Sunday, November 09, 2008

So what IS my dosha, really?

I once read somewhere about a woman who travelled around India, visiting Ayurvedic doctors at every stop, and at each one she received a different assessment of her health and of her dosha. It was eye-opening to see that even in the birthplace of Ayurveda, one may not receive a consistent diagnosis from the experts themselves.

This past week I visited a new Ayurvedic practitioner and received the following assessment: that I am tridoshic. This would technically be the third assessment of my dosha, all of them different! In self-tests done with written and online quizzes, my dosha was Vata-Pitta, with Kapha tendencies. The Ayurvedic doctor I visited a few years ago assessed I was Pitta-Kapha. And this third one puts me at tridoshic (Vata-Pitta-Kapha). Each of the three assessments felt right to me, though I must admit that this latest one seems the most fitting.

There are many factors that determine our dosha, including what time of day it is, what season in the year, and how old we are. Even then, you could have a specific dosha out of balance from eating certain food, or going through something emotionally like stress, or even being pregnant. It is a fluid thing, like life itself, that can't really be pinpointed and established as your "truth" forever. This makes sense to me.

It's a bit more work but I think the lesson here is to always pay attention to oneself and see what's up that's causing what imbalance, whatever our dosha may be. It's cold and wet out? Pacify your Kapha by having warm, drying food like millet or toast. Feeling lethargic? Shake up your Kapha by doing Vata things like being active and eating Vata foods. Skin breaking out, or feeling easily angered? Soothe your Pitta with soft music and a sweet treat. At the same time, knowing what dosha imbalance causes chronic ailments would mean always trying to pacify that dosha, too (like ulcers = pacifying Pitta).


Anonymous said...

Interesting thought Fran. Could it be that you have got yourself so well balanced that you have the ideal tri-dosha? I know that the basic constitution is set at birth but to arrive at a perfect balance must mean you are doing something right? I too have been diagnosed differently - Vata-Pitta and Vata-Kapha on different occasions. Is it maybe just the responses we give on the day? I do enjoy your blog ands refer to it often. Now with it on my 'blogroll' I can see when you update it. Thanks for the great information.

yogini-M said...

Hmmm. So your prakriti are Tridoshic? Ive been diagnosed as Pitta prakriti with imbalanced Pitta who went in Vatas house or something this summer in Sweden. A few weeks ago I was diagnosed as vata-Pitta prakriti quite balanced but overdose of Vata so need more oils and nourishing food. Now Ive booked for a new check with a welll known swede who have been studying 6 years in India. The same school as Svoboda. So I hope to figure it out. I feel unbalanced. Have had eating disorders (anorexia) in my teenage. Almost died. Now at 35 im still little obsessed by food and still havent been comfortble with my body. On my way to be a yogateacher and have been in an intensive process the last 4 years and slowly my depression getting better. But my mind are stuck and very rigid to myself.
Even if Im grown up, an yogini, buddhist and have 15 years in therapy behind me Im still stuck. Im just honest to myself about that and I dont want to be like that at all. So - maybe I will figure out my prakriti and imbalances and get some help from there =) I HOPE!
Thanks for your lovely blog!

Claudia Davila (Fran) said...

Thanks for your comment, Cosmic and Co -- and your blog looks super interesting! For sure, the time of day, season, etc, will affect our diagnosis. At least you know you're predominantly Vata!

Yogini-m, thanks for writing, too. I'm sorry to hear you've had such struggles, eating disorders are a huge challenge to overcome. I think it is Pitta that makes people obsess mentally and physically from what I've read. Sounds like some soothing Kapha foods, habits and way of thinking would indeed help. I wish you all the best in your recovery.

Dharmapriya said...

I have also had different dosha labels from different practitioners. However, I think it is actually related to the skill of the practitioner. It is not an easy assessment to make, but it is also not subjective. Astrologically, my doshas are pitta-kapha. In my most recent round of vaidya shopping, the first one I saw said I was vata, which was what I and my ayurvedic enthusiast friends thought too. I undertook his therapy with some, but limited, results.

Second practitioner said I was pitta-kapha. The vata symptoms were caused by depleted pitta, not excess vata, according to him. He had a number of other things to say about my condition, but in fact the treatment is working beautifully.

I think a good practitioner will be able to factor out the effects of weather, season, etc. and see your true makeup. Ayurveda is a fairly benign treatment method, so misdiagnosis will rarely hurt, but it will also not truly heal.

Love your blog!

AYURVEDA said...

Your articles about Doshas of ayurbody is good


yogini - m said...

Fran: Thanks for your response. Ive never been overweight but almost starved myself to death. Now I mentally know that im a thin woman with muscles but I will never see or feel like that. Always say no to something sweet or allow myself to rest. I know - it sounds stupid and crazy but Im working about it.
My mind love to eat kapha food to get thinner but deep inside im not satiesfied. Strange.
Time will show.
Thanks for your lovely blog =)

The Life of Kiley said...

This is a very exciting thread as I love talking about Ayurveda!! I think a lot depends on the sensitivity, training, and character of the practitioner. The other thing, I think is that it's very hard to understand the concept of vikruti and the degree and shades of imbalances that we encounter. I think what Fran says here is amazing:
'Even then, you could have a specific dosha out of balance from eating certain food, or going through something emotionally like stress, or even being pregnant. It is a fluid thing, like life itself, that can't really be pinpointed and established as your "truth" forever.'

As an Ayurvedic student, my understanding is to follow what you've said about pacifying a dosha by taking in its opposite (ie. pacify cold with heat, etc.

When we get sick, it is partly because we haven't made these smaller adjustments and the imbalances build up to a diseased-state. Ayurveda is mainly about prevention more than treatment. Although, if you do reach the treatment stage, they can be very effective.

Also, many well-wishes to yognini-m and the rest of you guys out there!

Anonymous said...

Maybe I can help to give another perspective. Ayurveda is not a black and white science, it like eastern philosophies lies more in the grey. Two practitioners could suggest different Prakruti and vikruti but they could both be effective in their treatment. Intention has large part to play in the efficacy of a treatment plan.

Anonymous said...

The element of diet is covered in great detail in Ayurveda. Diets, along with the habits of an individual, establish the level of his mental and physical health. Vata is combines Vayu (air) and Akasha (space). Pitta combines Agni (fire) and Apu (water). Kapha is the combines Apu (water) and Prithvi (earth).

Vata dosha is cold, dry and aggravating, so the food you eat to balance that should be just the opposite- warm, succulent and comforting. Do not consume raw food. Try to eat hot food. Even if you are on a diet, do not go for uncooked salads and sprouts; eat boiled vegetables instead. Warm, well-cooked grains like rice, wheat or oats are very good for people belonging to Vata. Freshly baked bread, chapattis and paranthas are good for Vata dosha too. I have learned all about the ayurvedic diet on .

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