Friday, February 20, 2009

Doshas – mischievous forces of your body

As a part of my Ayurveda training many a times I come across people who want to understand the depth of this science. Learning massage is easy but to learn it scientifically is slightly difficult. The forces which are working behind the curtains can not be explained and it remains as an experience of an individual to feel them on his own. But if you understand the basic principle well, motive of massage becomes clear to you and lead you to the state where body starts talking to you.

There are three biological forces which regulate the body and ensure proper functioning of the same as long as they are in equilibrium. Which vitiate others is called as dosha. Though, it is not universal because all the times they are not playing a role of villain in the body. And when they are in equilibrium they help in sustaining the body. It is just like two sides of the same coin, head or tail they are featured on the same plane. Just because they are very sensitive in nature and easily get affected by various conditions viz. food, environment, life style etc. and easily gets imbalanced to vitiate dhatu (formulators of the body) which in turn initiate the diseases. There names and constitution are as follows:


Vata – Air + Space

Pitta – Fire + Water

Kapha – Water + Earth

These are biological forces and in fact behave in the body similar to the characters of their constitutive factors. By saying so I definitely intend to say that if you want to understand doshas and their functions; start observing above said elements around you. To make it simple, air is a restless entity so is vata in the body and so is your nervous system. Sympathetic and parasympathetic types of nervous system make it workaholic in nature. And it does not rest even if you are sleeping. Similarly, fire cooks food for you in real life and so is done by pitta in your body. Sun, which is the representation of fire, regulates temperature in this world and thermodynamics of your bodily world is maintained by the sun of the same i. e. Pitta. Finally water in this world is responsible for bonding, smoothness and it nourishes a seed to make it a tree; and similarly kapha does the same for the body.

To understand more of their behavior, one must go in depth and a qualitative analysis should be done of these constitutive elements. As you will start understanding the qualities of elements, it will unplug the pacific of knowledge and sitting in the ship of your wisdom you may travel places. 

Further on, doshas they represent themselves by means of their qualities. And they tend to increase or decrease by means of these qualities only. Having said that, if one indulges in too much of food having dry qualities will lead to the increase of dryness thus Vata in the body, similarly it stands true for other qualities as well.

Following are the qualities of doshas:

Vata                                        Pitta                                                     Kapha

Dryness                                   Slightly oily                                         Oily

Lightness                                 Sharp                                                   Coldness

Coldness                                 Hot                                                      Heaviness

Rough                                     Light                                                   Slow in action

Minute                                     Foul smell                                            Smoothness

Mobility                                  Spreading                                            Sticky

--                                              Liquidity                                             Static

Above qualities should be observed very minutely and then their utility for the sake of understanding should be put in to the practice. It’s all about playing with the nature and letting you flow with the same to be in harmony.

Not to let these strong forces over power you and at the same time when either of them is becoming stronger, to neutralize it with the opposite quality is the key. Because, if repetitive use of the same quality increases it, then opposite quality balances it – thus say Charaka, the master of Ayurveda and divine soul of healing.




Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ayurveda food – an art of consumption

Ayurveda speaks about all corners of life. It stresses an over all development and enables us to understand life on a micro plane. Ancient texts states that life is held upon a tripod or three pillars as follows:
  1. Aahar (food)
  2. Nidra (sleep)
  3. Brahmacharya (celibacy).

Among these 3 basic utilities of life food has been considered as utmost important and rules have been laid down for a proper consumption of it. Though sometimes lack of complete understanding lead us to a wrong interpretation and rules become an obligation than a discipline. Actually it’s a wrong message that has been perceived by many of us that Ayurveda implements a lot of restrictions regarding food and life style. In fact it is discipline and not restriction. Same is true in case of diet planning. It has been summarized under the topic Bhojana Krama i. e. planning of food consumption. It is divided in three sections as Poorva karma (pre operative), pradhan karma (operative) and paschat karma (post operative). Food made ready to eat should be considered as god because it nourishes are body and provides us the necessary strength and energy in order to live a good socio economic life.

Poorva karma (preparatory measures)

This explains about preparing your body for the consumption of food so as it should be digested completely and does not leave behind any debris/ toxins (ama).


Bhojanagre sada pathyam lavan ardraka bhakshanam!

Agni sandeepanam ruchyam jivah kantha vishodhanam!!


Before the consumption of food one must take small piece of ginger smeared with salt as it is a very beneficial practice. It increases the digestive capacity, enhances taste perception, and cleanses tongue and throat.

It is indeed very effective and also eradicates minor ailments confining to gastro intestinal tract. It strengthens digestive fire. My personal opinion here is, people suffering from hypertension should check the quantity of salt and instead of normal salt they can use rock salt/ Epsom.

Pradhan karma (main course)

Following rules have been laid down for the consumption of food:

  1. One should be involved in the process of eating mentally and physically.
  2. Madhura rasa (sweet items) should be eaten first followed by salty taste.
  3. Pungent, bitter and astringent taste should be consumed in the end.
  4. One must eat all the six taste in an appropriate quantity and refrain oneself adhering too much to the consumption of one or two tastes only.
  5. Hard eating stuff should be taken first, followed by soft items and then liquid preparations.

Effect of various tastes on the body:

Sweet – promotes blood tissue

Sour – promotes bone marrow

Salty – strengthens bone

Bitter – improves fat

Pungent – promotes muscles

Astringent – promotes plasma functions.

Paschat karma

Herbs that pacifies kapha and enhances digestive fire should be consumed. It must also have a flavor to combat bad/ foul smell.

Though, the complete knowledge can not be explained being subjective. One must put constant efforts to know the deepest knowledge by reading various texts.



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