Figs & Pomegranates as Superfoods

Superfoods are nutritional gems the supermarkets have all clocked on. But have you ever heard of figs and pomegranates as superfoods? You’re about to. According to Ayurveda both are tridoshic meaning that they are nourishing and supportive of all 3 doshas, the 3 basic humours (see here for a reminder). Their composition makes them highly antioxidant and rejuvenating. Zoom in below:

FIGS

image

Figs are an excellent tonic for energy and vitality. In Ayurveda they qualify as rich in ojas, the essential energetic sap and immunity. Due to their nutrients and high fiber they are a good detoxifier, diuretic and emollient. Figs are considered a blood purifier and activate blood circulation. They are full of vitamins B which are excellent for protection of the micro- blood vessels. Again figs are nourishing, antioxidant and rejuvenating. They’re rich in minerals which restore the metabolism and repair the internal equilibrium of the gut.

In Ayurvedic terms figs calm excess Vata and soothe excess Pitta. They help balance the air and fire elements within the body and mind, generally helping to ground. Ayurveda maintains that natural foods have an inner intelligence which goes far beyond the breakdown of the nutritional elements – an intelligence carried through Rasa (the taste of foods) which communicates with the natural intelligence of our body and mind to properly feed and heal our organism. With this in mind figs are known in Ayurveda to be neuro-sedative, they are helpful in long-time grief and sadness, feelings of solitude or isolation, helping with emotional pain. They are comforting and bring fresh energy that can alleviate sadness and enhance confidence, ease and a sense of wellbeing.

They’re also a laxative, helping elimination. Figs disperse excess heat and harmonise the body’s temperature in Pitta types, soothing inflammatory conditions including those affecting mucous in the body and irritation of the lungs. They even appear to cool overly fiery temperaments.

And here I have the most beautiful illustration, all credits to Kimberly Espinel at The Little Plantation. I have been following Kimberly’s blog for almost as long as it’s been spreading its wings and with the same glee every time I open a new post. Kimberly is exquisitely talented in presenting through her work a passion for “vegetarian, vegan and raw vegan food for the whole family”. Not only is she a genius at designing inspired healthy recipes but she has a delightful eye for beauty that beams through her photography. I am deeply grateful that she has offered me a couple of her beautiful pictures to ornate my website. Thank you! And please go over to check her Vegan Fig And Kale Pesto Pizza.

POMEGRANATES

image

Pomegranates are one of the most nutrient dense potent health food you could find and though we in the west are more used to eating the seeds or drinking the juice, all parts of the flower, leaves, bark and peel are known to be used with powerful benefits. Pomegranates are also tridoshic, they are high in vitamin C, potassium and fibre. They are sweet in taste which in Ayurveda makes them cooling, soothing, astringent and mild. The first obvious benefit it derives quenching thirst and hydrating the body. These qualities also reduce fire in the system, and pomegranates are excellent for aggravated Pit ta digestion – the first consequence of which would be loose bowels, diarrhoea and related IBS symptoms such as stomach acidity and low metabolism due to low digestive enzymes.

Their antibacterial qualities makes them a good food to take when fighting parasites and viral infections or simply to boost the immune system. Pomegranates are overall very healing and balancing. They are cooling and pacifying for aggravated Pitta heat in the stomach and also the blood, skin, eyesight and even emotions. Use of pomegranates for cooling a fever is possible.

They are very effective in preventing ama (Sanskrit word for toxins) in the lymphatic system and plasma which in turn enhances the health of the blood, blood pressure and circulation. They are said to lower cholesterol.

Pomegranates are strengthening all around including being considered a tonic for the heart and benefiting blood vessels. Without going too much into the how’s and why’s which I haven’t for lack of space (check out Ayurvedic sources if you’re interested) pomegranates enhance oxygenation to the brain and body as well as circulation of nutrients and energy.

Scientific research shows that they also protect against osteoarthritis.

On a mental level they may help focus and clarity.

Quite the list, isn’t it?

Time to give another credit to photographer Cheryl Juetten who provided the striking picture above which will also start appearing in the banner on the website.

