrim

Shreem

Promotes general health and harmony

Kapha

Hum

Hoom

Clearing, Stimulating

Prana, Pranayama & Chakras

Prana

"Prana" in Sanskrit means "breath." In Vedic texts, prana is recognized as the energy of spiritual light, and this is the substance of our subtle body. Prana is an energy that can be transferred from one person to another through various hands-on treatments like massage. We energize our prana through meditation, yoga, mantra practice, and by eating nutritious foods. Another way to work on our prana is through "pranayama" or yogic breathing exercises.

We all need breath to survive. Even plants breathe. And even though this appears to be a kind of mechanical process, one we don't really think about, Ayurveda explains that the whole process of inhaling and exhaling is full of life itself. Notice how the breath changes when our emotions come into play. When we are scared, we tense up, and hold our breath, our breathing is irregular. When we are happy, and laughing, we breathe deeply, our breathing is rhythmic. Pranayama translated means "to control the breath." By doing so, we are helping to settle and control our busy minds.

Pranayama is often considered to be an art, and some people consider it to be an important part of their spiritual practice. Our bodies are made up of pairs of things: two arms, two legs, two lungs, two nostrils, and even two brains, left and right. Pranayama helps us to even out the balance of energy on both sides, including our shiva and shakti, male and female energy. This brings us to a greater sense of awareness.

There are many different types of pranayama, but let's look at just three:

 

1. Alternate Nostril Breathing Pranayama- This exercise is good for all three doshas.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Begin by sitting with your back straight. Be comfortable, either on the floor or in a chair.
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  • Take your right hand thumb, and with it, close your right nostril.
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  • Inhale through your left nostril, deep into the diaphragm. Hold it for a moment.
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  • Close your left nostril with the ring finger of your right hand.
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  • Exhale through your right nostril. Hold it a moment.
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  • Inhale through your right nostril. Hold it a moment.
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  • Close your right nostril with your right thumb and begin the sequence again.

    You can do this exercise for 8-10 "rounds" and will notice an increase in your energy level, and feel like you have a clearer mind.

     

    2. Cooling Pranayama - This exercise is particularly good for Pittas.

  • Curl your tongue into a tube shape and stick it out a little. If you can't curl your tongue, then part your lips, keeping your teeth together, and put your tongue up against your teeth.

     

     

     

     

     

  • Inhale through your mouth, allowing the air to pass over your tongue.
  • Draw your tongue in and close your mouth.

     

     

     

     

     

  • Swallow.
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  • Exhale through the nose, keeping the mouth closed.
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  • 3. Breath of Fire Pranayama - This exercise is good for both Vatas and Kaphas.

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  • Inhale gently through the nose.
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  • Exhale through the nose more actively, with more strength, almost like you're blowing something out your nose.
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  • Inhale gently again.
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  • Blow out through the nose again.
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  • Start out slowly, then gradually increase your speed. The idea is to sound like a train moving slowly at first, and then picking up speed. Practice one round of 20-30 exhales, then rest for a minute or so. You can practice up to five rounds at a time, twice a day.

    The Chakras

    The chakras work with the five elements (earth, water, fire, air, and ether) to provide energy to various parts of the mind and body. When our chakras are functioning well, we are healthier, and happier. One way to enliven the chakras is by touching the physical body.

     

    Chakra (Sanskrit Name) Associated Color Location Element Influences Sense Dosha
    Muladhara Red Base of the spine Earth Energy of elimination Smell Kapha
    Swadhisthana Orange Between the navel and the base of the spine Water Fertility, sexual energy, creativity Taste Kapha
    Manipura Yellow The navel area, the solar plexus Fire The stomach, the energy of digestion, asorption Sight Pitta
    Anahata Green The heart Air The heart, the energy for circulation and respiration, supports the immune system Touch Vata
    Vishuddha Blue The throat Ether Speech, thyroid Sound Vata
    Ajna Indigo Between and slightly above the brows (third eye) Mind (combination of all) The brain Intuition --
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    The seventh chakra (sahasrara) is often called the crown chakra. It located at the top of the head, and its color is violet. You can see that the colors of the chakras correspond with the colors of the rainbow. And, like those colors, you can remember the sequence with the name ROY G. BIV, for the first letters in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

    We have other, smaller, chakras, in the palms of our hands and the soles of our feet. So by touching others, we meld our energy with theirs. The best way to hug someone, to make them really feel good and hugged, is to embrace them heart to heart. Put your left palm on the base of their spine, and with your right hand open, rub up and down their back.

     

    THE FOUR YOGAS

    In Vedanta, there are four yogas, or paths, through which to pursue our spirituality. The word "yoga" comes from the root sanskrit word "yuj" which means to yoke, or to unite. The practice of yoga helps us to unite with spirit.

     

    Jnana yoga is the path of knowledge. This is the path that is directed by the mind. To follow this path, we use affirmations, to remind ourselves about what is real, and what is the truth. This "right thinking" helps us to shed the veil of illusion and see ourselves as we truly are, pure, perfect and free. Jnana Yoga takes reasoning, and Pittas, who are so good at intellectualizing, may be drawn to this path.

     

    Karma Yoga is the path of work. But it is work without attachment to the end result. So, rather than working for a paycheck, it is working as a spiritual offering. This might also be called the path of service. The path of karma explains that working for money, or promotions, or praise, leads us to disappointment, because we can never meet all of our expectations, it is never "enough." Instead, when we work, or perform actions, as a service to ourselves and to others, we can experience spirit in everything we do. Vatas, who are so active and not usually motivated by money, may be drawn to Karma Yoga.

     

    Raja Yoga is known as the path of meditation. The idea is that by stilling the mind, through meditation, we can experience more of our true selves. It explains that we need to settle down the mind, which is constantly stirred up with thoughts just as a lake is muddied through activity. When the lake settles down, the water is becomes clear, and so it is with our mind. This tranquil state of mind lets us think clearly, and see what is important in life. Kaphas, who like to be still and quiet, may be attracted to Raja Yoga.

     

    Bhakti Yoga is the path of love. Bhakti means devotion. It is said that through love and devotion, we discover who we truly are. This is love of all creation. When we love without expectation, we experience the greatest feeling there is. Love is pure awareness.

    There is a power, a positive energy that comes with love, and we can utilize it for our spiritual growth. Vedanta explains that our love for others is unselfish and without motive when we can see the spirit within them. It is this spirit whom we truly love. So we can learn to look beyond the fabulous face and cute figure, all limiting qualities of the human rather than the divine, and instead experience love heart to heart. Love is available to all of us, and it is an irresistible force!

     

     

    If western medicine leaves you with more questions then answers, Ayurveda may be the key. 

    Now is the time to set up an Ayurvedic consultation with Dr. Beena Vesikar. 

    Email to see what is available.