The more time we spend connecting and tuning into nature, the more we are able to understand and connect to our own being, especially to our predispositions (Prakruti). Observing, knowing, being aware of, and accepting our constitutional type (Prakruti) and adjusting our lifestyle accordingly (using Prakruti guidelines) will result in happiness, health and balance.
Each human being is born with a unique constitution, thus requiring a different lifestyle, diet, working conditions, daily routine and sleep pattern in order to remain balanced, happy and at peace. In order to find balance in your life, firstly work out which dosha (constitution) you are from the list below. If you find you are a combination of doshas then focus on your main dosha first and add the sub-dosha later.
Like in many other fields, the Ayurveda golden rule is: 'It depends'. Therefore, start with tiny steps and observe how making a small change in your lifestyle affects your mood and well-being, use your common sense and listen to your inner voice which will guide you to perfect balance and harmony. If at any point you find yourself in doubt, please do contact a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner or write to me.
Climate and Lifestyle
At first glance, Vata types seem graceful and delicate, like a deer, however, they actually possess a highly evolved nature. Vata is the oldest dosha in the world, making it highly misunderstood. Our modern world routines were created by Pitta and Kapha people, so it is therefore difficult for Vata types to fit in with our modern society and may even lead to their extinction.
Freedom to flow freely is very important to Vata types, however, they also tend to be drawn to excessive activity, restless movement, frequent travelling and focussing on set projects, therefore, it is important they take the time to ground and get sufficient rest. No matter how much a Vata moves, a fixed daily routine is of utmost importance. It is recommended they start the day early and on an active note but then ensure they allow a few hours for relaxing, reflecting, napping and nurturing their body and mind. The best time for this is between 2pm and 4pm, when their energy is at its lowest. Nurturing and consistent meals are very important for this type – three full daily meals are recommended (an early breakfast at 7am, lunch at noon, and dinner at 6pm), with a small snack at 4pm. In order not to lose sleep it is important for Vata types to be in bed by 10pm and to practise light pranayama and relaxation before going to bed. It is best for them to sleep on their left side, this stimulates the right nostril, awakens the digestive fire (Agni) and warms the body.
Vata types are cold and dry in nature so cold and dry environments may be challenging for them, especially if they are not able to keep warm and moist. The best environment for Vata types is a tropical and wet climate with as few temperature fluctuations as possible (i.e. Hawaii). Also, Vatas need a lot of fresh air and large windows to ignite their energy and make them feel secure. In order for a Vata to sleep peacefully, they will need lots of blankets, pillows and a hot water bottle.
Appearance and Colours
Vata is predominately ruled by the air and ether elements, which are connected to the skin organ, this makes daily touching, oiling and nurturing of the skin very important for this type. Elegant clothes made from natural fibres (cotton, linen, merino wool) and in soothing earth tones (yellow, gold, blue, white) have a grounding and calming effect on the fluidity of Vata and also help boost their confidence. In order to keep grounded, it is recommended they stick to flat shoes or go barefoot.
Vata is more compassionate, reflective and mature than the other types, making them naturally suited to rule the universe and to attain a profound spiritual life. They have the ability to easily renunciate and live a monastic life with great happiness. They naturally want good for all and focus on an unbiased and non-discriminatory sense of justice, this makes it incredibly difficult for them to engage in a family role. Due to their need to flow and move, Vata types enjoy dynamic roles with frequent travelling and thrive when they are behind the scenes. However, too much movement, multitasking, responsibility or boredom may aggravate them, so the golden rule for Vata is – moderation.
Vata types will generally succeed as teachers, philosophers, musicians, law enforcers, foreign ministers, political consultants, bankers, charity organisers, union leaders, inspirational leaders, as well as in esoteric roles such as monastic living.
