My sister and I were talking about the three body types (doshas) in Ayurveda, and I wrote a long response to her, so I thought I’d share it here. She said “I’m not quite sure how to balance the food suggestions. It seems like foods okay for Vata are not ok for Pitta. According to any of the surveys or tests I’ve taken, I’m under 10% Kapha. What does that mean? Is the goal 33:33:33?”
It’s kind of confusing at first. But let’s say you’re 60:30:10 Vata:Pitta:Kapha. Your goal is to stay 60:30:10. You would be considered a Vata-Pitta type, in modern Ayurveda they break it into 10 types not just three. V, P, K, VP, PV, VK, KV, PK, KP, and VPK. But everyone has a little of all three; 100% or 1/3 of each is very rare. So look for food recommendations for Vata-Pitta, not Vata and Pitta. Maya Tiwari’s book has detailed food charts.
Dosha means “thing which goes out of balance”, so they are always getting slightly unbalanced through food and lifestyle, and we bring them back in balance through the same. For example, Vata likes and does well with sweet flavors, they will keep Vata in balance. But if we overdo it, eat too much sweet, we get overly Vata (anxious and worried). If you took a dosha test at that point, you might think you’re 80% Vata, but really you just have a Vata imbalance. (Vata is the element which gets most frequently out of balance btw). Or if you have a job where you’re on the phone all the time, making deadlines, overachieving, that would push your Pitta. So part of it is figuring out what your natural, healthy state is. But even this “permanent” dosha blend can change over time, if you change environments or other major elements of your life.
It’s just a nice, kind of poetic way to see some more lifestyle causes and effects. For example, the parts of the day rotate through the doshas.
10am – 2pm is Pittic, it is hot and sunny, best time for work or eating, but Pittas might overheat
2pm – 6pm is Vatic, it is clear and light, we can be stimulated or frazzled, good to think and reflect
6pm – 10pm is Kaphic, it is dark and cool, good for relaxing and slowing down
10pm – 2am is Pittic, if we stay up past 10 we often get a second wind that keeps us up til 2 (why Ayurveda says retire at 10)
2am – 6am is Vatic, clear and cold, best time to meditate
So you might notice your energy is different at different times of day.
Fall pushes Vatas out of balance, too (they don’t like the cold and wind cause they are that way already). So have a good autumn!