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A characteristic feature of Ayurvedic medicinal systems is that they consider the individual as a whole, rather than just the disease. Diet and Treatment is fine-tuned, taking into consideration the individual’s Prakruti(constitution), susceptibility to the disease, mental make-up, lifestyle and other factors. This has been refined to a very high degree in Ayurveda, with its powerful concept of ‘Prakruti’.

The word ‘Prakruti’ means ‘nature’ or natural form of the build and constitution of the human body. ‘Pra’ means the ‘beginning’, ‘commencement’ of the human body. The term constitution is broadly named as ‘Prakruti’, and we can interpret this term with different meanings, viz: inherent property, temperament or constitution.

According to Ayurveda, from the moment of conception, the person attains an individual prakruti (constitution). Some are equilibrated as regards the three doshas, some have predominance of Vata, some of Pitta and some of Kapha. This very statement clearly indicates that human beings fall into four Prakrutis(four types of constitutions).

Prakruti(constitution) of an individual can be:

VATA DOSHA

The main seat of Vata is lower abdomen below the umbilicus. It is responsible for all movements in the body.

Vata is responsible for enthusiasm, breathing(inspiration and expiration), all movements and actions (talking, walking and body movements, activities of the sense organs). Vata circulates throughout the body, and helps in transportation of its supporting Dhatus(elements) such as the rasa(fluids), rakta(blood), etc. Vata creates normal vibration of natural urges like, excretion of urine, faeces, hunger, thirst, flatus, sneeze, sleep, yawn, belch, etc.

PITTA DOSHA

Pitta is situated mainly in the upper abdomen, above the umbilicus and below the thorax. It is responsible for digestion and metabolism.

Pitta gives vision(as opposed to perception which is due to vata), hunger, thirst, taste perception, digestion, heat-production, softness and suppleness of the body, luster, cheerfulness and intelligence.

KAPHA DOSHA

Kapha's Main seat is chest region(thorax). Kapha is responsible for strength, stability, tolerance and immunity.

Kapha maintains integrity and smoothness of joints, general stability of the body and build, potency and strength, forbearance, courage and lack of greed.

BALANCED CONSTITUTION (SAMA PRAKRUTI)

A Person is considered to have equilibrated Dosha.

VATA DOSHA

The aim of Ayurveda is to maintain perfect equanimity in the physical and emotional states of a person. The History of Ayurveda is as old as six thousand years and its genesis were Indian Monks who were always looking for novel ways to stay fit and healthy. They were of the opinion that perfect harmony in their bodies would lead to their spiritual enlightenment.

The speciality of Ayurveda is that it treats every human being as a different entity and does not prescribe a blanket solution to a single problem, that is, it realizes the unique composition of every human being before it prescribes a solution to his/her problems. Another important facet of Ayurveda is that it is centered around healthy food and lifestyle habits. It emphasizes on the preservation of human health and thus, it focuses more on holistic healthy habits rather than an avalanche of pills.

Central to Ayurveda are the three Doshas of the Human body. These Doshas are basically energies that make up a human body. These are responsible for dispensing various functions of the body. They can be classified into three kinds:

  1. Vata
  2. Pitta
  3. Kapha

People with vata dosha exhibit physical and emotional characteristics akin to the basic features of space and air. They are supremely active, moving, restless and abounding with energy. They have a high basal metabolic rate, hence are often of thin frame with little muscle and protruding joints that may make cracking noises. Their skin is dry, rough and thin with visible veins. They are always cold and tend to be light sleepers. They mostly have very inquisitive minds and their beliefs tend to be rather radical and dynamic. Most Vata body types tend to be overly sensitive and seem to have a preference for hot summer days. The important thing to note is that when a Vata body is balanced, it could lead to creativity and productivity, whereas, when it is out of balance, it could lead to anxiousness and fear.

