How do you know you need a tune up? Well, let me ask you a few questions?
- Do you use coffee in the morning to get going?
- Do you crave sweets, chips, bread or a nap in the afternoon?
- Do you use alcohol to distress and unwind?
- Have you tried losing weight in the last 3 years and given up?
- Do you have bouts of anxiety and depression?
- Do you have difficulty remembering thing?
- Do you finish your day feeling like you were hit by a bus? If any of the above apply to you, you could definitely do with a tune-up! So, where to start?
First off, know your type!
- Know thyself or in other words your Ayurvedic metabolic constitution, which is at the heart of feeling better, and thus allows you to feel full of vitality and great health. Knowing yourself – ayurvedically speaking – also allows you to benefit from a great quality of life, vibrant health and happiness. All you have to do is follow your unique recommendations for the foods, lifestyle and herbs for your metabolic constitution or dosha to start on the road to vibrant health.
What’s My Dosha Darling?
While an Ayurvedic pulse diagnosis with an Ayurvedic practitioner is the best way to determine your metabolic type, you can take my online quiz to see who you are. www.moderndosha.com
Just note though, while online quizzes are fun, they are only a snapshot in time, and are self-reporting which means the answers are based upon who you think you are, not who you really are. Still, we can get a generalized idea of who we are from this questionnaire.
So, once you know your metabolic type it is like driving a car in that once you know the rules of the road, you can drive safely. And it is Ayurveda can show us the rules of the road.
Check out the metabolic questionnaire here. www.moderndosha.com
So, what about that tune up?
Our metabolic constitution is what we are born with. When we eat the proper foods and follow the lifestyle that suits our constitution, then we have better chances of staying fit, healthy and happy for a long time.
Let’s look at each metabolic type, the common imbalances and the best way to treat each dosha.
Common Vata Disorders:
- High/low blood pressure
- Cracking/popping joints
- Bladder/urinary disorders
- Muscle stiffness, low back pain
- Dry, scaly skin
- Constipation, gas & bloating
- Premature ageing
- Chronic fatigue
- Intolerance to cold
- Low energy
How to Tune-up if you are Vata:
- Plenty of relaxation, rest and sleep; avoid overstimulation and doing too much
- Use tools to reduce anxiety include yoga, breathing, and walking
- Institute routine, eating meals and gently exercising regularly
- Massage often with the use of oils, particularly sesame oil followed by a warm shower
- Use of Triphala herb
- Nasal administration of oil (Nasya)
- A light diet of warm, soft foods. Avoid hard, raw, and dry foods.
- Use of mild spices such as fresh ginger, cumin, cardamom, fennel and coriander
- Increase sweet, sour and salty foods. Minimize bitter and astringent foods.
Common Pita Disorders:
- Stomach problems
- Small intestine problems
- Hot flashes
- Skin rashes/psoriasis
- Liver disorders
- Excess hunger & thirst
- Bad breath
- Bloodshot eyes
- Intolerance to heat
- Food allergies
How to Tune up if you are Pitta
- Relaxation and rest, going to bed early, 10 p.m. being ideal
- Avoid overworking and burning the candle at both ends
- Avoid excessive exercise, especially when it is hot
- Avoiding inflammatory situations, stressful people and situations
- Drinking plenty of cool water, aloe-vera juice is great for you
- Relaxing in cool areas, such as by water, swimming, walking by the ocean
- When hot, take cool baths and showers, use sandalwood and lemongrass essential oils
- Do alternate nostril breathing
- Use Triphala or dandelion root to avoid excess acidity
- Massage oils with coconut or aloe-vera
- Find an outlet such as journaling to release suppressed emotions
- Participate in non-competitive activities
- Plenty of sweet, bitter and astringent foods & herbs
- Reduction of pungent, spicy, fried, sour and salty foods
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine
- Avoid alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs
Common Kapha Disorders:
- Colds & Flu
- Yeast conditions
- Sinus congestion
- Lymphatic system disorders
- Excessive sleeping
- Water retention & bloating
- Dislikes cold & damp
- Low Thyroid
- Heart disease
How to Tune Up if you are Kapha:
- More exercise, vigorous activity, doing different things, trying to be open-minded
- Reduction of sleep, if excessive, getting up well before 8 am
- Inhalation of oils-use of steam application of heat
- Avoid sweet, sour and salty foods
- Increase pungent, bitter and astringent foods
- Eat a light meal with hot foods at regular intervals
- Drink plenty of warming drinks
- Add hot spices to cooking such as turmeric, ginger, pepper, cayenne, chili, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, cardamom,
- Nasal administration of oils
- Drink lots of ginger tea
Knowing your Ayurvedic constitution offers lots of benefits. Although you will often read or hear of one diet or one exercise program that is great for everyone, Ayurveda says different people have different needs; there is no one size that fits all. The diet that worked for your best friend could be harmful for you. By knowing your constitution, you are in a position to tailor your diet, exercise, daily supplemental Ayurvedic herbs, massage oils and other aspects of life to your individual needs.
Your constitution also tells you about your sensitive time of day. From two to six in the morning and afternoon are sensitive for vata, who can get very stressed and anxious at these times. The times around midnight and noon are dangerous for pitta events such as anger outbursts or midnight snacking. And sleeping after sunrise or eating heavily in the evening can make kapha sluggish and slow.
Knowledge of your constitution can also help in where to live, your career choices and your clothing and décor selections. For example, Vata is dry and if relocating should choose a moist climate. Kapha will become lazy in a repetitive job and pitta should avoid choosing bright red clothing or décor with hot colors.
These are just few of the many benefits of knowing our constitution. Ayurveda offers us the ability to “Know thyself!” and tune up accordingly!
Want to know more? Sign up today for a complimentary consultation. You can also find me at the UPMC Center for Integrative Medicine, Pittsburgh.