Ayurveda • What is it?

Ayurveda is a traditional Hindu system of medicine. Ayurveda uses diet, herbs, massage, and deep breathing to achieve balance in the body.

Ayurveda - Stones balanced atop one another on the beach

There are three basic body types (doshas) in the Ayurveda philosophy: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The doshas each are said to have different kinds of energies circulating in the body that affect physiological functions

Ayurveda is a complicated healing system and if one desires to use it for healing from a health disorder, one should find a good practitioner. If you’d just like to try it as a daily practice of eating, sleeping and exercising according to the dictates of your dosha, then it’s a bit less complicated.

First, you would need to identify your dosha. While there are three basic types, most people a combination of two, so now we are up to seven types. Still, there are guidelines for each dosha, and combination, as to diet, best sleep times, kinds of beneficial exercises, etc.

As an example, the Vata dosha is associated with space and air. Those who are predominantly Vata will likely be slender, quick thinking and fast moving. Some qualities of Vata are dryness, roughness, and cold. A Vata type is advised to eat warm, moist foods, with some that are sour and/or salty. A Vata type may do well with gentle exercise like swimming or walking. They might do better with cross-country skiing rather than downhill skiing, badminton rather than tennis. They are likely to be more balanced when they keep to a routine, go to bed early and abstain from alcohol and caffeinated drinks.

And so it goes with each dosha and each combination. Each dosha has different qualities, benefits from different kinds of foods and is fit for different kinds of activities. It is not a one-size-fits-all kind of lifestyle.