Know-your-Dosha

Read the topics in the left-hand column, and then circle the choice that best describes you from the right-hand columns.

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If you feel that you have characteristics from more than one section, feel free to circle both. base your answers according to your total life experiences, and not just how you feel these past few weeks, months or year. Then add up each column and mark the total number of qualities you have ascribed to under each of the three sections. 

 

Physical Traits

Vayu

 Pitta

Kapha

 

Body Frame

thin

medium

large

 

Finger Nails

cracking or thin

pink/soft, medium


wide, white, thick

Resting Pulse (before 10AM & before meal)

80-100

70-80

60-70

 

Weight

low or bony

medium or muscular

gains easily

 

Stool/bowel movements

small, hard, or gas 

loose or burns

moderate or solid

 Forehead size

small

medium

large

 Appetite

variable

strong or sharp

constant or low

 Eyes

small or unsteady

reddish or focused

wide or white

 Voice

low or weak

high or sharp

slow or silent

 Lips

cracking, thin, dry

medium or soft 

large or smooth

 Which bothers you most?

cold and dry

heat and sun

cold and damp

Body Totals

Vayu

Pitta 

Kapha 

 

Mental Traits
 Vayu
 Pitta
Kapha
 

Temperament

nervous or fearful

irritable or impatient

easy going

 Speech

quick or talkative

moderate or argues

slow or silent

 Sleep

light

moderate

heavy

 Habits

travel or nature

sports or politics

water or flowers

 

Memory

quickly grasp, soon forgets

sharp or clear

slow to learn; never forget

 

Beliefs

radical or changing

leader or goal oriented

loyal or constant

 

Dreams

flying or anxious

fighting or in color

few or romantic

 

Emotions

enthusiastic or worries

warm or angry


calm or attached

 

Mind

quick or adaptable

penetrating or critical


slow or lethargic

 Mind Totals


Vayu


Pitta 

Kapha 


 

The knowledge consists of three aspects known as the Tri-Sutras of ayurveda, which are – etiology or the science of the causes of disease, symptomatology or the study and interpretation of symptoms and medication and herbal remedies.

Vyaadhi, or disease in Ayurveda is due to an imbalance of three fundamental elements of the body.

These are Vata, Pitta and Kapha

The entire universe is made up of Panchmahabhootas, or great “elements”. (Which are not material in the usual sense of the term, and are types of energy.) For identifying them they are called

Akaasa ( space)

Vaayu ( air )

Agni (fire )

Ap ( water )

Prithvi( earth )

Panchmahabhootas are omnipresent; they are mixed in an infinite variety of relative proportions such that each form of matter is distinctly unique. Although each element has a range of attributes, only some get evident in particular situations. Constantly changing and interacting with each other, they create a situation of dynamic flux that keeps the world going.

Just as in nature, we too have these five elements in us. When any of these elements are present in the environment, they will in turn have an influence on us. While we are a composite of these five primary elements, certain elements are seen to have an ability to combine to create various physiological functions.

Within a simple, single living cell for example the earth element predominates by giving structure to the cell. The water element is present in the cytoplasm or the liquid within the cell membrane. The fire element regulates the metabolic processes regulating the cell. While the air element dominates the gases therein. The space occupied by the cell denoting the last of the elements.

The Panchmahabhootas therefore serve as the foundation of all diagnosis & treatment modalities in Ayurveda and has served as a most valuable theory for physicians to detect and treat illness of the body and mind successfully.

 

VAATA: Human bodies are mainly made of Akasa, Vaayu with a little of Agni, Ap and Prithvi. Vaata is what allows one to interact with the environment. Briefly, vaata tramsmits sense impresions to the mind and responses to various parts of the body and maintains the integrity of the

body and proper functioning of its various constituent elements. The sensory organs of touch and sound depend on vaata the Dhaatus and Malas (tissue material and waste matter) are transported by vaata. It stimulates Agni and produces joy. It forms the embryo in the womb into particular shapes It is the evidence of life .

 

PITTA: Is the primary constituent of the living body whose structure is Agni ( “luminous light”). Its function is balancing and transformative. Its functions in particular are — vision, digestion, production of heat, Hunger, thirst, softness and suppleness of body, lustre, cheerfullness and intelligence.

 

KAPHA: Is one of the primary constituents of body, having “water” and “earth” as elements. Function of Kapha is conserving and stabilising. Kapha is what is responsible for growth, adding structure unit by unit. Another function of the Kapha dosha is to offer protection. Cerebral-spinal fluid protects the brain and spinal column and is a type of Kapha found in the body. Also, the mucousal lining of the stomach is another example of the Kapha dosha protecting the tissues. It organises the tissues (into their microscopic and macroscopic form).

We are all made up of unique proportions of Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

 

 

Why know your dosha?

