Ayurveda is the ancient science of life and according to its knowledge; we are all born with a unique body type (Prakruti). Our body type (Vata, Pitta, Kapha or a combination of these) which is characterized by features like our body composition, eye color, hair type, bone structure etc. is constant. In order to maintain good health, we should consume food that supports our natural body type. However because of many reasons, we may experience some dosha imbalances (Vikruti) from time to time and we may need to adjust our diet to pacify this current vitiation in our body.
There are many ways to find out the current imbalance (Vikruti) in our body, and skin analysis is one of them. According to the knowledge of Ayuveda, our outer skin is just an extension of our inner cell-lining and provides a fair indication of our inner health. Therefore, we may observe our skin and do the analysis to discover any Dosha imbalance in our body. We may also observe the state of our mind/emotions to get more insight about it. Based on our dosha imbalance, we may need to adjust our diet daily/weekly in order to pacify the aggravated dosha.
Now, let us understand how our skin conditions can point to various Dosha imbalances and how to tweak our diet to pacify them.
Vata Imbalance Symptoms
If your skin feels dry, chapped and somewhat itchy, and your hairs also seem dry and frizzy, it is an indication of Vata aggravation in the body. This means that currently, there is excess of air/space element in your body. If you also feel intolerant to noises, confused, forgetful, spacey, anxious, light headed etc., they also point to Vata imbalance in the body.
Pitta Imbalance Symptoms
If you are experiencing any kind of skin rash, acne, hyper pigmentation, excessive oil/sweat or any burning sensations, it indicates that there’s Pitta aggravation in the body. It means that there’s excess of fire element in the body, which needs to be pacified. Because of this imbalance, you may also be experiencing anger, frustration, irritation, impatience, being judgmental, jealousy etc. in your mind.
Kapha Imbalance Symptoms
If you observe puffiness in your skin, water retention or any fungal infection etc., it is a good indicative that there’s Kapha aggravation in the body. This means that there is excess of water/earth element in the body. This causes sluggish lymphatic system and causes stagnation of fluids in the body. This imbalance may also cause lethargy, helplessness, hopelessness, laid-back feelings, stubbornness, over-possessiveness etc. in your mind.
Diet & Lifestyle recommendations to balance the dosha
Now once we know about the dosha imbalance (Vikruti) in our body, we may try to bring back the balance by following the diet and lifestyle recommendations to pacify that dosha. I’m giving a brief overview here to help pacify each of the dosha imbalances, because I’ll have to write another post to give the detailed information about that.
Pacify Vata by eating warm, soft/mushy and flavorful meals with a generous amount of good fats at regular intervals. You may prefer Sweet (naturally sweet fruits/veggies/grains, not sugary food), Sour and Salty tastes and stay away from heating spices(peppers), deep-fried food, caffeine, beans, cold/frozen food etc. Eat more frequent and easily digestible smaller meals.
Focus on discipline/routine, warmth, serenity and nourishment. Try to slow down the pace of your life, and take short breaks from work to sit back and practice deep breathing, relaxing meditation etc. Do relaxing activities like yoga, mindful walking, instrument playing, painting, cooking, and energy healing etc.
Pacify Pitta by eating cooling, fresh/raw and less spicy meals. Fresh fruits (sweet) and salads are very beneficial, and eat less of salty and sour food. Moderate amount of cooling oils like coconut, ghee, flax seed oil, sunflower oil etc. may be consumed with every meal. Raw dairy and grains are also good choices and avoid alcohol, caffeine, hot foods etc. Try to eat slowly in a peaceful environment.
Focus on cooling, surrendering and moderation. Try to allocate some time to practice praying and gratitude everyday. Meditation practices to help release stress and emotions of anger/resentment are very important. You may also listen to relaxing music, visit beach/pool and play your favorite sport regularly. Try to strike a balance between work and play. Avoid long arguments, too much aggression, hot environment etc.
Pacify Kapha by eating light, dry and warm food with very little oil and generous amount of heating spices. Eat less of sweet, salty and oily food. Favor lentils, most beans, tofu, soy milk, fresh fruits and lot of veggies. Avoid dairy, sugary drinks, heavy meals, cold/frozen food, fast food etc.
Focus on movement, exercise, warming and lightening your mind. Daily vigorous exercise is very much needed to break stagnation in the body/mind. Plan to do activities which are bit challenging and also involve physical movement such as gardening/yard work, cleaning (let go of clutter from your living space), dancing, playing sports etc. Some breathing exercises, dynamic meditations and practices to help release stored emotions are very beneficial.
I hope that this information is helpful in understanding the correct needs of your body/mind, and you may be able to use this knowledge to maintain good health and peace of mind.
Peace and Joy!!