And what better time for me to pick up my copy of Sue Monk Kidd’s Travelling With Pomegranates, a mother and daughter journey I aspire to take one day.

Need some cooking ideas? I take you back to Kimberly with this Roasted Red Kuri Squash With Sumac, Pomegranates And Greens.

As you may have noted though, I am a little late with the season this year in terms of “harvest” time so of course my advice is eat seasonally if you can.

Wishing you all health & happiness this Yule!

 

Kapha: Earth + Water

imageNot quite a cliffhanger but this post is very overdue. Here’s to the in’s & out’s of Kapha dosha types.

We need a little reminder at this stage.

Ayurvedic sages observed that the natural world contains energy in the form of five elements: ether, air, fire, water and earth. These elements are the basis of all matter and energy, all living beings. According to Vedic knowledge the 5 elements combine to form 3 energy fields which are referred to as Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These fields are present in and around us. Our bodies are made up of all 3 energies in different proportions. We are born with our unique ratio of doshas. This is our natural constitution, a distinct combination called Prakruti. Learning about the doshas and which are more present in our physiology helps us understand our true nature and how best to care for it.

Do the test to find out which dosha or doshas are prominent in you: Know your a, b, c’s.

To refer to all my previous posts on doshas you can do a search on the site filtering the blog using the “category” look-up which you’ll find in your side bar from the home page if on a PC or at the bottom of the page if on a tablet or phone.

Together we’ve already learnt that:

Your Kapha type tends to move in a slow, graceful and relaxed fashion. If Kapha, your body frame is usually more curvy, possibly stocky. You gain weight easily, lose it with difficulty. You have thick, oily or lustrous hair. Your skin is smooth, soft, moist and perhaps oily. You have soft, large and firm features in general and a deep & pleasant voice. You are physically strong and have stamina. You are  affectionate, caring, calm, patient, happy, supportive and serene. You are sociable and make friends easily though you’re quite homely. You have strong immunity. You don’t need much food but have a constant appetite, often craving food. You’re a deep sleeper and find it hard to get out of bed. You are slow, deliberate and methodical of character, even tempered, steady, sympathetic and sensitive. Easy-going and sweet would best illustrate your personality.

Kapha dosha is the one that holds everything together, the glue that binds the cells. It promotes anabolism, governs the formation of physical structure and is responsible for the strength and cohesion of cells, tissues, organs, muscles and bones. It regulates body mass and fluids. It lubricates our joints, moisturises the skin, helps to heal wounds. And it brings vigor and stability.

When Kapha is in balance it expresses qualities of love, calm and compassion. However like with all doshas we must be vigilant to getting out of balance. When we have an excess of a particular dosha we tend to lean towards our imbalance with our lifestyle only making the side-effects worse.

An excess of Kapha would display as becoming heavy, sluggish, dull, fatigued and drowsy – possibly obese too. In the body it would form an excess of mucous, you could suffer sinus headaches, respiratory problems such as asthma and wheezing. Lung congestion, cough, colds and mucous secretions are common disorders in children and teens which is considered a Kapha phase of life of physical growth and body structuring. The aggravated Kapha type would become insecure, greedy, jealous or intolerant and be prone to deep depression of the kind that disables normal functioning.

How do you tackle aggravated Kapha dosha and restore optimum wellbeing?

As like increases like, the opposite treatment helps redress the balance. Changes in diet and daily routine can bring dramatic results. I truly believe that.

Beware too much of the sugary, salty and fatty stuff in your diet. Restrict your intake of those as well as fried foods, heavy foods and dairies. Be strict with yourself especially with reducing sweetness on your plate. You must kindle your inner fire through a varied diet. Spices are good for you and hot dishes are actually helpful. Dry and astringent foods are recommended if congested. Only eat when hungry and limit portion size. Do not overeat basically as this will create ama (undigested food & toxins) in the body causing health problems. Watch your weight. Sip hot water all day but in small quantities. Ginger and turmeric tea is particularly good.

Stay warm. Use heating pads in winter. Kapha is a cold dosha and you are sensitive to damp and cold so layer up.

