A YOGI CHA BLOG
Your body type is not as important as you think
We love to compartmentalise because it makes things easy to understand. And we tend to simplify because it just feels better for our brains!
I’ve said this before, we seek patterns in our surroundings in order to understand better.
So when it comes to things like Ayurveda, people love to take quizzes to know which dosha they are. “What is your body type?”
So if you are new to my podcast, here’s a quick recap of what that means and if you want more details, you can go back to some of the first episodes where I dedicate more time to explaining the 3 doshas.
Every living organism is built up by a combination of the 5 elements and consciousness. When consciousness brings them to life, they form the 3 doshas, 3 bio mechanical energies which are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata is responsible for lifeforce moving in the body and all the other systems that circulate, Pitta is responsible for metabolism and kapha for structure. Depending on the ratio of these three energies we note that the dominant one tends to be what we align with. To make it very clear, an elephant has a higher ratio of structure, kapha than the other two doshas and so the qualities of kapha will be the tendency of bodily functions in the elephant. On the opposite side we can see that a tiny bird will not have a dominance in body tissues or even metabolism (expression “eating like a bird”) but more so of Vata. It even lives in the air.
We recognize this logic in humans since we are also a part of the living organisms in this world. However, since we tend to not align with nature but instead to resist it, we develop imbalances more often than not. And that is what we work with in my program for instance. Bringing those imbalances back to aligning with the law of nature.
I have spoken in the past about tendencies and how we can translate that word into habits when looking at it from a psychological perspective. Of course, when there is a tendency in us since childhood, we are more inclined to lean into that than anything else. This is why we would say that a Vata dominant person would more easily develop issues with the VATA dosha in them and that a PITTA person would lean towards overheating, because its main element is fire.
This is absolutely true. However, it’s more complex in real life.
And here is what that looks like.
Firstly, two people with the same dominant dosha might not have the same ratio of the doshas which means that one might tend towards a pure tendency and the other might have quite the intertwined one with another dosha. Another interesting fact is that the combination of two can very much look like a third but as soon as we go into details about humour, digestion and temperature we realise that the look-a-like was only physical appearance.
Secondly, our doshas actually become dominant at different stages in our lives. Childhood is dominated by kapha dosha, adulthood by pitta and third stage of life by vata. So a person’s age will also play an important role in what might flare up.
How you have lived your life until the moment you consult for instance will also determine what dosha is out of balance because for anyone, a vata dosha out of balance for several years without any kind of rectification will naturally open the door to imbalances in the other two. Vata is air and if you will for the sake of this metaphor, the wind. The more the wind blows, the drier the climate becomes. That will more easily allow for fire to spread. For this reason, a Kapha dominant person who has been living a very irregular life might present Pitta imbalances during the Pitta time of life.
So where you are in life but also how you have been living until now will be more important maybe than what your original constitution or prakruti is.
Thirdly, it has always been said that the doshas move constantly since we move constantly and that is even more true today. After all, today’s movement has become polarised. On the one hand we don’t move enough at all. We sit still and have our backs hunched all day long. We take the car, we order in and so on. But at the same time we tend to move around by living in completely different areas to where we were born. Travelling to another country or another continent has even become as ordinary as taking the bus to another city for many. When we used to travel once a year to the max, these days many travel every month. We go And let’s not even get started on the speed we travel at. This is not aligning with nature. If we would walk to where we are headed, we would not get jet lagged of course because our whole organism would naturally adapt during the trip.
So those are just some general aspects of how our doshas move but you will therefore also have a more complex movement inside your system which means that your digestion or your mind might be of a type that flares up. And that I would like to attribute once again, how you have been living until this moment. If digestion has always been a priority for you and so since your early 20’s you have been eating healthy, home cooked foods at regular meal times, it has been stable for a long time and Vata for instance will not shake it around so easily. But if, like many, digestion was absolutely not a concern and you might have been eating instant noodles or macaroni for dinner 4 times a week during university studies, then your digestion might be weak.
What this part means from the Ayurvedic perspective is that by tending to your VATA dosha you will more easily stay in a balanced state and so you will help your organism to be stable. I want to take the image of the oil lamp where the steady and slow absorption of the oil by the mesh will maintain the flame strong and stable so that there is enough oil all along. When we move around too much, the flame will flicker and absorption becomes irregular and will tend to burn out too fast.
So what this means is that you will need to tend to your vata first, no matter what constitution you have and this will first and foremost be as a lifestyle guideline. Then, depending on yes- your dominance of the doshas- but also, your age, where you live, what time of the year it is and how resilient you are (meaning how you have treated yourself before), the dietary guidelines and stress management might be different to the next person. Even the fact that your nervous system will detect danger differently to the next person is important here.
Hi, I’m Charlotte (Yogi Cha). I’m a yoga teacher with a degree in clinical psychology. I’ve always had a deep curiosity toward eastern and western approaches to understanding the mind, and the ming/body union. You’ll find me in the lovely Canggu Bali, nestled amongst coconuts, palm trees and sunshine 🥥🌴🌞
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