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Ayurveda

Ayurveda and Your Ideal Weight – PART 1

DENISE O’DUNN

By DENISE O’DUNN,
CAP, LMT, E-RYT500

Ayurveda is India’s traditional system of medicine that is based on living in harmony with the rhythms of nature. According to Ayurveda, there are three essential forces (doshas) that regulate all aspects of life, including the natural processes of your body, mind and emotions. These doshas are vata, made of the elements ether and air; pitta comprised of fire and water; and kapha consisting of water and earth. The doshas contain the qualities of their contributing elements.

Ayurveda explains that you were born with a distinctive combination of vata, pitta and kapha, providing you with certain characteristics and tendencies, as well as inherent strengths and weaknesses. Ayurveda also teaches that in the process of life and the course of a day the doshas are constantly increased and decreased, based on the current doshic influences. In the process of doshic fluctuations, the qualities of the doshas can begin to accumulate causing doshic imbalance and disorder.

Doshic Perspective on Body Weight

The Ayurvedic basis to achieving and maintaining your ideal weight is centered on the recognition of your original combination of the doshas and how they change according to your current circumstances. When you understand your unique physical and mental predispositions, along with the way that you are personally impacted by the rhythms of nature and the details of your day, you can make appropriate decisions that will lead to balanced weight. Know your doshic nature and you can identify your ideal weight; recognize your current doshic influences and you can maintain your ideal weight.

VATA (Ether and Air)

If you have a dominate amount of vata dosha in your original nature, you are taller or shorter than average, tend to have a thin build and may have difficulty gaining weight. Your focus is usually on maintaining ‘enough’ weight. You typically have a light appetite and may forget to eat until you feel a bit dizzy, spacey or depleted of energy. Your cool and dry nature can lead to irregular digestion and elimination, as well as, less efficient absorption and assimilation of nutrients. True to your quick nature, your metabolism tends to be fast which contributes to your low body weight and lean structure.

PITTA (Fire and Water)

When pitta dosha leads your doshic combination, you tend to stay in a moderate range of suitable weight for your average height. The fire component of pitta gives you a good appetite, manifesting as ‘true hunger’, as you efficiently burn energy throughout your purposeful day. Irritability can soon follow your intense pitta hunger if you are not able to eat right away. Pitta digestion and elimination is very efficient and unproblematic unless pitta is excessive; then the heat of pitta can aggravate your digestive system. Your efficient metabolism helps to keep your weight steady and also supports your efforts to easily lose a few pounds if they start to add up.

KAPHA (Water and Earth)

If kapha dosha is a dominate contribution in your doshic makeup, you are taller or shorter than average, have a solid build or are full-figured and probably struggle with excess weight; gaining weight easily and finding it difficult to lose weight. As a kapha type you tend to be sensory oriented and may confuse the desire to eat with being hungry. The earth element of kapha contributes to a slow, but regular digestion and elimination, as well as a slow metabolism. Since food moves through your digestive system slowly, true hunger would naturally take longer to occur, yet your love for the taste of food and the emotional satisfaction of eating can keep you returning to the kitchen or snack machine.

Once you have determined your ideal weight, based on your doshic contributions, Ayurvedic practices can help you to maintain or regain your optimal weight.

Part Two of this article will provide you with specific recommendations for reducing excess weight according to your doshic makeup.

Disclaimer: This article was written for educational purposes only and is based on the tradition of Ayurveda. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, prescribe or heal any health condition or to replace standard medical treatment or advice.

Denise O’Dunn, president and founder of Balance & Bliss Inc., is a certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Licensed Massage Therapist (ma58502) and yoga teacher. She received her degree in Ayurveda from the Florida Vedic College and is a professional member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association. She can be reached at balanceandbliss@gmail.com or visit www.balanceandbliss.com

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