Create stimulation in your life and a variety of experiences. This includes regular physical exercise that brings a proper sweat and push you to your limit as well as activities that invigorate your mind, energise your senses and revitalise your spirit. Go dancing, jump on a trampoline, take a run outside preferably in a sunny spot, jump out of a plane, take on a big project that challenges you and keeps your brain engaged to complete it. Shake it all up!

Meditate to spark the alertness already inside of you.

Perform a full body daily dry massage on yourself called garshana using raw silk gloves or a brush. Avoid oils when out of balance. This practice will stimulate your circulation if done briskly under 10 minutes at the beginning of each day.

You are a happy person by nature, remember that sweet soul!

 

Side note:

If you think you might be suffering from depression seek help – and you may want to consult the book Healing Depression The Mind-Body Way, Creating Happiness With Meditation, Yoga And Ayurveda by Nancy Liebler Ph.D. and Sandra Moss M.S.P.H. The book is an absolute fountain of wisdom even if you’re only looking for support “coping with the problems of daily living” (quoting the back sleeve). Its knowledge of Ayurveda is second to none, and the principles of Ayurveda are explained with absolute clarity. A very good read for anyone interested in deepening their knowledge of Ayurveda.

image

 

Pitta: Fire + Water

imageWords of warning, this will be one of the dense-r posts (read substantial + helpful). I try to inject lightness in my writing – who says being healthy shouldn’t be fun? – but there are subjects that are a bit of a must if I am to share my love and passion for Ayurveda.

So this is chapter 2 on the doshas and I’ll try and make it shorter and sweeter than the last.

We’re looking at the Pitta body-mind type.

Click here to take the test and find out what your body-mind type is (or are, if you have more than one predominant dosha).

The energy of Pitta creates heat and controls metabolism. In the body it is a biological combination of fire and water. The qualities that make pitta are hot, sharp, light, liquid, spreading, oily, and sour. In my previous post Know Your A, B, C’s you learnt that if you have a strong Pitta dosha then you are of medium physique, strong and well-built. You have fair or pink reddish skin sometimes with freckles, fair or red hair. You become uncomfortable in too much heat or sun and will burn. Physical concerns you might meet include rashes, inflammation, acne, acidity in the stomach, loose stools, heart burns, ulcers and problems with your eyesight. You have strong digestion and appetite and would feel ravenous if you had to miss a meal. At your best you have a sharp, keen intellect. You enjoy challenges, you are passionate, competitive and entrepreneurial, assertive, self-confident, precise and articulate, orderly and focused. When out of balance you can be critical and have a quick temper, you get easily frustrated and angry. Watch out for signs of becoming a workaholic and losing your work-life balance. Under stress your first reaction is irritation. You are a born leader with good public speaking skills but must keep your tantrums in check.

As always keep in mind that these are tendencies and no one fits exactly into the description. Doshas influence your body and mind but you are made up of all three doshas in different proportions and with a specific and unique make-up: yours.

If you feel yourself getting aggravated, too intense and into pitta overload here are some tips for self-soothing before you burn out.

Choose calming & cooling foods, not cold or icy but foods that cool your temperament from the inside out. The best way to do this is to focus on the sweet, bitter and astringent tastes in your meals. Examples are mung beans, coconut, coriander, asparagus,  sweet fruits and salads. I also recommend milk, butter and ghee (clarified butter used in Ayurveda with very potent qualities and a cooling digestive effect), all sweeteners (in the healthy range preferably!) but not honey which is heating and will add fire to your already overheated body functions. Stock your kitchen with rice, oats, lentils, granola or muesli and tofu as a few key ingredients. Pomegranate is a saviour too, drink it as a juice or add the peeps to salads and other dishes. Eat your greens. Sprinkle cooling herbs such as mint or dill.

On the other hand avoid sour, oily and spicy hot foods. Your meals should basically be quite simple in taste. Alcohol is not advised if you’re aggravated, neither are caffeinated drinks, tobacco or meat. Try and eat vegetable proteins.