The most critical season for Vata is Autumn, this is when they should be cautious that the wind and rain do not give them a chill. The best activities for them during Autumn are: to feed their souls (by getting cosy indoors and reading their favourite book), to stay warm (using clothing as well as food), and to nurture their bodies with daily hot oil massages. It is very important for Vata types to wear appropriate clothing for the season and especially keep their neck, head, ears and extremities protected from wind and cold. It is also recommended for them to take an extra pair of cosy socks with them, wherever they go.
Life challenges to overcome
One of the hardest things and therefore crucial milestones for Vata is to cross the bridge of self-acceptance. Yet it is only once they recognise their potential, that they can move away from an awkward and misunderstood life to a life full of joy and love. Having worked through their own fears and addictions makes them the perfect candidate to guide and help others just by being themselves.
Climate and Lifestyle
Dynamic, noble and intellectual, Pitta always turns its dreams into reality, leaving tracks wherever it goes. Standing for ambition, aggression and energy, Pitta types love to be in control but they can also lose control very quickly. Due to their brilliant intellect, Pitta types are able to grasp the most profound knowledge of the self as well as to discipline their excess, indulgence and arrogance.
Although Pitta types love to be active, driven by their passion to pursue a thousand tasks in one day, it is important for them to carry out any intense activity during the cool part of the day. Any indulgence, careless eating habits, excessive focus, or excessive activity will result in a raging and uncontrolled Pitta, creating its own hell wherever it goes.
Midday represents the critical point for emotional outbreaks, so it is important for Pittas to use the time between 10am and 2pm for wholesome nurturing. This can be done by eating large and filling meals that contain as few toxins as possible, doing calming activities such as painting, looking at flower meadows, bathing in open waters or walking in the forest. Recommended are three full meals daily (early breakfast at 7am, lunch at noon, and dinner at 6pm) and a small snack at 3pm. Also, it is very important for Pitta types to wind down their activities at around 6pm and finish their day with gentle evening pranayama and meditation. Very soothing and calming is an evening walk in the moonlight. Pittas sleep best if they are in bed between 10pm and 11pm (in summer it is OK for all doshas to go to bed a bit later). Pitta types are allowed to sleep in a bit longer in order to replenish the great amounts of energy they lose during the day but it is important they do not stay awake too late at night as they will start to feel at their most productive and this will exhaust and aggravate them in the long run. The best sleeping position for them is on their right side, this activates the left nostril, cooling down the fire and relaxing their brain.
Pitta is governed by the elements of fire and water, so hot and humid climates, especially the tropics will aggravate them. Therefore, the best environment for Pitta is cool and wet (i.e. Washington, Oregon) with not too much intense sunlight. Pitta types need an open-plan living environment built with natural materials that offers cooling properties (i.e. marble). Luxurious fabrics, lightweight bedding, cooling colours of greens, blues, pastels and silvers will help keep Pitta well balanced and cool.
Appearance and Colours
Although Pitta types always love to dress for success, wear expensive stylish clothes, like to add eccentricity to their style and always be one step ahead of current fashion trends, it is actually recommended for them to wear natural fibres (silk, linen and cotton) and plain colours (with minimal patterns). Pastels, white, blue, lavender, rosy hues, mauve and green have a calming effect, which helps Pittas mind and emotions remain balanced.
Pitta types love challenges, competition, and noisy, dynamic working environments. Whatever role Pitta types engage in, they will remain centre stage. As leaders, Pitta types are unparalleled in their courage, persistence and energy, however, an excess of such conditions may result in aggravation and irritation. Open and shared office spaces represent a perfect place for Pitta types but it is important to assure that the space enables them to keep cool and grow in compassion, patience and respect for others. Setting aside time to engage in charity and community activities (in the above-mentioned environment) is also a must in order to keep fiery Pittas in balance.
The best careers for Pitta types to engage in are: director for a government organisation, administrator, designer, architect, engineer or scientist.
