“Every individual is different from another and hence should be considered as a different entity. As many variations are there in the Universe, all are seen in Human being”…… Charak Samhita
Ayurvedic treatment is based on the ascertainment of individual constitution. This is the unique power of the system in that it treats the living individual as the most important factor. Ayurveda does not regard disease as a factor in itself but only as a complication of constitutional imbalance.
The predominance of elements, gunas and Doshas at the time of fertilization decides the constitution or bio-typology of the individual. Once this proportion is set it generally remains permanent for the lifetime of individual.
This Prikriti or physical constitution of an individual depends upon the following:
n condition of sperm and ovum at the time of conception.
n Nature of the season and the condition inside the uterus.
n Food & other regimens adopted by mother during pregnancy.
n Nature of the elements comprising the fetus.
In one scientific research, work was done to understand if there is any genetic basis to the ayurvedic concept of prakriti. It was postulated that human phenome based on prakriti, namely kapha, pitta and vata have genetic connotation that could help classifying human population based on broad phenotype clusters. According to ayurveda, every individual is different from another and hence should be considered as a different entity.
Ayurveda generally categorizes individuals in one of the three broad classes of ‘prakriti’ based on certain physical, physiological and psychological characters. This is independent of racial, ethnic or geographical considerations and may provide appropriate means of classifying phenotypes to be considered collectively for genotyping.
This is based on the permutations and combinations of the three Doshas, seven types of constitution can be formed:
n SAMA PRIKRITI (balanced constitution)
CHARACTERISTICS OF VATA, PITTA OR KAPHA
Predominance in the Physiology- "Constitutional Body Type"
As you read the qualities of the three doshas listed below, think about which best describes you. That dosha is your "predominant" dosha. Everyone has all three doshas lively within them, but 1 or 2 are usually more predominant than the others. In order to know exact Body Constitution (Prakriti) an Ayurvedic Physician should be consulted.
• Lighter, thinner build
• Performs activity quickly
• Tendency toward dry skin especially in winter
• Aversion to cold weather
• Irregular hunger and digestion
• Quick to grasp new information, also quick to forget
• Tendency toward worry
• Tendency toward constipation
• Tendency toward light and interrupted sleep
• Enthusiastic and vivacious by nature
• Walks quickly
• Difficulty making decisions or often changes mind
• Moderate build
• Performs activity with medium speed
• Aversion to hot weather
• Perspires easily
• Prefers cold food and drinks
• Sharp hunger and digestion
• Can’t skip meals
• Medium time to grasp new information
• Medium memory
• Strong intellect
• Great precision and organization
• Tendency toward reddish hair and complexion, moles and freckles
• Good public speakers
• Tendency toward irritability and anger
• Enterprising and sharp in character
• Solid, heavier build
• Gains weight easily
• Greater strength and endurance
• Oily, smooth skin
• Slow digestion, mild hunger
• Can skip lunch without significant discomfort
• Tranquil, steady personality
• Slow to grasp new information, slow to forget
• Slow to become excited or irritated
• Sleep is heavy and long
• Hair is plentiful, thick and wavy
• Tendency to excess mucous, chronic congestion, sinus problems and allergies
• Tendency toward lethargy and depression
• Performs activity slowly
• Sweet and happy by nature
Vegetables: Potato, Beet, Sweet Potato, Cabbage, Lamb’s quarters, marsilea, drum stick, white gourd, ribbed luffa, smooth luffa, white gourdmelon, lady finger, bitter gourd, sebesten, tomato, pointed gourd, onion and carambola.
Pulses: Green gram, red gram or pigeon gram.
Cereals: Wheat & Rice.
Fruit: Sweet fruits, banana, pear, orange, guava, water chestnut, papaya, mango, date palm, coconut, grapes, sweet lemon, pome granate, bael fruit, mulberry, fox nut, almond, cashew nut, apricot and apple.
Condiments: Fennel, asafetida, ajwain, cardamom, basil, black pepper, ginger, mint, cooked onion, lemon, prickles-mango, red chilly and coriander.
Non-Vegetarian: Chicken, Fish, Crab and prawn.
Others: Warm milk, Soups hot cereals, ghee, warm soothing food, added fats and butter, salty sour and sweet tastes, cream, butter, salted nuts, fresh baked breads, cottage cheese, ice-cream and butter.
To be Avoided: Raw cereals, barley, maize, millet, black lentils, kidney beans, soybeans, Chinese Beans, Dry foods such as crackers, popcorn and dried fruits.
LIFE STYLE CHANGES
Exercise: Vata has burst of energy but lack endurance; walking, short hikes and yoga are ideal for Vata types.
Aroma Therapy: A combination of warm sweet and sour scents such as geranium, neroli, lemon, orange, basil, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon.
Sound Therapy: Soft music with low tunes, soft ritual drumming would be ideal.
