Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

I often get quizzical looks when I start an introductory lecture on Ayurveda with the comment that “the three doshas are not body types.” Vata, Pitta and Kapha are certainly foundational to every aspect of Ayurvedic theory and practice and understanding them starts with the fact that we are made up of all three doshas, just as everything in nature is made up of the five great elements ether, air, fire, water and earth. These concepts are quite similar to Yin, Yang and Chi in Traditional Chinese medicine, and knowing of their qualities, expressions and functional integrity or interrelationship is the key.

7 Constitutional Types

Constitutional “types” relate to the unique, individualized expression of each of the 3 doshas within an individual, not to simply identify with one. Ayurveda’s practical method identifies 7 basic constitutional “types,” based on our doshic make-up, but each of these types have infinite expressions. For example, someone may be single dosha predominate- Vata, Pitta or Kapha, while others dual-doshic- VP, PK, VK and some are tri-doshic/VPK=. Identifying where we fall along this constitutional spectrum isn’t an end game that culminates with a simple “one size fits all” list of how to live our lives or what types foods we should or shouldn’t ever eat based on our “dosha type.”

Knowing which dosha or doshas that are predominate in our unique constitution helps us to better understand long-term trends relating to our personal health as well as patterns of imbalance that might present themselves due to

Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

Triphala, Ayurveda’s Wonder Formula

Triphala is probably one of the most popular Ayurvedic compounds, and it can be found nowadays in almost every health food store and Indian grocery store. It is well known for being a mild laxative and lower bowel tonic. Triphala literally means ‘three fruits’ and contains equal parts of the amalaki, haritaki, and bibitaki fruits. These fruits come from the various Myrobalan trees found in India and have particularly balancing effects on each of the three doshas.

Amalaki

Triphala, Ayurveda's Wonder Formula Ayurveda Medicine

Amalaki or amla is regarded as a sacred tree in India. The tree was worshipped as Mother Earth and is believed to nurture humankind because the fruit is very nourishing. Amalaki fruit is well known for its cooling, pitta pacifying properties, and is rich in iron and vitamin C. It is strengthening to the blood, bones, liver, and heart. It is used alone or with other herbs to treat a variety of inflammatory types of disorders related to excess pitta. Even though it is sour to the taste, it has a special cooling quality that helps balance pitta.

It is also nourishing to all the bodily tissues and a tonic to the immune system, and it is the basis for the herbal jam known as Chyavanaprash, which is a general rasayana (rejuvenative tonic) used in Ayurveda. It reduces the toxicity of environmental pollutants, normalizes cholesterol, sheds unwanted fat, cures ulcers, prevents cancer, detoxifies the body, and regulates digestion.

Haritaki

Triphala, Ayurveda's Wonder Formula Ayurveda Medicine

Haritaki fruit rejuvenates vata dosha; it is

Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

Ayurvedic Tips for Insomnia

From an Ayurvedic perspective, insomnia is caused primarily by an imbalance of vata dosha. Vata is comprised of both air and ether, and has both light and mobile/irratic qualities. When these qualities accumulate and become excessive, they can cause difficulty either falling asleep or staying asleep. Pitta dosha also shares this light quality and pitta predominate individuals have a tendency for overworking, and burning the midnight oil, which eventually interferes with good restful sleep.
Kapha dosha can interfere with sleep mainly due to sleep apnea. This condition is complex and is best addressed through ayurvedic diet and lifestyle counseling as well as herbal treatment.

In ayurveda, dinacharya (healthy routines), can be used to treat insomnia very effectively. One of the most important routines to balance vata is to go to sleep by 10 pm, if this is difficult, work towards it to the degree your life allows. Also, try not to eat dinner much later than 7 pm. This allows us to fully digest our meal, so the digestive process doesn’t interfere with our sleep.

Below is a list of home remedies for improving the quality of sleep and restore depleted energy cause by the lack of needed rest. Note that these remedies are mainly for high vata and pitta.

Ashwagandha Siddha Milk-
Add 1 tsp. Ashwagandha powder to one cup of whole milk and a half cup of water and boil lightly for 5 minutes in an uncovered pot until one cup of liquid