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Ayurveda and Children



Ayurvedic philosophy establishes the doshas of vata, pitta and kapha as the primary forces of nature.

Ayurveda teaches that every child is born with an exclusive arrangement and quantity of vata, pitta and kapha. Their distinctive combination of the doshas determines their physical structure, features, temperament and natural talents.

Here are examples of how the doshas are characterized in children and how to help maintain their doshic balance. Keep in mind that all three doshas are present in everyone, so a variety of qualities will be found.

VATA – Ether and Air

Natural qualities and tendencies - tall or short, light weight or underweight, delicate frame, small facial features, dry skin, curly hair, often feels cold, little interest in eating and sleeping, easily disturbed digestion and elimination, quick and light energy, easily distracted, daydreams, creative, imaginative, entertaining, fun loving.

Vata is increased by - irregular routines, lack of food and sleep, cold and dry foods, cold drinks, transitions, change or loss, cold and dry or windy weather, excess activity, chaos, travel.

Signs of excess vata - weight loss, colic or gas, eczema, insomnia, restless or hyperactivity, attention deficit, constipation (hard, dry stool), fatigue, dizziness, fainting, heightened sense of pain, lowered immunity, anxiety.

Ways to balance vata children - warm and moist foods, smaller and more frequent meals, warm baths with time to play, warm sesame oil massage, sweet and grounding aromatherapy, regular sleeping and eating routines, protect from wind and cold, organized systems, daily plans, regular routines, soothing music, grounding breathing methods and visualization, time spent in nature, feeling of comfort and security.

PITTA – Fire and Water

Natural qualities and tendencies - average height, medium weight, proportionate frame, balanced facial features, fair and sensitive skin, freckles, fine or straight hair, sweats easily, often too warm, strong appetite, good digestion and elimination, sleeps well, focused concentration, likes to have choices, purposeful, inquiring, project oriented, invites mental and physical challenges.

Pitta is increased by - being under pressure, not eating when hungry, spicy and acidic or fried foods, lack of sleep, direct sun, hot and humid weather, intense competition and confrontation, stimulating activity.

Signs of excess Pitta - sour stomach, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sunburn, heat rash, dermatitis, fever, excessive thirst, tissue or joint Inflammation, aggressive immune system, anger, temper tantrums, manipulative behavior.

Ways to balance Pitta children - cool and sweet foods, regular meals with snacks when hungry, cool rags placed on back of neck or top of head, room temperature coconut oil massage, cooling and calming aromatherapy, regular sleep and meal times, protect from direct sun, avoid time pressure, peaceful or playful music, calming breathing methods and visualization, time spent in nature at cooler times of day, free time to play.

KAPHA – Water and Earth

Natural qualities and tendencies - taller or shorter, heavier weight, large or broad frame, round or large facial features, cool and damp skin, thick hair, loves to eat, slow but regular digestion and elimination, sleeps long and soundly, consistent but slow energy, takes time making decisions, likes to be led, sweet natured, affectionate, easy going, likes things to stay the same, cautious.

Kapha is increased by - lack of activity, overeating, cold, sweet and heavy or high calorie foods, oversleeping or napping, cold or damp weather, lack of involvement or motivation.

Signs of excess Kapha - respiratory congestion, constipation (absence of bowel movement), congested skin or circulation, unhealthy weight gain, obesity, swollen joints, edema, excessive tissue growth, overly possessive or needy, depression.

Ways to balance Kapha children - warm and light foods, regular meals without excessive snacking, dry brush massage, warming and stimulating aromatherapy, controlled sleep and meal times, protect from cold and wet environments, regular and fun exercise, involvement in classes of interest, playful or inspiring music, energizing breathing methods and visualization, playing outdoors in the fresh air, stimulating activities, planned family vacations.

Visiting a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner for a consultation will help you to determine your child’s doshic constitution and provide personal recommendations.

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 [email protected] or visit www.balanceandbliss.com

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