Pitta types encounter most of their problems in summer as the hot sun increases their natural heat. It is recommended for Pitta to stay cool during the summer by spending time with friends close to rivers or lakes and engaging in cooling activities such as swimming and water sports. Ocean, however, does not represent the best choice for summer in case of Pitta type. During this time is important to remember to eat a sweet, cooling, juicy fruit before leaving the house, to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, and to wear a hat and sunglasses at all times. It is also ideal for them to wear light coloured natural cotton that is infused with a cooling scent such as rose water.
Life challenges to overcome
Although Pitta types hold the greatest capacity for a Sattvic mind (living in harmony with the universe and in complete balance), before reaching it, they tend to burn out from focussing on their ego and ignoring their own true nature. It is also very difficult for Pitta types to acknowledge the existence of anything else but themselves. Thus, one their main life goals will be to learn how to consider others. However, once they are able to knock down their own ego and realise that material conquests are not the pinnacle of their success, the door to a hidden gem of Sattva opens.
Climate and Lifestyle
Kapha represents one of the most firmly grounded constitutional types, which consequently makes them the most attached to the material world, subject to overeating and owning excessive possessions. This type represents mother earth, the home and family because they are very feminine and lunar in nature and very nurturing and sustaining.
Since Kapha types love a sedentary lifestyle, pursuing ease and comfort, they are very prone to turn lethargic, depressed and melancholic. Instead of them having excessive sleep and food, audio and visual stimulation and an active daily routine is essential. It is best for Kapha types to start their day early, if possible before 6am with a cold shower, and then engage in an active physical workout and gentle pranayama. It is not recommended for them to sleep more than 6 hours as it will slow down their metabolism, resulting in weight gain. Strong as an elephant, Kapha can live perfectly balanced with just one meal per day (a large healthy lunch followed by a brisk walk). However, it is also OK for this type to have three light meals daily (early breakfast at 8am, lunch at 1pm, and dinner at 6pm). Eating a big dinner too late will naturally make Kapha sluggish. The best way for Kapha to keep balanced is to fill their schedule with workshops and programmes to motivate them to be active. Ironically, it is Kaphas who normally prefer to sleep most, so they are advised to sleep less and go to bed later between 11pm and 12am, also to sleep on their left side, to ignite the digestive fire (Agni).
Kapha types are cool and damp in nature due to the predominance of water and earth elements, so they need a warm and dry climate, such as the desert. Warm, comfortable and stimulating environments with plenty of light, warm and unobstructed spaces are ideal for them. Bright vibrant colours, natural lighting and colourful accessories (bright flowers, wool blankets, gold or copper) are a must to re-energise Kapha types.
Appearance and Colours
The best clothes for Kaphas are colourful and stimulating (purple, orange and red). It is common for them to wear the same style year after year and duplicate everything they buy, therefore, it is healthy for them to let go of the old and refresh their wardrobe every now and then. Like Pitta and Vata, natural materials also play an important role in the well-being of Kapha.
Kapha types are meant to be a family provider, especially as they function best when stamina and nurturing are required. However, their lack of physical movement both at work and whilst carrying out daily tasks will lead to stiffness and lethargy. This is why Kapha types need to learn to create challenges for themselves and move out of their comfort zones. Having both their feet firmly on the ground, they are able to combine their earthly qualities with their artistic qualities and therefore make wonderful teachers, healers, chefs, poets, musicians, or dancers.
It is also fascinating to observe Kaphas honest motivation to help and nurture others without expecting anything in return, which the other doshas are not capable of.
Kapha types get irritable in late winter and early springtime, when nature is breaking free from the Earth's embrace. As well as keeping warm and eating well, it is important for Kapha types to remain active and avoid a sedentary lifestyle during this time of the year. Great activities for this time of year are: gardening, sports, cleaning, and decorating. This is also a perfect time for them to start a new activity, routine or sport. Moreover, daily oiling with stimulating scents (eucalyptus, sage, rosemary) will help to increase their circulation and balance any coolness and stagnation.
Life challenges to overcome
Being a hoarder, deeply attached to the material realm, the central focus for Kapha types during their lifetime is to learn to detach from unnecessary possessions and to differentiate between the necessary and the excessive.