Pittas are very sensitive to impurities so take in only pure foods, use clean cosmetics or none at all, make sure your environment is as chemical-free as possible or metabolic imbalances will appear.

Find a healthy channel to release suppressed emotions such as anger or irritation. Meditation and yoga are again your best tools. Or start a team sport where being “one-of-the-team” is more important than a solo win – or where playing is more important than the competition.

Watch funny films on repeat, lift your moods up with a comedy. Laughing is your best medicine, you need to lighten up and share a giggle with someone you love. Your nature is joyous when balanced so you just need to come back to that happy, sweet place.

Pittas have a thing for beauty: a beautiful natural scenery will soothe your senses – or if in the city go to an art gallery and make your living quarters as harmonious looking as possible.

Walk by a lake, river or the sea. The water element is part of pitta but in its natural form it will cool your fiery nature. Walking on a (safe) moonlit night is meant to be very cooling if you would like to try it.

Avoid staying in the sun for too long is a given. Saunas and steam rooms are best avoided too. Coolness in any form will help.

A brilliant tool for overactive Pittas is the Sitali breathe. In very simple words it consists of breathing in with your mouth open around your tongue which should be curled on the side as if forming a tube. You should extend your tongue slightly out if you can and then exhale through the nose, this for 3 to 5 rounds. If you’re not able to curl your tongue, the Sitkari breathe provides the same benefits: breathe in through a slightly open mouth as if hissing, your tongue resting behind your lower teeth and breathe out with your nose. Your in-breath should basically feel refreshing.

Did I say yet? Cool, cool, cool.

And without needing to go all hippie if that’s not your call, cultivate a little kindness and acceptance. You can do it!

 

 

Digging into Vata dosha

imageAyurveda is a combination of complex analytic knowledge and simple practical solutions.

It encompasses a deep understanding of the intricacies of our environment, our bodies and the elaborate mechanisms that operate them and at the same time it suggests clear, coherent, intelligent and uncomplicated information and practises for dealing with disharmony in body and mind.

Ok this all sounds a bit puffed up! What am I talking about?

You’ll hear me talk about balance a lot because that is the real aim of Ayurveda, to support a harmonious way of living and bring balance to our bodies, minds and lifestyles in order to tap into our natural source of energy.

Each person is born with a set Prakriti which translates as its ideal configuration and which is a very specific balance of the 5 primary elements. This combination basically shapes your personality & physique. Once you’ve assessed your overall constitution you can look at its principal characteristics to understand what works for you and how to restore balance when you’re in a state of aggravation or dis-ease.

If you’re unsure of your personal make-up then please take a moment to take the test I posted with my previous article Know Your A, B, C’s.

Today we’ll look at Vata dosha but keep in mind that you could have more than one predominant dosha. I am very much a pitta-vata with very little Kapha in me and as I tend to go “over-board” quickly it is important for me to routinely soothe my vata and cool my pitta. Take the test and check-in with yourself.

So let’s dig in.

Vata governs flow and motion in the body. The basic elemental attributes (gunas) of Vata dosha are cold, dry, light, subtle, mobile, irregular, sharp and quick, hard, rough and clear. The physiology of a Vata will tend towards a thin body with a small frame, small eyes, possibly dry skin. You might be a light sleeper, finding it difficult to fall asleep and waking in the night. Your physical activity is variable and can jump from periods of intensity to nothing at all with bursts of high energy then feeling flat. You talk and walk quickly. You are impulsive and emotionally sensitive. You lean towards restlessness when out of synch. Your appetite is irregular as is your digestion, with possible constipation. You feel the cold more sharply and so prefer warmer climates. You hardly sweat and body odour is minimal. Menstruation in women can be irregular. You are more prone to disease, pains and aches as well as mental disorders. You are very alert and a quick thinker, grabbing and understanding information very quickly, forgetting quickly too. You tend to be fearful & anxious when out of balance but you are also a creative and bring freshness and enthusiasm to your many new endeavours. You are motivated, easily excited and vivacious when in balance. The subtle essence of vata is Prana (life energy/breath in Sanskrit).

