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DOSHA: ELEMENTS AND QUALITIES

As I said in my last post, Introduction to Ayurveda, everything in this universe is composed of different combinations of the 5 elements- earth, water, fire, air, and ether.


The five elements support these areas in our body:

  • Earth: solid - structure parts of our body like muscle, fats, and bones

  • Water: fluidity - mucus, digestive juices, lymphatic system, and saliva

  • Fire: heat & transformation - digestion, vision, and blood in the body

  • Air: movement - our respiration system, and joint movement. Basically, anything that requires movement in the body that is connected to air.

  • Ether: space - all the space in-between

In Ayurveda, the term 'dosha' refers to the combination of these elements to create 3 categories:

  • VATA (VA-tah): air & either - MOVEMENT

  • PITTA (PITT-ah): fire & water - TRANSFORMATION

  • KAPHA (KAP-hah): earth & water - LUBRICATION/STRUCTURE


If we break it down a level further, there are 20 qualities that are associated with these elements. They are inherent in all substances and are the way we can relate to nature and the world around us. When it comes to applying them into your life, remember LIKE increases LIKE and opposites BALANCE each other.


THE 10 PAIRS OF OPPOSING QUALITIES:

Hot.....Cold

Moist.....Dry

Heavy.....Light

Gross.....Subtle

Dense.....Flowing

Static.....Mobile

Dull.....Sharp Soft.....Hard

Smooth.....Rough

Cloudy.....Clear


How these qualities affect your body? All ingredients/foods have these qualities and it goes beyond the physical aspects of heat or cold. These qualities refer to the effects this has inside your body. The sensation foods create are subtle, which is why you need to tune into your body. Confused? Stay with me...it will be worth it! Let's take an example. If you have a spicy curry for lunch, observe your body and you will be able to feel the heat in your body. The heat isn't from the temperature of your food, but from the spices and ingredients used in the dish itself. Chilies, paprika, and cinnamon are some examples of heat-inducing spices. On the other hand, if we analyze thandai, you will experience the opposite effect. Thandai usually drunk cold, but the cold milk is not what makes the effect on the body cool. The spices in the thandai paste, which consist of sweet spices like fennel & cardamom, have a cooling effect on the body and have a deeper effect across the organs, tissues and mind! So your homework is to take note of everything you consume and the effect it has internally on your body. Think of it like a little experiment. Take a mental note or even keep a little notebook documenting how it makes you feel by using these 20 descriptive qualities as your guide. The best way to figure out your dosha and imbalances is by visiting an Ayurvedic doctor. However, I am in the process of creating an in-depth Dosha Quiz. Hopefully, it will at least give you an indication of what your prakruti and vikruti might be as a way to start getting to know your body and highlight areas you may want to work on. I am very excited to share this with you and start you off on your journey to eating for your body and hopefully healing it too!


Sending you so much love


With gratitude

xx Radhi ♡

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