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Ayurveda: How Dosha impact our mental health

Chakrasana, yoganama, namita piparaiya

Ayurveda looks at the problems of both the body and mind and recognizes that the two are interlinked. If there’s a problem in the body then the mind is impacted. And if the mind is agitated then the body responds with changes in our hormones and nervous system. With that in perspective, Ayurveda gives recommendations for each dosha, not just for good physical health but also for our emotional well-being

In my previous Ayurveda blog, we learned that most psychological issues, as per Ayurveda, result from suppression of emotions. Instead of suppressing ourselves, we should work on cultivating positive emotions, learning to express ourselves through creative pursuits or healing practices like meditation, chanting, or Yoga. To read more, click here.

In this blog, we will go a little deeper into the subject by looking at the emotional temperament of each Dosha. Ayurveda gives unique guidelines to each Dosha or personality type on how they can understand and manage their emotions. Let’s start with Vata Dosha.

If you’re new to Doshas and would like to first understand them, then you can read my blog here.

Vata Dosha Emotional Health

sari, namaste, yoganama, namita piparaiya

Vata (Air & Wind element) people are versatile, creative, and social. They are very active and will be the most friendly people at a party.

Vata by its very nature is volatile as the wind. So, they tend to have a lot of emotional ups and downs. Their primary issue is fear and anxiety. Lack of love or feeling abandoned and alone makes them depressed as they’re inherently social. This Prakriti type is considered most prone to becoming suicidal because of the underlying volatility. Since Vata governs the mind, it has a faster impact on our mental state than any other dosha.

Having a set routine, committing to one thing and doing it consistently, avoiding too much vigorous activity, and talking less but listening more is good for Vata. They must also recognize that they like to have people around, so they must reach out to others instead of becoming isolated. They must seek warmth – through food, through the environment, through yoga practices, and through relationships.

  • The best food for Vata is warm, soupy one-pot meals.
  • The best exercises for Vata are those that promote balance and a state of grounding like Tree Pose or Child Pose.
  • The best herb for Vata is Hing or Asafoetida
  • The best resolution or affirmation for Vata is to be committed to their goals, relationships, and projects. To start something and actually finish it, without excuses or justifications.

Pitta Dosha Emotional Health

yoganama, namita piparaiya, bluePitta (Fire & Water element) people are knowledgeable, sharp, and perceptive. They are intense and can go deep into a subject very quickly. They have a strong sense of right and wrong and usually have good clarity on situations and problems. They are also very ambitious and can push themselves as well as others too much. They are prone to overdoing and overworking.

Their main issue is anger, and they can be very self-righteous. Since they have such high expectations they have little tolerance for even slight deviations. They can be overly critical but mostly their anger is directed outwardly. Unlike a Vata person who withdraws when emotionally disturbed, a Pitta person directs their anger at other people. They should be very mindful of their tendency to act superior to others. However, they do get deeply impacted by failure. Those Pitta types who learn to navigate and accept failure find peace, those who don’t become bitter.

Cooling practices, team sports, cultivating compassion towards others as well as themselves, appreciating the work done by others, taking time out to say nice things to their partner, or team members and spending time with nature when the weather is pleasant can help relax Pitta. Pitta is often very uncomfortable with social niceties and giving compliments, but they will do well by working on these aspects.

  • The best food for pitta is that which is cooling like fruits or less spicy dishes.
  • The best exercises for Pitta are those that promote humility and are cooling like forward bends, deep belly breathing, and side bends.
  • The best herb for Pitta is fresh Coriander (Cilantro)
  • The best resolution or affirmation for Pitta is to love others, to be compassionate, to forgive, to make time for rest.

Kapha Dosha Emotional Health

 namita piparaiyaKapha (Earth & Water element) people are amicable, loving, and they’re providers. They are the building blocks of society, families and are considered the best dosha in Ayurveda. They’re actually very supportive to Vata and Pitta and unfortunately don’t get that kind of support back from them. And that is at the root of most Kapha emotional issues as otherwise, they are very content people who do not like conflict or change.

Their main issue is possessiveness and attachment to people or things or the past. Loss makes them depressed – losing a loved one, a broken relationship, etc impacts them a lot. They have inertia and lack the motivation to change situations. Therefore, they should also be very mindful of their tendency to hold on or stagnate in one place or relationship even if it is unhealthy or harmful for them.

The good thing is once they adapt to change, they will stick with it for life. If they put their mind to it they can be more consistent than any other dosha. Therefore, all Kapha needs to do is find that motivation – energetic or challenging exercises, motivational books, or talks – all things that increase Rajas are useful for Kapha. A Vata or Pitta partner can help them find that motivation but Vata ends up ignoring them and Pitta ends up being critical of them.

  • The best food for Kapha is heating and spicy.
  • The best exercises for Kapha are invigorating like Surya Namaskara or Vinyasa Flow. They should just be careful to start slow and gradually build capacity.
  • The best herb for Kapha is Pepper
  • The best resolution or affirmation for Kapha is to trust themselves, to welcome change and not be afraid of it, and to learn to let go.

We can see that each Dosha has its own set of strengths and weaknesses which tend to manifest more often than others. By being aware of them we can make a conscious effort to influence our behavior for the better. This journey requires introspection and the ability to see our strengths as well as weaknesses objectively. And I hope this blog helped you take one step in that direction.

For more on this subject, head over to the Ayurveda section on the website or look me up on Instagram as @yoganama where I share weekly snippets on Ayurveda.

You can also find some of the books I recommend on Ayurveda by clicking here.

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