Welcome to Integrative Med’s first interactive blog! You’ll need a pen and a paper scrap to continue this test that will reveal what your tendencies say about your health. Choose the description on the right that is the closest match for your body and behaviors. When you tally your “V’s,” “P’s,” and “K’s,” you’ll discover whether you are a strongly one type or that you are a dual or triple type!
The term “vata” comes from a root that means “to move.” Vatas are like the wind, full of motion and resistant to routine. Vata individuals are excitable, alert, and quick to act. They love to change it up. Vatas are known to rearrange furniture, move city to city, and travel the world.
Dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, mobile, clear, and astringent are the main characteristics of Vata individuals. These attributes manifest in dry hair, thin body frames, light sleep, cold hands and feet, stiff muscles, rough skin, subtle fears and insecurities, shifting moods, open mindedness, clairvoyance, hiccoughs, and love of sweet sour, and salty foods.
When living in balance with their mental and physiological make up, Vatas are able to use their creativity, flexibility, and imaginations to live joyfully and happily.
A person with aggravated vata can become extremely anxious. Though mustering will power is sometimes difficult for vatas, it is essential that a person with strong vata tendencies stick to a routine.
Tips for Balancing Vata
- Stay warm
- Keep calm
- Avoid raw foods
- Avoid cold foods
- Eat warm foods and spices
- Keep a regular routine
Pittas are fiery! “Pitta” is derived from the Sanskrit word “tapa,” which means “to heat.” A pitta person’s body temperature is generally above the average 98.6 degrees. They’ve got strong appetites, metabolisms, and digestion to keep their internal furnace ablaze.
Hot, sharp, light, oily, liquid, spreading, sour, bitter, pungent, fleshy smell, red, and yellow are the main characteristics of pitta individuals. These attributes manifest as discomfort in warm weather, strong appetite, sharp memory, irritability, fair skin, oily hair, loose liquid stools, excess urine, sweat, and thirst, a tendency to develop rashes and inflammatory diseases, acidic pH, cynicism, nausea, heartburn, strong feelings of anger and hate, smelly armpits, breath and feet, flushed cheeks and nose, overproduction of bile, yellowish skin, and jaundice.
Pittas have keen, organized, penetrating minds. They have the drive to dig deep for facts and the logic to solve problems. Their talents make pittas natural leaders. They are often successful as doctors, engineers, lawyers and judges.
Their aptitude for taking charge can be problematic. When pitta is aggravated these individuals may become overly critical and judgmental of others or themselves. Pittas must practice keeping their cool whether it’s by watching what they eat or by counting to ten before bursting into a tirade.
Tips for Balancing Pitta
- Avoid excessive heat
- Avoid excessive oil
- Limit salt intake
- Eat cooling, nonspicy foods
- Drink cool (but not iced) drinks
- Exercise during the cooler part of the day
Kaphas are geared toward stability. Their bodies and minds work slowly and steadily. Kaphas tend to gain weight easily, because of their slow digestion and metabolism. They have strong muscles and heavy bones. They are loving, calm, and forgiving. Kaphas have the mental and physical resources to sustain the long life, if they maintain balance and health.
Heavy, slow, cool, oily, damp, smooth, dense, soft, static, viscous, cloudy, sweet, and salty are the main characteristics of kapha individuals. These attributes manifest in their large body frames, slow walking and talking, cold clammy skin, oily stools, lubricated joints, chest and head congestion, gentle nature, dense pad of fat, compassion and kindness, love of sitting, sleeping, and doing nothing, deep attachment in relationships, foggy mornings, and strong sexual desires.
Kaphas have great stamina and strength. Vigorous exercise is great for them, but they’d rather sit and relax. It’s important that kaphas work to maintain balance, because their taste for sweets and fatty foods can lead to obesity. Problems like hypertension, diabetes, and heart attack are common among kaphas.
Tips for Balancing Kapha
- Get plenty of exercise
- Avoid heavy foods
- Keep active
- Vary your routine
- Avoid dairy foods
- Avoid iced food and drinks
- Avoid fatty or oily foods
- Eat light, dry food
LEARNING MORE AND TAKING ACTION
Now that you have a sense of your type or combination of types, put your knowledge to work while keeping in mind these two fundamental principles of Ayurveda:
1. Like increases like
2. Opposites decrease each other.
For example, if you are experiencing excess kapha, you can look to vitta tendencies to find healing behaviors. Kaphas who stay active like vittas and eat the fresh foods that vittas favor shake that sluggish, lazy feeling to achieve optimum health. Contact your naturopathic doctor to learn more on how you can achieve your best life by appreciating your unique mental and physiological make up.
Source: The complete Book of Ayrvedic Home Remedies by Vasant Lad, B.A.M.S., M.A.Sc. Published 1998 by Three Rivers Press in New York, NY.