The Ayurvedic Body Types by Romina Vintila
Ayurveda is the Indian medicinal system and way of life that has been around for at least 2000 years if not more. It is considered a lifestyle, really for it pervades all aspects of one’s life. In Ayurveda, the approach to health is a holistic one that cannot leave out any aspect of the individual, whether it’s physical well-being or psychological, emotional, etc. Ayur means life in Sanskrit and Veda means wisdom. Ayurveda is an all-encompassing system that truly pervades the Eastern way of thought, in ways that include medicine, emotional implications of what we consume as food, what we encounter on a daily basis in our lives, and even astrological influences. I have been reading about Ayurveda and have also taken it into practice until recently, when I kind of put it to the wayside.
In Ayurveda, there are three body types that have to do with elements. The three body types (doshas), or elemental constitutions are:
- Vata– Air
- Pitta– Fire
- Kapha– Earth
We have one main constitution but we are basically a combination of all three. It’s just in differing quantities. I am predominantly Vata (Air), then Pitta (Fire), then the last is Kapha (Earth). The beauty of the Ayurvedic body type is that it also pinpoints your mental/emotional body. It is a physical representation of you, which also tells us that the way we are made, our very constitutions, body types and preferences, tendencies, has to do with our spiritual bodies. The physical is just the last representation of that. It is a sketch of what we are on different levels.
Every individual has all three elements in their constitution. It is important to know which one you are most of, because it not only has physical implications and understanding of some underlying bodily issues, but it also speaks of our emotional constitution. For example, Vata (air) relates to the intellect and mind, Pitta (fire) relates to the digestion and passion, and Kapha, which is a mix of water and Earth, is more based in the emotional realm, but also as an Earthy, grounding element.
The following are characteristics of all the three doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha). Which one you have more of determines your primary body type/constitution.
- Thin build, lanky
- Typically dry skin and hair
- Joints protrude, can crack
- Fast-minded, changes their mind easily
- Constipation can be an issue
- Attention to detail
- Cold body temperature
- Usually warm body temperature
- Passionate, short fuse
- Tendency for hair loss
- Can be prone to acne
- Medium build body type
- Very good concentration
- Strong digestion
- Planned and organized
- Slow paced and relaxed
- Larger body type
- Stable and loyal
- Gets possessive when issues arise
- Issues with sinus and damp weather
- Lots of patience
- Hair and skin are soft
If you associated with one of these more than the others, than that is your main constitution. It is important to remember we all have all three doshas as part of our constitution but some are more predominant than others. It is also said the seasons will affect your dosha, For example, in the summer, your constitution may change to more Vata, or Pitta may get aggravated (due to the heat). So it is important to use this information wisely and find out more about your type, what it means to you and how you can use it to your advantage in your fitness routine, or perhaps your diet or spiritual practice. Knowledge is power if put to good use. Once you find out your most active dosha, you can also begin to see how your emotions and food choices are linked to it. Behaviors will change your dosha. What we put into our body, our exercise routine, even our sedentary jobs will impact our constitution. It is not always a stagnant, given constitution, although your tendency will remain toward a predominant one. I believe these will change with our behaviors, with our lifestyles, and with age. I recommend reading more on your dosha type and finding out how to balance all of them, for there are many ways to do so, with herbs and food being the top choices.
This article is not meant to treat or offer any medical advice, and it is informational only.
Romina Vintila is a Chicagoland writer, activist, and spiritual mentor. For over a decade, she’s been researching metaphysics, esoteric philosophy, and has been published in OM Times, and other publications. She loves fairy tales and crystal healing.