To balance vata when it has gone in overdrive there are a number of options.

Eat a vata-pacifying diet. Ayurveda recommends including all 6 tastes with each meal but Vatas should favour salty, sour and sweet tastes above all. It is best for you to have a warm meal, using oils. Winter one-pot meals are very good and grounding as are porridge or other hot cereal breakfast types. Spices are helpful because heating, and a little fresh ginger in a hot drink taken sometime before a meal will warm up your digestive system. Don’t forget to drink lots of warm liquids throughout the day. Try warm milk with cinnamon or nutmeg 20 minutes before bed to sleep and as a Vata you’re actually allowed to snack inbetween meals if you feel a bit light-headed, a piece of fruit would be the ticket.

Ayurveda has a depth of research about what foods are appropriate to eat for each dosha. This knowledge is based on the potent energy (virya) of the food and its post-digestive effect. See “Eat Taste Heal, An Ayurvedic Cookbook For Modern Living” in my Resources page for now.

Perhaps the last thing you want to hear with your adventurous nature is that you really must bring in regular eating and sleeping habits. Have your meals at the same time every day, go to bed at the same time. Exercise at the same time even. Boring I’ll hear you say but there is truly no better advice for soothing the nerves and accessing your innate resources of energy. Avoid loud noises and crowds. Your packed commuter train is not your friend, any chance you can cycle in? Also try and get a rain-check on some of your evening commitments and get a proper night-in time-out to rest from your busyness and overstimulation if you sense that you’ve become all-a-frazzled. Get some rest and avoid stimulants. Pick up a good book instead.

Vatas will do well with finding at least one moment of true peace in their day to ground and find their core balance. Meditation is the ideal tool to bring pockets of calm into your life and deal with stress. Go to a class if you’re unsure, in fact it is really a necessity to learn with a “professional” if you’ve never had a go at meditation before. You’ll learn a technique and more importantly what to expect. Primordial meditation works best for me, using a mantra you give your attention to (most people think they have to work at emptying their mind which makes it a tall order!) You can start by simply focusing on your breathe for 5 minutes of quiet. Or check out http://www.headspace.com

Tip of all tips for Vatas, give yourself a daily warm sesame oil massage at the beginning of the day. Check my post Self-Love In The Shower for a full how-to.

According to Ayurveda spending time in nature helps heal our body and mind and of the many outdoor sensory experiences that promote wellbeing walking barefoot on the earth or grass for a few minutes every day is probably the best practice for grounding the turbulence of a vata racing mind. Put your attention on your feet, feel the earth’ solid support and imagine taking roots & absorbing nourishment from the ground up.

Also spend a little time in the sun to balance the cold nature of vata. If you feel sick, sit by a window and allow the light and warmth to seep in. Avoid drafts, put a layer on and as vata is also dry make sure that the air in your room is humid enough. If not get a houseplant or place a metal bowl full of water on a heat source.

Finally as Vatas spend a lot of time in their heads try and focus on your body more with a good yoga session but go for a gentle slow moving class, Yin yoga is a good example. Or do Tai Chi.

Good luck with these, and if in doubt keep in mind one of the tenet of Ayurveda which is “Like increases like” and take steps to “use opposites as medicine”.

image

 

Self-love in the shower

Do I have your attention yet?

From Ashes
From Ashes

It sounds a bit kinky but a very innocent post afterall.

Snehana is the Sanskrit word for oleation or lubrication – and Sneha expresses a feeling of “stupendous love and immense tenderness” (Maya Tiwari).

For years now I had been meaning to introduce daily Abhyanga (warm oil self-massage) but life taking over as it does it is only when I started my Ayurvedic studies with my teacher in the US – Cate Stillman – and listened to her strategy video for the course that I was totally sold on the idea that I must make it an absolute necessity in my daily routine. And I did! A few words from her and I was hooked. From one day to the next I started oil massage as a morning bathroom ritual and have continued without fail. And I’m very glad I did too.

