Balancing Kapha, Vata and Pitta Doshas: Understanding Their Dynamic Interactions

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The cool, moist spring weather heralds the arrival of Kapha season. The qualities of Kapha dosha are cold, heavy, oily and smooth. These qualities tend to dominate in the environment and in the physiology from late February to the end of May.

The role of Kapha dosha is to maintain structural integrity—to resist any environmental influence from breaking down the physiology. This is why individuals who are Kapha-types have more highly developed physical structures (such as the musculature system) When Kapha becomes aggravated, however, the qualities of heaviness and dullness increase the Kapha’s protective value becomes obscured.

Interactions of the Doshas

We should keep in mind that every point of the physiology involves the interaction between Vata, Pitta and Kapha. So when we discuss an imbalance in one dosha, there will always be interactions with the other doshas. This point is especially true with Kapah dosha, the most physically inert of the three. Usually its stability becomes disturbed through a dynamic interaction with Vata or Pitta.

Kapha Follows the Leader

Because Kapha represents the material value of the physiology, it is less likely to become disturbed than Vata or Pitta. And because it is more material and slow and steady, Kapha tends to stay stable in its own location. Therefore, it is much more difficult to move Kapha out of its proper place.

This is why the original text of Ayurveda, Charaka Samhita, indicated that there are twice as many disorders and diseases caused by Vata as Pitta and twice as many disorders and diseases caused by Pitta as Kapha. This is also the reason why Kapha disorders are most commonly found associated with disturbances of Vata and Pitta. Usually, Vata is the first dosha disturbed, since it is most delicate and quick in its nature. And in its dynamic interaction with the other doshas, it can lead Pitta and Kapha to get disturbed as well.

Treatment of Kapha Imbalances

If a person has a condition involving all three doshas, an Ayurvedic expert can take into account all the imbalances and try to treat them simultaneously. At the same time, the expert can often try to treat the most fundamental, causal level first, and usually—even with a Kapha disorder—that will be Vata. As the Vata imbalance is corrected, the Pitta and Kapha often get corrected simultaneously because of the dynamic interplay between the three streams of intelligence.

One of the best things you can do for your body during the spring season is to undergo traditional Ayurveda purification, detoxification and rejuvenation treatments, called Panchakarma. These treatments are designed to balance all three doshas and rid the body of accumulated impurities, including excess Kapha dosha, resulting in a fresh, settled, balance mind and body.

For more information on Panchakarma treatments, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website:

www.theraj.com

Choosing the Ideal Ayurveda Diet for Weight Loss

1342968_12234562_picGiven all the information on doshas and imbalances, on the six tastes, and on various food qualities, how do we ultimately decide what food is best for us? While it is true that a person with a particular mind/body balance is most likely to over-accumulate the dosha that predominates, this is not always the case.

Due to our modern lifestyle, filled with so much sensory stimulation, computers, travel, stress, multi-tasking and irregular sleep habits, a large percentage of people end up with some kind of Vata imbalance. So while it is true that a Vata dominated type will most likely develop Vata imbalances, Pitta and Kapha types can also  find themselves with Vata imbalances.

Those trying to lose weight often assume that they should avoid Kapha-type foods. But in fact it could easily be that an underlying Vata or Pitta imbalance is causing poor digestion, triggering food cravings and comfort eating, thus leading to weight gain. Eating light salads, raw vegetables and other light, cold foods (and in some cases spicy foods) would only serve to aggravate these imbalances and work against weight loss. In creating an Ayurveda weight loss program or any other kind of targeted health regime, it is recommended to see an expert in Ayurveda pulse assessment before committing to a particular diet.

It is important to defer, initially, to an intellectual understanding of recommended foods. Suppose you are craving chocolate. The taste of chocolate is both bitter and sweet. When we get cravings it usually means our body requires the nutrients naturally provided by foods with those tastes (especially the bitter taste which tends to go missing in our western diet). Rice and spinach provide sweet and bitter tastes and are probably the kinds of foods that what the body is actually looking for. But the mind turns that craving for sweet and bitter into a craving for chocolate. Bad habits can create “false” desires. Sometimes retraining the mind/body is necessary before we can trust our instincts to lead us to the proper diet. Once we develop truly natural eating habits, the body itself becomes the best Ayurvedic authority.

There are two different approaches to diet: balancing and purifying.  A balancing diet includes all six tastes but favors more of those that will help pacify the one or two doshas that are out of balance. A purifying diet targets the build-up of ama in the system. Ama is the end product of poorly digested food. It is said to be at the basis of the vast majority of illnesses and disorders. Because ama contributes to the early stages of so many diseases, reducing ama and enhancing digestion is a critical part of the Ayurvedic understanding of balanced health. Next week we’ll look at an ama-reducing diet and how we can promote ideal digestion.

To find information about Ayurveda Consultations, visit the website for The Raj, Ayurveda Health Spa and Treatment Center:

http://theraj.com/ayurveda/ayurvedic-diet.php

 

 

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