VATA BALANCING DIET

  • Vata body types should consume more Beetroot, asparagus, carrots, leeks, eggplant, olives, pumpkin, sweet potato, radish, spinach, zucchini, Avocado and eat less of raw or frozen vegetables such as, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, cabbage, cucumber, celery, lettuce, corn, mushrooms, potatoes.
  • They should focus more on fruits like Apricots, cherries, fresh figs, peaches, bananas, citrus fruits, dates, mango, papaya, berries, pineapple, plums, grapes and eat less of dried fruits, apples, pears, pomegranates, cranberries, prunes and melons.
  • They should consume more pasta, oats, rice, wheat and consume less of Barley, rye, corn, millet, rice cakes, buckwheat, puffed cereals.
  • They should eat more of mung beans and soy products like cheese, milk and tofu and eat less of kidney beans, split peas, white beans, black beans and lentils.
  • They should focus on eating all nuts in moderation and refrain from roasted or smoked nuts.
  • They must also monitor their intake of ice-cream and powdered milk.
  • They must focus on consuming most herbs and spices and limit their intake of coriander seeds, parsley and fenugreek.
  • They should increase their intake of sesame oil and limit their consumption of corn oil.
  • They must try and consume more of warm drinks like herbal teas, warm milk, fruit and vegetable juice without ice.
  • They must strictly limit their intake of cold, carbonated beverages, caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee. Alcohol too is best avoided or strictly limited.

How do you know your dosha (prakruti)?

Prakruti of an individual can be determined by a self test filled out by the patient.
You may look at the chart given below to know your constitution (prakruti).

Determination Of Prakruti (Body Constitution)
  Vata Prakruti Pitta Prakruti Kapha Prakruti Your Comment
Body
Thin, lean, slender, under developed, protruding bones
Medium built , good looking and delicately shaped
Short, stout and well formed muscular body, strong joints.  
  Dry body Dry body Greasy and glossy body  
  Less sweating Excessive sweating Profuse sweating  
 
Lanky, tall and loose limbs
Joints, muscles and limbs are soft and loose
Compact, firm and full grown limbs
 
 
Sluggish and numb feeling over limbs
Active and warm feeling over limbs
Steady limbs  
 
Weak, unsteady, asthenic or hypoasthenic.
Weak, unsteady, sthenic or asthenic
Strong, hyposthenic or sthenic.
 
 
Prominent veins and tendons.
Less prominent veins and tendons.
Well covered veins and tendons.
 
 
Pathetic and irritable countenance.
Assertive and irritable countenance
Handsome and calm countenance.
 
 
Unstable, hasty and quick movement, Unstable gait
Unstable movement and agitated gait
Stable movement and majestic gait
 
         
Skin (color may differ according to race or the country of origin)
1. Dry, cracked and cold.
2. Grey or earthy color.
3. Wrinkled
4. Lack of body odor
1. Dry and warm.
2. Yellowish or pinkish color.
3. Wrinkled
4. Pungent odor
1. Smooth, moist, oily and cold.
2. Whitish pallor color
3. Non wrinkled or glossy
4. Fragrant odor.
5. Oily skin, congestion and blackheads
 
         
Head Unsteady Unsteady Steady  
         
Hair(color may differ according to race or the country of origin)
1. Thin and semi-bald
2. Dry and rough
3. Dusky
4. Lots of splits and cracked
1. Thin and bald
2. Rough
3. Brownish
4. Ruly and straight
1. Thick and firm
2. Oily
3. Black
4. Ruly and curly
 
Forehead Narrow Medium Broad  
Nails
Thin, dry, brittle and irregularly oblong
Thin, smooth, pinkish with streaks of pigmentation and regularly oblong
Thick, smooth, shinny, regular, blunt and square
 
Eyebrows
Not regular, either too long or too short
Not regular Regular  
Eyes
1. Unsteady, rolling and dusky.
2. Narrow & slit-like.
3. Dry and gritty
4. very short falling lashes
1. Unsteady & red streaked.
2. Medium
3. burning
4. Short and falling lashes
1. Steady and white.
2. Wide
3. Clear and moist.
4. Long lashes
 
