An international yoga instructor writes a healthy living blog with an emphasis on yoga.

Let's Talk Ayurveda

Ayurveda is the traditional Indian health system that’s been around for over 5,000 years. Ayurveda describes three fundamental mind/body types called doshas. Dosha is a Sanskrit word meaning the one which can pollute the body. The three doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. All three doshas are present in the body at all times at varying degrees, but if one is too low or too high, this produces an imbalance. Check out the lists below and see which aspects pertain to you to find out your dosha type. Keep track of how many pertain to you, as you can be a mix of two types of dosha. This is just a basic indicator. A thorough examination by an Ayurvedic practitioner would give a more accurate indication of your dosha.



-You have a small frame and thin body.

-Your skin is darker and tends to be dry.

-Your hair is dark and tends to be curly

-Your eyes are dark and small

-Your appetite and digestion is irregular

-You tend not to gain weight easily

-You tend to have gas and become constipated easily

-You have an active and creative mind

-You tend to be talkative by nature

-You learn things easily, but forget them easily

-You tend to worry and become anxious under stress

-You do not tolerate cold weather well

-you tend to have cold hands and feet.



-Your frame and musculature is moderate

-Your skin tends to be fair and warm to the touch

-Your hair is fine and light in color and may gray prematurely

-Your eyes are penetrating and blue, green or gray in color

-You are determined and competitive by nature

-You enjoy working as your own boss

-You tend to be a perfectionist and become impatient easily

-You enjoy challenge and accomplishment

-You tend to be more intellectual by nature

-You have a strong appetite and good digestion

-You become irritable when hungry

-Your stools are soft and may tend to be loose

-Your health problems tend to center around inflammation

-You are fond of cold foods and drinks

-You prefer a cool and dry climate



-Your frame is large and you tend to be overweight

-You gain weight easily and have difficult losing it

-Your skin is cool, pale and moist

-Your hair is thick, dark and wavy

-Your eyes are large and friendly

-Your appetite and digestion tends to be slow

-You are slow to learn but have an excellent memory

-Your manner is slow and steady with a calm disposition

-You are compassionate but tend toward attachment

-You can skip meals without discomfort

-You have good stamina but tend toward laziness

-You are a sound sleeper and prefer to sleep at least 8 hours

-You are uncomfortable in cool, damp weather

-Your health problems are centered around excessive mucus.


The highest score is the principle that is predominant for you. However if two principles are similar scores, then the combination of the two dominate your constitution. For example, you might be vata-pitta or pitta-kapha.


So what does this all mean?

Here is some info:

Vatta people are associated with the element of air. They are:


-quick to learn but also quick to forget



-have a variety in diet and sleep

-tire easily and over exert

-suffer from headaches, anxiety, insomnia, irregular heart rate, gas, muscle spasms, arthritis

-have a lot of energy in very short spurts

-sweat very little


Vatta people should:

-avoid windy conditions, caffeine, traveling, irregular routines/meals, cold/dry weather, excessive mental work, sweet/sour/salty foods, eating cold/dry foods and fizzy drinks.

-should eat warm, cooked foods, use almond or castor oil, use vanilla, orange, lavender, or pine for aromatherapy and practice yin yoga to remain calming and grounding.

Pitta people are associated with the element of fire. They are:

-able to maintain weight


-have a strong digestion and appetite

-confident and can be aggressive, demanding and pushy

-fairly predictable in routines

-complexion is fair or reddish with freckles

-fine hair, can be blond or red

-suffer from heart burn, ulcers, insomnia, rashes, acne, skin cancer, liver disorder

-sweat a lot


Pitta people should:

-Use rose, jasmine, sandalwood or peppermint for aromatherapy.

-eat cool/warm foods, but never very hot foods; should use lemon or lime instead of vinegar. They should eat salads and veggies because of their cooling effects, since Pitta is associated with the fire element.

-avoid heat, alcohol, smoking, stress, excessively spicy foods, excessive activity, salt, oil, pickles, yogurt, cheese, red meat, coffee and alcohol.

-Practice a yin yoga that is cooling and relaxing.


Kapha people are associated with the element of water. They:

-generally have soft hair and skin, large, soft eyes

-gain weight easily

-are relaxed, graceful, forgiving and non judgmental

-they have the most energy of the three doshas but it is a steady, slow and enduring energy.

-procrastinate, are slow to learn but have an excellent memory

-suffer from allergies, colds, respiratory problems, painful joints.


Kapha people should:

-use cinnamon, basil or musk for aromatherapy

-should eat warm food instead of cold and eat smaller portions. Should be careful about eating when in an emotional state.

-Drink fewer liquids during meals. Never drink very cold drinks during meals.

-avoid overeating, oversleeping, and having too little variety in life. Should avoid cold, damp weather. Avoid sugar, dairy, fried foods.


So- did this speak to any of you? What was your dosha? This really was true for me. I am Vata-Pitta, and everything about the food for Vata was true for me. For example, when I used to just eat salads without any type of ‘extra’ like quinoa or chicken, I would get so angry. Not having something warm in a meal REALLY bothers me for some reason (and now I have an answer!). Also, if I just ate that salad without any ‘extra’, I would feel all out of sorts- like really off and uneasy. Because Vata is dominated by air, vata people need foods that are warm and grounding, otherwise they tend to feel out of it. So fascinating!