One of my clients asked me the other day…why is it that some people can eat just about anything on this earth and still be perfectly healthy and some get really bad digestive upsets if they deviate from their regular routine and eat out with friends once in a while!
In Ayurveda, it is clearly stated that “One person’s food can be another person’s poison!” Each one of us is unique!
As per Ayurveda, your structure, your facial features, your body’s physiology & psychology, the way you speak, think, work etc. are all governed by what is called your Prakruti– your unique mind-body constitution. Learning more about your Prakruti empowers you to make optimal lifestyle choices that prevent disease and support overall wellbeing. This is crucial in today’s day and age where more and more people are suffering from lifestyle based chronic illnesses!
Let’s understand what exactly is Prakruti…
Prakruti is your unique mind body constitution which is set at the time of conception. Assessment of Prakruti is the first step in traditional Ayurvedic practice as it establishes what is a person’s unique “normal.” We are in good health if we are close to our Prakruti! The moment we deviate from our Prakruti, we can feel the beginning of dis-ease in our body & mind!
Prakruti is often misunderstood as “Dosha” and you might come across the question – “What’s your Dosha?” To be accurate: everyone has all three Doshas – Vata, Pitta & kapha. It is the unique permutation & combination of all 3 doshas that is set at the time of conception which makes up your unique Prakruti! Your constitution could be dominant in one Dosha, two Doshas, or rarely, a balance of all three.
Your Prakruti could be:
V – Vata Dosha is predominant
P – Pitta Dosha is predominant
K – Kapha Dosha is predominant
V-P – Vata and Pitta Doshas are both predominant over Kapha
V-K – Vata and Kapha Doshas are both predominent over Pitta
P-K – Pitta and Kapha Doshas are both predominant over Vata
V-P-K –All three Doshas are fairly equal; no Dosha is predominant.
Let’s explore each individual Dosha. See what resonates with you!
Vata Dosha is formed when the air and ether elements come together and is the energy principle of movement. It is cold, dry, light, mobile, irregular and rough. If Vata predominates you are likely to be either very petite or very tall, with dry skin and sensitivity to cold and dry weather. Your sleep may be light and restless. You could be active, enthusiastic & creative, but your energy levels may be variable. You are prone to nervous and joint disorders, constipation, anxiety and restlessness.
Pitta Dosha is a combination of fire and water and is the energy of metabolism. It is a hot, oily, light, liquid, sharp, soft and smooth principal. If Pitta dominates, you are likely to be medium built with warm, ruddy skin and a tendency to get sunburnt. You have a robust appetite, could get irritable if you skip meals. You are bright and intellectual but could be excessively competitive. Pitta-dominant individuals are fiery and known for their sharpness and precision, which makes them the excellent “organizers” of any team. You are prone to inflammation, heartburn and aggression.
Kapha Dosha is a combination of water and earth and is the energy of cohesion. It is cool, wet, oily, heavy, dense, static and stable. If Kapha dominates, you could have a larger frame, tendency to gain weight, steady appetite, a loving, easy-going nature with resistance to change. Kapha-dominant individuals are patient, loving & caring personalities. You could be prone to congestion, water retention, sluggish digestion, weight gain, depression and lethargy.
Determining your Prakruti
There are many online quizzes to determine Prakruti, but they have their own shortcomings. It is difficult to incorporate the skills of a trained Ayurvedic professional into an online quiz, but just for fun try finding your prakruti using this VPK Dosha Quiz.
To know more about all three Doshas, please do take up our FREE online self-paced course on What’s your Dosha?
Knowledge of your Prakruti helps you curate a proper road map for your future! It helps you with the right diet and lifestyle in order to keep you healthy both physically & mentally so that you are able to achieve your highest potential and reach your life goals with ease!
Here are some ways in which knowing your Prakruti can be really useful…
Create healthy Dietary habits as per your prakruti
As per Ayurveda there are six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, astringent), that are suitable in different amounts for different mind-body constitutions. Although, all six tastes are necessary for a balanced diet, you will benefit from favoring or minimizing certain tastes as per your Prakriti.
