What is your vital force and how can you approach your health in a way that nourishes it? In western herbal medicine your vital force can be described as the energy and spirit which brings a living being to life, allowing you to partake in mental and physical activities with sustained energy and intention. This concept is the basis for good heath in many herbal medicine philosophies, Auyrevdic medicine included. Ayurvedic medicine looks at health and wellbeing through a synergistic lens encouraging us to acknowledge that every aspect of our life is intrinsically interwoven. It works to treat the root causes of disease as apposed to treating symptomatically. This approach to health enables people to live in a way that ignites a thriving vital force.
Ayurveda is one of the many traditional forms of herbal medicine that take its roots in India. Ayurveda encompasses philosophy, mythology, diet, yoga as well as mental and spiritual evolvement as part of its teachings. It takes root in the premise that health is more than just the absence of disease, it is the way in which you are able to pursue your goals, prosper mentally and grow spiritually. The basis for Ayurveda medicine is extensive, but to provide a more digestible version, you may be interested in becoming familiar with the dosha’s.
Dosha’s are “the Ayurvedic term that generically describes our inherited traits, individual characteristics and tendencies. This refers to such things as the body frame, eye colour, digestive capacity, emotional balance as well as disease tendencies”. It is practiced with the belief that everyone has a primary dosha that drives their health. The three Dosha’s include Kapha, Vata and Pitta. Its important to take note that each of us contain a different balance of the three dosha’s with one usually being more dominant than the others. Dosha’s are not something that can be physically seen, but are known through inference as they manifest in the presence of disease. These manifestations may appear as phlegm, inflammation, swelling, bleeding, nervous system imbalances and dry or overly oily skin. In perfect health they remain out of sight.
The three dosha's include:
People that are dominated by Kapha can be described as heavy, soft, cold and unctuous. They usually have a large body frame and can have a tendency to be overweight. Their skin is soft and moist but also pale and cold. They have big beautiful eyes and chubby cheeks. Their appetite is low and they prefer slow relaxing activities. Their sleep is very long and they speak slowly with a deep voice. They are less active and calm with a consistent balanced stamina.
Vata people may be characterised as dry, light, mobile, rough, cold and swift nature. Vata people are usually tall and thin with a small body frame. They may also have a longer face with little fat on their face. Their skin is predominately dry, rough and lacks moisture. They are don’t do well with cold temperatures and can be physically frail. Their sleep is usually restless with an over active mind that has a tendency to forget things easily jumping from task to task. They are very talkative and thrive being very active.
Pitta: The Pitta dosha is hot, sharp and liquid in nature. They are generally medium built with medium height. Their skin is soft and at times can be flushed red. Their appetite is high and they have a good amount of strength and stamina. They don’t do well in temperatures that are too hot and they have sharp intellectual mind. When they talk they express their ideas with clarity and sharpness.
Depending on which dosha you resonate with, you can work to bring your self in balance. This in turn, can reenergise your body, bring you into alignment both spiritually and mentally whilst nourishing yourself with food and exercise that suits your dominant energy force. Not only can this philosophy of health prevent disease, it can encourage overall wellbeing in your daily life!