Face Sharp features and masked appearance. Sharp features and warm looks Thick features and calm looks  
Lips
1. Black
2. Dry, cracked, thin and flickering.
1. Pink
2. Dry and thin formed.
1. White
2. Moist, thick and well
 
Jaws
Irregular and unsteady
Irregular and unsteady
Regular steady and fixed
 
Teeth and gums
1. Dry, thin, irregular, cracked teeth.
2. Tingling and blackish gums.
1. Yellowish and irregular teeth.
2. Bleeding and spongy gums.
1. White and regular teeth.
2. Pinkish and healthy gums
 
Tongue
Unsteady, dry prominent granules.
Unsteady, coated, pink and glabrous.
Steady, clean, moist and smooth.
 
Diet habits and status of digestion
1. Fond of hot oily dishes.
2. Irregular diet habits and likes.
3. Capricious appetite and thirst.
4. Likes light, warm, sweet, and sour drinks.
5. Very poor and slow digestion.
1. Dislikes hot and oily food.
2. Irregular diet and habits and likes.
3. Excessive appetite and thirst.
4. Likes sumptuous, astringent food and drinks.
5. Quick digestion.
1. Not so fond of hot and oily food.
2. Regular eating habits and likes.
3. Normal appetite and thirst.
4. Likes hot, bitter, sour, astringent foods and drinks.
5. Low digestive fire.
 
Excretions
1. Constipated bowel.
2. Dry and hard stools.
3. Small amount of sweat.
4. Less amount of urine.
1. Quick motions.
2. Loose stools.
3. Excessive sweating.
4. Excessive urination.
1. Normal steady evacuation.
2. Ordinary bowel movements.
3. Profuse sweating.
4. Excessive urination.
 
Performance of activities
Quick with a lot of initiative
Moderately medium initiation
Very slowly
 
Excitability
Quickly
Very quickly
Slowly
 
Power to grasp
Very fast
Quick
Slow
 
Memory
Very Short
Medium
Long
 
Digestive power
Irregular
Very powerful
Weak
 
Ability to bear
Sometimes good
Poor
Very good
 
Hunger
Sometimes poor
 
 
 
Quantity of food
Sometimes large
Sometimes poor
Always large
Normal
 
Groups of tastes desired
Sweet
Salt
Sour
Sweet
Bitter
Astringent
Pungent
Astringent
Bitter
 
Thirst
Irregular
Very often
Seldom
 
Foods desired
Warm foods
Cold foods
Warm and dry foods
 
Bowel movements
Irregular
Loose stools
Regular well formed stools
 
Perspiration
Seldom
Very easily with foul body odor
Normal
 
Sexual desire/potency
Less
Lacks sexual desire.
Moderate
Not liked by women.
Abundant
Potent and romantic.
 
Sleep
Interrupted and less
Normal
Excessive and deep sleep
 
Dreams
Dreams of Flying, jumping, climbing hills, storms in the sky, etc.
Dreams of Bright and lustrous object (such as fires and flames), Violence, fights, struggle
Dreams of earth and water (Water birds and flora sighted) Clouds, romance, etc.
 
Attitude to problems or difficulties
Lot of worrying
Instability
Angry, over-awed, easily provoked and highly irritable
Peaceful, slow, steady
 
Talk
Very fast, missing words
Sharp, provocative and clear cut
Slow, resonant, clear
 
VOICE & SPEECH
1. Stammering.
2. Husky.
3. Low toned.
4. Chattering.
Medium.
Harsh.
High pitched.
Self-conscious.
1. Sweet.
2. Pleasant.
3. Tone eloquent.
4. Moderate.
 
Walk
Very quick with swift movements
Normal
Slow and steady gait
 
Associated movements
of body while working
Unfocused movements, Nail biting, cracks the knuckles, and you will usually see them moving their hands and feet about in a nervous or quick manner.
Normal
Steady with no associated movements
 
Mind
Fickle mind
Impatient mind
Steady and patient mind
 
 
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