Discovering my Ayurvedic mind-body constitution is to me a vital first step to know how to fine-tune my diet and lifestyle in order to optimize my health and be harmonious with the elements that have created me as a person. I have done online test, lengthy questionnaires, everything I would find to help determine my dosha. And yet, all my results -- that I am Vata, no maybe Vata-Pitta -- have been proven wrong!
Today I went to an Ayurvedic physician, trained in India, graduating from a long intensive education, and practicing for many years. She took her time asking me many questions, taking into account that it was a Pitta time of day (midday), Pitta season (summer), and that I am in a Pitta lifestage (30's). She took my pulse and carefully diagnosed my dosha and various physical conditions through this art. In the end, I am definitively, and likely have always been, a Pitta-Kapha. My mind was blown.
The reason for my earlier mix-up is simply that what I saw as a Vata trait (being active) was actually Pitta energy, and Vata's digestion issues in my case were due to Kapha's cold sluggishness. Sometimes a little information is misleading. This reminds me of how I used to try to take care of my health according to my readings but once I went to see a Naturopath, she recommended the opposite of everything I had been doing, and she brought my health back in check.
This post is a reminder to myself that an art and philosophy as beautiful, rich and complex as Ayurveda cannot be understood through self-teaching and reading alone. I think we can certainly follow food and habit guidelines as outlined in multiple sources once we know our dosha, but that essential first step of determining your mind-body constitution is, quite simply put, best left to the professionals. If you have even one Ayurvedic specialist where you live, I certainly urge you to pay a visit, even if you choose not to continue the relationship. Find out your constitution, get your personal list of do's and don'ts, and be on your right path. Of course, if you have some ailments, health complaints or weight issues, by all means open your heart to following this most natural of healing forms with a professional.