Here are some of the benefits it claims:

– radiant skin

– better circulation

– better sleep

– tones the muscles

– improves elimination of toxins from the skin, blood, plasma and lymph system

– regulates the digestive system

– feeds the inner tissues of the body (dathus)

– boosts the immune system

– calms the nervous system, reduces anxiety

– nurtures body and soul, grounds & gives you that feeling of connection

The list goes on…

And here is how to do it:

Allow between 5 and 20 minutes depending on how much time you are able to give yourself.

Use sesame oil especially in the autumn and winter and all year around if you are of a vata constitution, coconut is best for pittas in the summer time. Kaphas may like olive or mustard oil but will be fine with sesame all year around too. The benefits of sesame oil, and coconut oil for that matter, would require a full post of their own. Always buy food grade oils, organic from a health food store – if good enough to eat then it’s good enough on your skin, after all you are feeding your skin as well as the deeper tissues.

Warm the oil by placing the bottle in hot water for 5 minutes, or if possible to higher than body temperature.

Ideally you would want to start with your head but I for one understand the logistic & time-management restrictions with a 2 year old in toe. If you do then take a small amount of oil then use fingertips to work the scalp deeply, slightly pulling the roots of your hair.

Next massage your face using circular movements all over not forgetting important points like the third-eye, temples, around the eyes by circling along the eyebrow line then along the lower lid area, laugh lines (a face lift tip right there) and also the chin.

Be especially intent when massaging the ears, placing a few drops inside the ear and applying pressure all around the outer ear.

Move on to the neck, front and back, in long strokes then the shoulders with circular movements, the top of your chest including the collarbone in strokes. Next are the arms.

The rule is generally massage in firm long strokes with the palm of your hands on long bones and circular movement on joints, shoulders, elbows, hips, wrists and ankles – and you are massaging from top to bottom and always towards the heart.

Continue moving through the body, one arm then the other, paying extra attention to the hands (palms, knuckles & small joints of each fingers). Abhyanga will help keep breast tissue healthy. The abdomen should be massaged circularly, be gentle though. Massage the liver, pancreas & spleen by reaching under the ribcage. Proceed on to the side of the body then your back, hips, bottom and legs. Again pay extra attention to the feet including sole and toes.

If time allows keep the oil on a few minutes then have a warm bath or shower to both wash the oil off and deepen the benefits of the massage.

Totally overwhelmed by my instructions? Watch this video with Alicia Diaz. She’s a cool cookie in the world of Ayurveda and I’m a bit of a groupie.

I do believe that the massage helps activate the marma points (vital pressure points) and even though I have been a bit shy about owning up to it in public to start with, I truly believe that daily massage has contributed to my weight loss and with feeling and looking better than I have in years. So here you go, now you know my secret!

 

Know your a, b, c’s

imageSo we now know that Ayurveda teaches that the world is made up of 5 building blocks, earth, water, fire, air and ether. These elements combine to create 3 mind-body types, called doshas:

Air & ether combined form Vata dosha 💨

Water & earth form Kapha dosha 🌳

Fire & water form Pitta dosha 🔥

There’s so much clever information I could give you about how the doshas are formed, what they are and what they mean, which I will in good time, but being limited by the size of a post, let’s just get to the fun part for today. Here is a short test to assess what your body-mind type is. Meet you at the end of it.

a) Are you either very tall or short and thin?

b) Are you of medium height?

c) Are you solid and quite big?

 

a) Is your silhouette light and narrow?

b) Are you of medium musculature?

c) Is your silhouette large and broad?

 

a) Are you slim and find it difficult to put weight?

b) Are you of medium weight?

c) Do you gain weight easily?

 

a) Do you often suffer from dry, brittle skin?

b) Is your skin soft and fairly warm?

c) Is your skin moist and cool?

 

a) Do you have a dark complexion?

b) Is your complexion fair and pink?

c) Is your complexion pale?

 

a) Do you have an average amount of hair?

b) Do you have soft fine hair, fair or red?

c) Is your hair thick, lustrous and brown?

 

a) Do you have small, narrow or sunken eyes ? Dark or grey?

b) Are your eyes an average size? Blue, hazel or green?

c) Do you have big, prominent eyes? Blue or brown?