To know the doshas means to understand you. Knowledge of your main dosha type can give you vital clues on what to eat and how to live to stay healthy and happy. The science of the doshas honours your individuality, it will help you support your true nature, better understand your children, and partners and reveal simple lifestyle measures that can keep you and your family running harmoniously.

Ayurveda gives you the power to understand these interactions and keep yourself feeling balanced, healthy and calm.

 

The Self-test, and all materials contained in this website are for educational purposes only; it is not intended to treat, diagnose or prescribe. Contact a duly licensed health care professional for medical concerns.

 

Ayurvedic Philosophy for Disease Progression and Therapy

The principal site of action for each of doshas and their effects explains the importance attributed to food consumption by Ayurvedic doctors. Food enters the gastro-intestinal system and encounters the seats of the three doshas one by one. The food interacts with the doshas and transformed into the substance of the body, transported throughout the body which activates the movement of the body. Persons who are sluggish and those who are agitated may each suffer from a disorder in the transformation of food into usable energy and substance; an important aspect of this is the production of unhealthy byproducts, known as ama.

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Dietary adjustments, along with the use of herbs, are the most important aspects of healing regimens, at least for long-term therapy.Yet, one should not forget the underlying basis of Ayurveda, which is not physical medicine, but spiritual medicine: it is the unsettled spirit and the mind not opens to full consciousness that remains at the root of these problems.

As per Ayurveda weakness of the digestive fire is the root cause of all diseases, vata is the chief cause of the development of all diseases, and ama is the principal nourisher of disease. The primary stages of progression disease considered are as accumulation, aggravation, overflow, initial manifestation of symptoms,appearance of disease and disease eruption

 

Accumulation

As a result of exposure to various disease-causing factors, one or more of the doshas accumulates in its seat: kapha in the stomach, pitta in the small intestine, and vata in the colon. Each produces its own characteristic symptoms. The disease is relatively easy to resolve when the imbalance is primarily one of accumulation.

 

Aggravation

In this stage, the doshas continue to increase and put pressure on their reservoirs, intensifying the symptoms they have produced. It is still fairly easy to remove the doshas even at this stage, but while treating them, their reservoir organs, which have been stressed by the ire of the corresponding doshas, need also to be strengthened. The doshas do not always accumulate before they become enraged; if the causes are strong enough, aggravation of doshas at their normal levels may occur directly.

 

Overflow

If aggravation is not controlled and allowed to proceed unchecked, the doshas escape their original seats, wandering about the body and searching for a place to camp. All the symptoms that already existed from aggravation now worsen. At this point, kapha may produce vomiting, pitta may produce burning diarrhea, and vata may produce colicky pain in the colon and painful defecation, with the liberation of copious quantities of gas. Overflow of pitta or kapha can occur without previous accumulation or aggravation in their reservoir organs if either or both of those doshas are displaced by the force of a strongly aggravated vata. The reasons for the accumulation and aggravation of vata may be exposure to strong imbalancing conditions, such as excessive desire, sleeplessness, excessive talking and activity (especially on an empty stomach), sudden vomiting or diarrhea (particularly if self-induced), intense joy or sadness, and the restraint of any of the natural reflex urges.

 

Initial Manifestation of Disease (Purvarupa)

The fourth stage (purvarupa) is the initial manifestation of symptoms that result from accumulation of the doshas at susceptible sites.

Appearance of Disease (Rupa)

The fifth stage (rupa) is when the disease has become readily apparent: the sites of secondary accumulation of the doshas have been substantially disturbed; there are local structural changes.

Disease Eruption

The sixth stage is when the disease erupts from the body. At that point, symptoms might include obvious inflammation, enlarged glands, abscesses, skin eruptions, fever, diarrhea, leucorrhea, etc. That is, there are indications that the body is filled, and material is either stuck (as in a swelling), erupting, or draining out. At the same time, complications of the disease, manifesting now at additional sites, will occur.

The therapies at each of the stages of disease progression must become more specific, more potent, and more frequently applied. It is best to detect the disorder early, when dietary adjustments and a few days of using simple herb formulas may be sufficient; perhaps massage will be applied once or twice, and some cleansing procedures might be followed.

The Panchmahabhuta Philosophy Basis for Ayurveda Phylosophy

The basic foundation of Ayurvedic anatomy, physiopathology, and pharmacology is the Panchmahabhuta philosophy. The Panchmahabhuta philosophy considers that in the beginning, the universe existed in an unmanifested state of consciousness. This consciousness was energy that then manifested into five basic elements or mahabhutas: ether (space), air, fire, water, and earth. Human being is a microcosm of nature; and so, all five basic elements present in the universe are also present in each and every human.

In the human body, the five elements combine with each other and represented as three basic principles, or humors, known as doshas.