For example, as a Kapha person, you can follow a “Kapha diet” by favoring bitter, pungent and astringent tastes, and eat warm and light foods. Such simple adjustments can prevent heaviness, lethargy and congestion, especially during winter and spring – the Kapha seasons.
To learn more about tastes- take up our self-paced online course on BASICS OF AYURVEDA.
Make general lifestyle adjustments for feeling your best as per your prakruti!
Your overall lifestyle can be based on the knowledge of your unique prakruti. If you are a pitta dominant individual, you know that you have a tendency to overdo things and burn out easily. To accommodate, you must make time to go over your priorities each morning and eliminate anything which isn’t necessary. You also need to plan leisure time for yourself on a regular basis. This helps keep your pitta dosha from going out of balance!
Sleep patterns for better rest and improved energy
Sleep is one of the three pillars of health in Ayurveda and can make all the difference to your health. Sleep recommendations are personalized, too! If you’re a Kapha person, you don’t need as much sleep as any other Prakruti, and should avoid daytime sleep, especially during spring. This simple alteration can prevent you from gaining weight.
Exercise and yoga guidelines
Exercise and yoga can be tailored to your unique Prakruti to ensure you get the most benefit, and no negative side effects from your activity. As a Vata, you need grounding yoga. Kapha are known for taking things too easily, but have good strength and need more exercise! Pitta are stronger but can be overly competitive and should avoid over exercising, otherwise it could move them towards burnout.
Select your job as per your prakruti
Your career and hobbies can align with your talents and tendencies through the knowledge of your unique Prakruti. Imagine a start-up company: Vata would have brilliant ideas, Pitta, the drive to set up the company and lead it and Kapha, the ability to sustain it! As a Kapha person, you would do well in customer service since Kapha tends to be patient. As a Pitta, you would be an excellent leader & organizer of a project and as a Vata person, you would do well in jobs that require creativity & out of the box imagination skills but you are likely to lose focus easily in long meetings! Knowing yourself helps you pick a career and jobs as per your strengths.
Build harmonious relationships
Besides knowing yourself, you could help your family & friends in knowing their unique mind body constitution & making lifestyle adjustments. You would also be able to empathize with people better and have harmonious relationships! If you know the other person is a pitta dominant person, you would make sure not to enter into any kind of argument at the time when their pitta dosha seems to be out of balance. Instead you would offer cooling drinks and cool environment to bring their pitta back into balance.
Adjusting to your surroundings
You are a part of nature and adapting to it can help you with your health. If you are a vata dominant, you know you get dry and feel cold easily and your vata can get aggravated in dry & cold environment but you can learn to balance this with awareness. You can customize your diet and lifestyle accordingly.
Adapting to the rhythms of nature
Being mindful about natural rhythms can help you adapt your diet & lifestyle accordingly. Afternoon is Pitta time and the best time to have your heaviest meal. Pitta is also more likely to be aggravated in the summer season. Knowing your constitution allows you to make adjustments to minimize these kinds of imbalances.
Chronic diseases are the leading causes of disability, which makes preventative health so important. Consider Vata qualities like cold & dry, that could eventually impact joint health. As a Vata person, you can be mindful of this right from childhood and balance them with opposite principles like keeping yourself hydrated, using the right kind and the right amount of oil in your diet, regular self-massages, staying warm and eating warm foods.
Prakruti teaches you about your mind-body tendencies, and how you interact with people and your environment.
Vikruti is the imbalanced state of the doshas in your body and mind, which usually happens when you are not living a proper lifestyle as per your unique Prakruti.
If you would like help in curating a personalized diet and lifestyle regime for yourself or your loved ones using Ayurvedic principles and holistic nutrition, do CONNECT with me to book your very own private one-on-one Ayurvedic & Holistic nutrition consultation.
It is my humble wish to make Ayurveda & Holistic Nutrition available to each one of us in an easy to understand format. ‘coz if all of us are healthy at the deepest level of the soul, only then this planet will be a happier place to live!
The content provided in my blogs are for knowledge sharing purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.