 

a) Do you have low stamina?

b) Do you usually have good stamina and strength?

c) Do you move steadily but slowly, have good endurance?

 

a) Are you happier in a warm climate than in a cold environment?

b) Do you prefer to be in a cool spot than anywhere hot?

c) Are you cooler than most even if carrying extra weight?

 

a) Do you suffer from constipation more often than not?

b) Do you often have loose stools?

c) Do you have normal bowel movement?

 

a) Are you restless with lots of ideas buzzing?

b) Are you precise and logical?

c) Are you logical and stable?

 

a) Do you speak quickly? In a low tone, weak or quavering voice?

b) Do you talk with conviction and precisely?

c) Do you speak slowly?

 

a) Do you struggle to fall asleep at night and sometimes suffer sleepless nights?

b) Do you fall asleep quickly but wake early, or in the night?

c) Are you a big sleeper, lying in bed late into the morning?

 

a) Do you become anxious or worried frequently?

b) Are you impatient, easily irritable and prone to bouts of anger?

c) Are you generally sweet-natured, serene and affectionate?

 

Mostly a’s – you’re a Vata dosha 💨

Vata qualities are primarily cold, moving/movement, quick, dry and rough. Slight in build with dry skin and a tendency to feel cold and get tired easily. Your energy comes in bursts. You  have a very quick, restless, imaginative mind. You are easily excitable, active, curious, impulsive, adaptable and have good short-time memory but don’t retain information for long periods. You love speed, excitement and change, you’re the enemy of routine which of course would give you some needed grounding. Your speech is fast and chaotic or uninterrupted. You are prone to fearfulness and insecurity. In balance you are happy, enthusiastic and energetic.

Mostly b’s – you’re a Pitta dosha 🔥

Pitta qualities are primarily hot, sharp, moist, sour. Medium built and muscular with easily recognisable features such as pale/pink skin, blond/blue eyes, or red/sandy hair. You like sport and competition. Intelligent, determined, courageous and passionate you can be a bit forceful, aggressive, jealous and irritable. You have very strong digestion and will feel ravenous if you miss a meal. You will tend to feel hot and have warm hands and feet. You are articulate with strong opinions and sometimes critical or sarcastic. You love a challenge that you will meet head-on. In balance you are sweet, joyous, confident and brave.

Mostly c’s – you’re a Kapha dosha 🌳

Kapha qualities are primarily heavy, sweet, steady, soft and slow. Of a larger built you gain weight easily and find it difficult to lose it. You tend to have cool pale oily skin. You are strong, powerful and also attractive, charming even. Your pace is slow but steady and secure. You go about life in a calm, relaxed manner. You must be careful not to fall into lethargy, greed, attachment or depression . Your speech is slow and melodious. You have excellent stamina and rarely feel fatigued. Your energy will last you into the night. You love storing, possessions, energy, food. You’re a slow learner but have very good retention and will master your subject. In balance you are affectionate, tolerant, compassionate and forgiving, motherly would be a good description. You’re a nurturer if there is such a word.

Gave you any insight? Note that the human constitution or Prakriti is made of all three doshas, each person with different degrees of each dosha. You can find more elaborate tests on the net. Those that are thorough will offer to test your physical and mind types separately because although we are one “ecosystem” the mind and body can have different tendencies. Most people will have one predominant dosha, some will have two predominant doshas and very rarely someone will have all three doshas in equal proportion.  If you’re unsure, visit an Ayurvedic practitioner and (s)he should be able to read your dosha by taking your pulse.

Once you know your dosha, your true nature, the next step is to assess wether you are in balance (your Prakriti state) or have aggravated dosha energy (your Vikruti state) in which case you will want to follow an Ayurvedic daily regimen of nurturing rituals to bring the doshas back into their “seat”. You’ll also know what diet will truly nourish you personally, what exercise will strengthen you or on the other end make you hyper, or not challenge you enough. You’ll have a very good idea how to care for yourself and what treatments will work for you specifically, which is genius if you ask me. More next time…