Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Setting the record straight by going to see an Ayurvedic physician for a proper diagnosis

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.


Unknown said...

JALEBI Music Flash Message:
Dear Claudia,
Namaste! Hare Krsna! : )
Thanks for the advice about really finding our what our dosha is by consulting a professional! Hmmmm....I too have been convinced for about 3 three years now that I am a VATA!? Or at most a VATA-PITTA!!!

I am American by birth and culture but I am presently living and working in Italy as an ESL teacher and translator....so it will not be so easy to find an Ayurveda doctor or professional! But as they say....where there is a will there is a way! (smile)

Let me take this opportunity to say that your Ayurveda blog..... chock full of vegan / vegetarian recipes and food tips, AND dosha conscious ingredient adaptations .....is truly wonderful! I was really pleasantly surprised to discover your excellent blog!

Please keep up the great work! Many people need to see ....and taste...food that is animal free (vegan) or vegetarian Ayurvedic to understand that food that is good for your health and spiritual consciousness is also second to none..... as far as flavor and eye appeal are concerned!

Guess what?! I am signing up for your Recipe Club and I would also like to put a link to your blog on our JALEBI Music web site. By the way I am also the lead singer for a band called JALEBI...that creates transcendental music....good for the ears and especially for the heart and soul! (smile) Jalebis are also nice to eat! Any way I will send you a private email to explain more. Ok? Ok!

Once again thank you for your wonderful Ayurveda blog! : )

Bye for now!
Hare Krsna! Namaste,baby! :)
Shirley Marie Bradby (MiraBai Devi Dasi)

Julia said...

Hi Fran,

very interesting blog. I too just went to a Ayurvedic doctor and found out that I was not in fact Vata Kapha, as I had always thought I was, but instead Vata Pitta.

Which makes a lot of sense now I think about it. I was mislead by my blonde hair and blue eyes, it makes me realise Ayurveda is much more subtle and complex than a quiz.

Anyway, I started my own Ayurvedic blog just recently, and was wondering if you are interested checking it out.


Anonymous said...

Hi Fran,
I am very interested in seeking the professional advice of an Ayureveda counselor but want to make sure that my time and money are well spent with a reliable individual. Do you have any tips for determining this? There are so many quacks these days, especially when you look through some of these Whole Person type magazines. I signed up for your Recipe Club a while ago and have completely enjoyed your wonderful recipes. Great Blog! Thanks so much!


Claudia Davila (Fran) said...

It's a conundrum trying to find a good doctor, let alone a practitioner of an unregulated alternative practice!

This may sound completely unfair, but I find it a little easier looking for an Ayurvedic practitioner who studied, graduated and practiced in India. That is the country of origin of this ancient way-of-life medicine so I feel like you can't go wrong. That said, there are for sure non-Indian practitioners who studied in Western institutions and are worth their letters.

I would firstly look for an Ayurvedic health center (as opposed to someone working from home, not that there's anything wrong with that), where there are more than one practitioner to choose from. Also, avoid "spa" health centers, where their focus tends to be purely cosmetic (massage, herb steam baths, etc). And lastly, ask where they studied and how long they've been practicing. Besides that, see if there are Ayurvedic Associations online who could recommend practitioners in your city.

Hope this helps, Rachel, and thanks so much for your kind words about my Recipe Club, I'm thrilled you're enjoying the recipes!

Jon said...

Hi all,

I am new to this blog but I am very interested in Ayurveda and have recently come across a very well educated Ayurvedic practitioner. She owns a Yoga and Healing studio in the Atlanta area and has been a practicing Ayurvedic educator for a few years. I have recently had a constitution analysis and was surprised to find out so much about an ancient art that I was unaware of. My purposes for posting to this blog are one to recommend someone I think is truly into Ayurveda for healing purposes and two to commend you on a very interesting blog. I have included a URL to the portion of her site with excellent ayurvedic information (http://sattvahealing.com/ayurveda.shtml).


Angela@veggievinyasa said...

Hi, I just found your blog and I absolutely love it! (I was googling mung beans and rice) I can't seem to figure out my own dosha and it never occurred to me to see an expert. I found one a few blocks from my house and I can't wait to see what they say. Thanks for sharing and making Ayurveda easy to understand.

Anonymous said...

Hi Fran,
I live in Toronto and I am very interested in seeking an Ayurvedic practioner and Naturopathic doctor. I haven't found any that have really resolved my issues.
Can you recommend any of your practioners that you are happy with.
Much appreciative

Claudia said...

Hello Nadia!

I've gone to a few different naturopaths, looking for the right fit. I found one but she's moving away to Ottawa :-( I haven't found the right fit for an Ayurvedic practitioner either! But the search continues. Take a look at Vitality magazine for adverts. Take a look also at CAISH. Sorry I can't be of more help. Best of luck!

kathryn templeton said...

Such a great blog! I will certainly offer your site to our students at the Himilayan Institute! I want to thank you for this blog's particular insight :-) Self study is amazing and important, but so i working with a teacher... especially on a subject as vast and ancient/ alive as ayurveda.

Readers might consider another idea that is more "western" is interest in Prakruti or consitution. While it is the vikruti, imbalance, that we are often more focused on in an ayurvedic consultation as that is the reason a client/student is seeking support and healing in the session... either way, finding a Ayurvedic Doctor, Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist or Ayurvedic Practitioner is easy if you check the NAMA website. Then check out the "word of mouth" to hear about the inherent gifts of that ayurvedist!! much appreciation and peace~ kathryn templeton, www.kathryntempleton.com or www.Himalayaninstitute.org