Collectively, the doshas are referred to as the tridosha and are made up as follows:

Vata is ether (space) + air

Pitta is fire + water

Kapha is water + earth

 

History Of Ayurveda

The historical roots of Ayurvedic teachings are covered as much in myth as in tradition. The understanding of its origin and evolution is limited in several respects because of:

  • uncertainty about dates associated with the major texts of Ayurveda,
  • biographical material on the important medical writers is sketchy;
  • English translations of texts and related documents are often incomplete and inaccurate,
  • available Ayurvedic texts often contain a mixture of legend and facts that are difficult to separate.

 Mythological Origin of Ayurveda

The mythological origin of Ayurveda has a link with Brahma, the God of Creation. Hindu myth holds that Brahma wanted to ease the suffering of human by offering knowledge of Ayurveda to other Gods. One of those deities was Dhanvantari, who then transmitted the knowledge to mortal sages. Hence, Ayurveda is viewed as a divine science of revelation and thus values personal insight as much as empirical observation.

Early Indian Medicine

The initial phase of development of Indian medicine are traced back to India’s Indus River civilization that flourished from about 2700 to 1500 B.C. Mythico-religious hymns associated with this civilization were written down in Sanskrit in the form of Vedas .Out of these Vedas, Atharvaveda; the youngest one contain many references to medical lore. The Atharvaveda appears to be a compilation of materials that date to around 1500 to 1000 B.C. The volumes of Atharvaveda are not only an important source of knowledge about practical religion and magic but also include descriptions of anatomy, medical treatments and explanations of certain diseases. This Vedic period of Indian medicine lasted until around 800 B.C.

The Rise of Ayurveda

There is no clear association between the Vedas and Ayurvedic medical texts, although some Ayurvedic materia medica may have been derived from Vedic traditions. The rise and acceptance of Ayurveda as a system of medicine is associated with the preparation of samhitas such as Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita, etc.Ayurveda flourished from around 800 B.C. to A.D. 1000, its so-called golden age. The three most important treatises in Ayurveda appeared during the golden age and are referred to collectively as the Senior Triad: the Charaka Samhita, the Sushruta Samhita, and the Ashtanga Hridaya Samhita. The next important treatises in Ayurveda are the Madhava Nidana, the Sarangdhara Samhita, and the Bhava Prakasha, known collectively as the Junior Triad. The Samhita means compilation or collection. The Charaka Samhita is the earliest major medical text of Ayurveda, attributed to the physician Charaka. Traditionally it is thought that he lived around 1000 to 800 B.C., but according to some Western scholars his period was around the first century A.D., when the Charaka Samhita probably reached its present form. The Sushruta Samhita  is the major surgical text of Ayurveda, attributed to the physician Sushruta. It is the most advanced compilation of surgical practices of its time. The exact period of Susruta is unclear but some scholars put him at around 600 B.C. Ashtanga Hridaya Samhita is the third major treatise in the Senior Triad, attributed to Vagbhata. It is a concise version of the works of Charaka and Sushruta and possibly his period was  around A.D. 700.

Later Developments

In between the 10th and 12th centuries A.D. India was overrun by Muslim invaders from the West and they brought their own medicine, Unani Tibb, a blend of Islamic medicine and Greek medicine. So Ayurveda’s popularity declined in this period. Unani Tibb and Ayurveda, which have mutually influenced each other, are both practiced today in India In the 13th or 14th century, Sarngadhara Samhita was written which introduced new treatments and described new syndromes. During the period of Akbar, the liberal Muslim ruler, Ayurveda was flourished with a free exchange of ideas between Western and Indian physicians. During the British rule, Ayurveda declined and western medicine was promoted. In the 20th century once again the interest of  Indian increased in Ayurveda .In 1947, when India gained independence from the British, Ayurveda was recognized as an official form of medicine along with allopathy, homeopathy, naturopathy, unani tibb, siddha (a variant of Ayurveda practiced in the Tamil-speaking region of India), and yoga therapy. In 21st centaury Ayurveda spread throughout the world and it is said ‘Ayurveda revisited’.

Diagnosis in Ayurveda

In Modern medicine, diagnosis is the identification of disease once it is appeared. In contrast, diagnosis in Ayurveda implies a moment-to-moment monitoring of the interaction between order (health) and disorder (disease).

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The disease process is a reaction between the bodily humors (doshas) and tissues (dhatus) and is influenced by the environment.

The diagnosis method in Ayurveda is called Astha Sthana Pariksha (Eight-Point Diagnosis). It involves an assessment of the state of the doshas as well as various physical signs . The Astha Sthana Pariksha includes

Nadi pariksha

Pulse diagnosis

Mutra pariksha

Urine examination

Vata/sparsha

Nervous system assessment

Pitta/drik

Assessment of digestive fire and metabolic secretions

Kapha/akriti

Mucous and mucoid secretions assessment

Mala pariksha

Stool examination

Jihva pariksha

Tongue examination

Sabda pariksh

Examination of body sounds.

