Introduction to Ayurveda

Ayurveda literally translates to science or wisdom of life. It is a vast system that has so many elements and moving parts but it also is a complete system that takes in the entire person and doesn’t just treat the disease.

Let’s dive into the 3 doshas (mind/body types) as a starting point to learning more about Ayurveda.

Introduction to the Doshas

5 Elements

Ether- Sound, the field, space
Air- Touch, vibration, motion, connection
Fire- Sight, appearance, conversion (heat-color), energy

Water- Taste, nurturance, repair
Earth- Smell, solidity (density), Mass


3 Forces- Doshas

Vata- Movement associated with air & ether
(Gunas/Qualities)- cold, dry, light, subtle, clear, flowing, hard, rough, mobile)

Pitta- Transformation associated with fire & water (Gunas/Qualities)- hot, light, flowing, clear, mobile, sharp)

Kapha- Nourishment associated with Earth & Water
(Gunas/Qualities)- cold, wet, heavy, gross, dull, dense, static, soft, smooth, cloudy)


Write down what signs or symptoms of the qualities you might have:

Examples-Dry skin, oily hair, scattered mind, clear mucus, solid stools


Primary Dosha:____________________ Secondary Dosha:____________________

Vata Dosha Qualities

  • Force of the wind - king of all doshas

  • Air/Wind elements associated with vata

  • The energy of movement

  • Vata sets the rhythm for the body

  • Fall/early winter season

  • Guna Qualities -Light, Cold, Dry, Mobile, Rough, Clear

Locations in the body,

Colon, nerves, mind

Positive Qualities

*Positive Emotions

*Fast Metabolism


Downside qualities

*Lack of confidence /grounding

*Lack of ease

*Lack of direction
*Worry, overwhelm, stress & anxiety

Vata Dosha

  • Vatas tend to eat erratically & skip meals

  • Vatas tend to bloat

  • Feel malnourished/always hungry

  • Vatas tend towards dehydration & constipation

  • In Fall/early winter choose foods that have warmth & moisturize the body

  • One pot meals good for digestion

  • Spices- cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, black pepper, cumin, basil, & mustard seeds pacify vata

  • Favor- Marinated salads, Fermented foods, 1 pot meals


    • Sleep issues
    • Feeling of exhaustion

    • Cracking Joints


  • Thrive on routine

  • Nourish the body 3x a day at the same time creates grounding in body & mental direction.

  • Need more nuts, seeds, oils to balance the lightness of body & more spices due to cold nature

    of their system

  • In general food should be taken warm, oily, spiced

  • Daily hot baths or external oil massage help them feel nourished in the depth of their soul.

  • Early to bed

• Yoga practice focus on breath work to ground down

How to find if vata is off?

Look into routines- What is unstable in your life? Ex.-Bedtime inconsistent, meditation practice inconsistent, sporadic meals


• Light cardio & yoga over high intensity activities

General Practices

• Dress in layers- vatas tend to get cold
• 5 Minutes of sitting in quiet in morning & evening
• Eat on a schedule
• Routines, routines, routines
• Favor warming spices to aid in digestion & keep you warm all day long 

Pitta Dosha Qualities

  • Energy of transformation

  • Fire Element associated with pitta

  • Focus, Leadership & Intellect

  • Late spring thru summer season

    Guna Qualities

    Sharp, hot, oily, smooth, mobile


    Small Intestines, Skin, Liver, Eyes

    Positive Qualities

  • Focused

  • Put their mind to something they will do it

  • Strong appetite & digestion

  • Put on muscle easily

  • Crave transformation

    Downside qualities

*Quick to anger

*Quick to criticize

*Can get hangry
*Sometimes overly competitive

Pitta Dosha

  • Pittas have strong digestion that leans towards sharpness & acidity

  • The sharpness happens when they skip meals- hangry

  • Pittas don’t skip lunch or you will burn out later that day

  • Foods to be careful around- hot spices, meat, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate & processed foods

    easily aggravates fire types.

  • Spices- Cilantro, basil, mint, lemon balm, rose, lemongrass, coconut, dill, fennel, cardamom,

    coriander instead of pepper

  • Favor- Diet freshly prepared foods & cooling foods

  • Sweet tastes to chill out your edge- Honey is too hot. Use maple syrup or dates for sweet taste


    • Burnout
    • Sharpness in tongue
    • Need to make time to relax & reflect


  • Daily nature walks to give you space & perspective

  • Lunch should be the new dinner

  • Beans are cooling and good for pittas digestion

  • In general spicy foods will aggravate pittas

  • Reflection & gratitude practice at the end of the day to keep your pitta calm

  • Plants & greens in particular are go to meal options

How to find if pitta is off?