Colour Therapy: Warming colours such as yellow and deep red or calming colours such as white, violet and blue.
FACTORS THAT INCREASE OR AGGRAVATE VATA
2. Living in a cold, dry climate.
3. Working late at night.
4. Not enough sleep.
5. Listening to loud music.
6. Being exposed to any loud noise.
7. Traveling too often, especially by airplane.
8. Drinking too much alcohol or cold drinks
9. Eating too much raw vegetables or popcorn.
10. Working at a computer for long periods of time.
Vegetables: Sweet, bitter vegetables, radish, sweet potato, spinach, cabbage, lamb’s quarter, marsilea, ribbed luffa, sponge gourd, cucurbita, green pea, white gourd melon, bitter gourd, sebesten, Indian gooseberry, pointed gourd, Green gram, cauliflower and white gourd.
Pulses: Green gram, kidney bean, pulse gram, Soya bean, red gram, garden pea and Chinese beans.
Cereals: Wheat, Barley and Rice.
Fruits: Sweet and Ripe fruits, Banana, pear, guava, water chest nut, papaya, apple, coconut, grapes, cucumber, water lemon, muskmelon, plum, sweet lemon, pome granate, mulberry, fox nut, cashew nut, apricot, sugar cane, carrot, pine-apple.
Condiments: Coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel and turmeric.
Non-Vegetarian: Prawn, Lobster, fish, hare, Chicken and white part of egg.
Others: Cool/warm food but not streaming, hot, bitter, sweet and astringent taster, cool refreshing foods especially in the summer, salad, ice creams, herbal tea, and milk.
To be Avoided: Black lentils, maize, millet, alcohol, all carbonated drinks and try to limit red meat, fried and spicy foods.
LIFE STYLE CHANGES
Exercise: While pittas determination to win may give you an edge in competitive sports, it also brings out your fiery temper. Walking and swimming help burn off any excess energy without rising temperature. A quite hike in the woods would be perfect.
Aroma Therapy: Sweet, cool scent such as sandalwood, rose, mint, jasmine, cardamom, fennel and vetiver.
Sound Therapy: Soft, soothing melodies. Flute tones are beneficial.
Colour Therapy: Stay cool with soft pastels such as pink, rose, green and blue.
FACTORS THAT INCREASE OR AGGRAVATE PITTA
2. Taking drugs.
3. Working in hot sun for long periods of time.
4. Eating too much red meat or spicy foods.
5. Saunas or long dips in a hot tub.
6. Being exposed to pollution.
7. Using stimulants such as alcohol, coffee, tea, cigarettes, and diet pills.
8. Indulging in toxic emotions such as hostility, intolerance and hatred.
Vegetables: Raw vegetables, pungent, bitter vegetables, radish, beet, fenugreek, spinach, lamb’s quarters, cabbage, Indian sorrel, leaf of common milk hedge, marsilea, cauliflower, drum stick, white gourd, ribbed luffa, sponge gourd, cucurbita, white gourd melon, brinjal, green pea, pointed gourd, carumbola, bitter gourd, Sebastian and Indian gooseberry.
Pulses: Green gram, kidney or aconite bean, pulse gram, lentil, pigeon or red gram and pulse or garden pea.
Cereals: Wheat barn, barley, millet and maize.
Fruits: Raw fruits, pear, orange, water chestnut, coconut, grapes, cucumber, water melon, musk melon, sweet lemon, pomegranate, plum, mulberry and fox nut.
Condiments: Generally all.
Non-Vegetarian: Chicken, egg and hare.
Others: Warm, light food with a minimum of fat and sugar stimulating foods, spicy foods, for digestion and to warm the body bitter and astringent foods such as beans, honey, goat’s milk and butter milk without fat.
To be Avoided: Sweet and Fleshy vegetables, nutmeg, all types of milks, ghee, cheese, curd, butter, all sweets and milk shake.
LIFE STYLE CHANGES
Exercise: Don’t be a lazy bones, rev up your engine with any aerobic activity such as running aerobics, rowing, stair machines or dancing, with your strength and endurance, weight training can be very satisfying.
Aroma Therapy: Warm and spicy for kapha. Try cinnamon, ginger, patchouli, black pepper, eucalyptus, camphor, clove, juniper and marjoram.
Sound Therapy: Loud music and upbeat rhythms will give kapha energy a much needed boost.
Colour Therapy: Hot, stimulating colours for you, try red and vibrant oranges.
FACTORS THAT INCREASE OR AGGRAVATE KAPHA
- Living in cold, damp climate.
- Consuming too much salt.
- Drinking too much water.
- Sleeping after meals.
- Leading a sedentary lifestyle.
- Taking naps after meals.
- Lack of exercise.
- Sleeping too late into the morning.
- Excessive physical exercise.
- Taking sedatives or tranquilizers.
- Eating too many sweets or fatty foods.