 

Ayurvedic Methods of Treatment 

Ayurvedic treatment attempts to establish a balance among the bodily humors of vata, pitta, and kapha, as well as improve digestion and elimination of ama.

Traditional Ayurvedic practitioners determine a person’s constitutional type before they start treatment. Drugs are prescribed based on the patient’s body type as well as on what disease or disturbance of the doshas they are suffering from. An Ayurvedic physician then considers all aspects that might affect the patient’s health, including their activities, the time of the day, and the season. In other words, patients are looked at as individuals as well as in relation to their environment. Ayurvedic therapy often begins with shodhana (cleansing) in which toxins, emotional or physical, are eliminated or neutralized. Without this first step, the toxins will only be pushed deeper into the tissues.

Shodhana follows shamana (palliative treatment) to reduce the intensity of a disease and balance the disordered doshas. At last , rasayana (rejuvenation therapy) is used to maintain health and reduce the negative effects of disease. Attention to mental nurturing and spiritual healing are important in Ayurveda, and this is collectively known as sattvavajaya

Shaman (palliative treatment) includes Dipana ( kindling the digestive fire), Pachana (burning the toxic waste), Ksud-nigraha (Fasting), Trut-nigraha (Observing thirst), Vyayama (Yoga exercise), Atapa-seva (Sun-bathing),Maruta-seva(Breathing exercise and meditation).

 

Panchakarma

Panchakarma is a high profile process of internally cleaning and purifying the entire human body, as described in Ayurvedic Science. It aims not only to cure the disease but also to prevent the further recurrence of the particular disease. Only healthy men can take this therapy. Children and elderly people are weak. Women by nature don’t require Panchakarma therapy.

There are five steps to complete the process.

Vaman (Emesis)

Vamana is a medicated emesis therapy which removes Kapha toxins collected in the body and the respiratory tract. This is given to people with high Kapha imbalance. Daily treatment involves loosening and mobilizing the toxins in an effort to finally eliminate them.

Vamana is beneficial in bronchial asthma, chronic allergies, hay fever, vitiligo, psoriasis, hyperacidity, chronic indigestion, nasal congestion, edema, obesity, psychological disorders, and skin disorders.

Virechan (Purgation)

Virechana is medicated purgation therapy which removes Pit ta toxins from the body that are accumulated in the liver and gall bladder. It completely cleanses the gastro-intestinal tract. It is a safe procedure without side effects. The beneficial effects of  Virechana are in following conditions: chronic fever, diabetes, asthma, skin disorders such as herpes, paraplegia, hemiplegia, joint disorders, digestive disorders, constipation, hyperacidity, vitiligo, psoriasis, headaches, elephantiasis and gynecologicaldisorders.

Basti (Enema)

As per modern understanding basti is enema.Basti (Enema) is considered as the most important step of all Panchakarma treatments since it cleanses the accumulated toxins from all the 3 doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha, through the colon. Basti is also highly beneficial as a rejuvenating treatment. Medicated oil or ghee and an herbal decoction is given as enema to clean the colon and increase the muscle tone. This procedure is usually applied for 8 to 30 days, based on the medical condition of a person.Basti is beneficial in following conditions hemiplegia, paraplegia, colitis, convalescence, cervical spondylosis, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, digestive disorders, backache & sciatica, hepatomegaly & splenomegaly, obesity, piles, sexual debility & infertility.  

Navan/Nasya (Nasal Administration)

It is the administration of medicated oil through the nose to cleanse accumulated Kapha toxins from the head and neck region. Based on the medical condition of a person, it can be given up to 30 days. Nasya is beneficial in following conditions:

trigeminal neuralgia, Bel’s Palsy, improves memory & eye sight, insomnia, elimination of excess mucus hyper pigmentation in the face, pre-mature graying of hair, clarity to voice, headaches of various origin hemiplegia, loss of smell and taste, frozen shoulder, migraine, stiffness of the neck, nasal allergies , neurological dysfunctions, sinusitis.

Rakta Moksha (Blood Cleansing)

Raktamokshana is procedure to cleanse the blood and is advised only in very rare conditions. It is not advisable during general Panchakarma.

Panchakarma Diet

Panchakarma is ineffective if special detoxification diet is not given along with the treatments.

The panchakarma process is still practiced today, after more than 3000 yrs, without changing the line of treatment. Many Panchakarma centers have opened in large and small cities all over India and Sri Lanka, where specially qualified Ayurvedic practitioners provide the panchakarma treatment. In Sri Lanka and South India, there is still big Ayurvedic Centers exists, Kerala is ahead in Panchakarma Therapy with world class facilities.

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