What are you overly focused on in your life? Typically pitta goes into overdrive when you work to hard on a goal, job, kids, life in general. Need to ease up and relax this is where the nature walks or getting outside helps balance the sharpness of the pitta.

Other reasons pitta can be off- Too much spicy food, alcohol, staying up past 10pm to finish work which increases focus, starting the day with coffee = more acid in body which turns into sore throats burning esophagus.


• Medium intensity based workouts, creative workouts/play, walks, typically love competitive sports

General Practices

• Flow & let go
• Avoid burnout
• Eat a large lunch
• Avoid processed foods they affect pittas the most
• Watch the spice & alcohol to avoid pitta flare-ups
• Relaxing evening practice at end of day to shut down work 

Kapha Dosha Qualities

  • The force of cohesion

  • Water Element associated with pitta

  • Nourishment, Lubrication, Repair

  • Spring season

    Guna Qualities

    Wet, Cold, Heavy, Soft, Moist, Oily, Static


    Stomach, Lungs, Sinuses, Joints

    Positive Qualities

    *Means hug (bring together) *Grounded
    *Go with the flow personality

Downside qualities

*Suffocation to close to people

*Can get complacent
*Out of balance can mean lower motivation

*Slower metabolism

Kapha Dosha

  • Kaphas do best with drying diets- spicy, crunchy foods & a predominance of green vegetables

  • Tendency to overeat which causes the stomach lining to become more liquid which contributes

    to overproduction of mucus = colds, congestion, asthma, water retention

  • 2-3 meals a day are best for kaphas

  • Best foods- Astringent grains such as millet, buckwheat, pomegranates, leafy greens, lemons &


  • Spices- Fennel, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, go big with spices

  • Lemon & honey are your pals


    • Body at rest stays at rest • Heaviness feeling
    • Designed to give


    • Declutter- kaphas tend to collect things
    • Stimulate the senses daily- explore new places, sights, sounds, colors, etc.
    • Get to bed early 6-8 hours of sleep ideal for kaphas not 10 as you might think • Chew on fennel- instead of snacking sip hot water & toasted fennel seeds
    • Digest your meals before ingesting your next meal
    • Decongest- neti pot

How to find if kapha is off?

Typically habits are off. Not as lively they get out of their exercise, nutrition routines, need lighter foods, sat to long recently.


• High intensity, group environment more inviting, compound exercises, morning movement to start the day essential for kaphas

General Practices

• Dry brush every day - helps with circulation
• Wake up & move- 10 minutes is good, 20 minutes great
• 1/3 food, 1/3 water, 1/3 space when eating to see room for digestion • Spice is your friend as are honey & lemon
• Go to bed early & get up at dawn for movement practice
• Move, move, move 

Putting it all together

How to use the doshas

-When you feel “off” notice what dosha it is related with. -Mucus = kapha
-Agitation = pitta
-Scattered = vata

Introduction to the Doshas

Workout & Nutrition with your dosha

*When eating for your dosha it’s more important to eat in season than to your dosha type


Need routine in their workout
Regular meditation is key
Yoga: Hatha, restorative, yin, slow flow
Long walks help calm the mind
Lifting weights high reps, low to medium weight Pelvis stabilizing & abdominal strength

Perform if you’re feeling

• Fearful
• Anxious • Forgetful • Stressed

Healthy vata ensures that the body has • Consistent elimination
Free breathing
Good circulation

Keen senses

Too many vata qualities might cause

• Gas & constipation
• Constricted breathing
• Cold hands & feet
• Anxiety, feeling overwhelmed ______________________________________________________________________________


Yoga- vinyasa, yin, hatha, jivamukti Walks
Medium weight- 10-12 reps
Sports to fuel the competitive side

Creative workouts

Perform if you’re feeling

• Angry
• Controlling
• Hateful
• Quick tempered

Yoga- ashtanga, vinyasa, power yoga Brisk walks
Heavy to medium weights 8-12 reps Group fitness classes

Perform if you’re feeling

• Greedy
• Envious
• Unforgiving

• Dark

Healthy pitta creates
Good appetite & metabolism

Steady hormones
Sharp eyesight
Good complexion

Too many pitta qualities might cause

• Acid indigestion, reflux

• Red, dry eyes
• Tendency to overwork

• Acne



Healthy kapha creates
Strong bodily tissues
Hearty Immune system
Well-lubricated joint & mucous membranes

Too many kapha qualities might cause

• Weight gain
• Water retention
• Sinus or lung congestion

• Lethargy & sadness

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