You are interested in Ayurveda and you just have gone through our Dosha Questionnaire?
And you have received your result and your constitution is dual-doshic. So you are either Pitta-Vata, Kapha-Pitta or Vata-Kapha constitution. What does this mean, how is this relevant for you and what practical advice do we have for you?
As you probably know already, your unique Ayurveda body type or individual constitution (Prakriti) is one of the most important concepts in Ayurvedic medicine. According to the Ayurvedic doctrine, we all have a very unique constitution that determines how we “tick” or function metabolically and how we tend to respond to stimuli from the environment. Being someone with a dual-doshic constitution means that you will have different proclivities to certain illnesses than other constitutions. There also will be completely different dietary precautions that apply to you as compared to other constitutional types. You have certain strengths that you can use to your advantage and certain weaknesses that you should control with your diet and lifestyle choices for example.
Here’s All You Need to Know
In contrast to mono-doshic constitutions (Vata or Pitta or Kapha), you have two doshas that make up your constitution (either Pitta-Vata, Pitta-Kapha or Vata-Kapha) and you are being significantly influenced by these two doshas. Since each dosha has its preferred area of influence or “domain”, it is these parts of your body and your physiology that will predominantly manifest your constitution and also your imbalances. For instance, our nervous system is governed by Vata. If you are a Pitta-Vata constitution, your nervous system will not only clearly express characteristics of Vata but Vata will also have the tendency to accumulate and overexpress here and eventually cause problems or diseases related to the nervous system.
The same applies to your circulatory system which is related to blood – a domain of Pitta. Although we all have to pay attention not to bring any of the 3 existing doshas out of balance, it is the doshas of your constitution that are most prone to go out of balance, simply because they are most dominant in us already by birth, or genetically so to say. Since your constitution is made up of 2 doshas, you have to guard both of them carefully and pay close attention not to increase either one to the point where it begins to disturb your body’s equilibrium and manifest symptomatic imbalances. Knowing your constitution, the domains or “houses” of the doshas that make up your constitution and their unique qualities is the key to staying in balance or restoring balance.
There are clear benefits to having a dual-doshic constitution and these become apparent when we consider the different qualities inherent in the three doshas. Let us begin by consulting one of the key authorities on Ayurvedic Medicine, the Ashtanga Hrydayam, a text written around 550-600 AC by Vagbhata.
This is what the text tells us about the qualities of the three doshas:
“Tatra ruksho laghu sheetah, khara sukshmaschalo nilah”
The qualities of Vata are:
“dry, light, cool, rough, subtle and mobile”
(Ashtanga Hrdayam; Sutrasthana; Chapter 1;10.5)
“Pittam sasneha tikshnoshnam laghu visram saram dravam”
“Pitta is slightly oily, sharp, hot, light, fleshy smelling, spreading and liquid”
(Ashtanga Hrdayam; Sutrasthana Chapter 1;11)
“Snigdhah sheeta gururmandah shlakshno mritsnah sthirah kaphah”
“Kapha is unctuous, cool, heavy, slow, smooth, soft and static”
(Ashtanga Hrdayam; Sutrasthana 1;12)
A quick look at these descriptions reveals that certain qualities of one dosha oppose qualities of another dosha. Take for instance Vata’s dry, light and mobile qualities. These are opposed by Kapha’s unctuous, heavy and static qualities. Pitta’s hot and sharp qualities are balanced by Kapha’s cool, smooth and soft qualities and so on. This explains, why having a dual-doshic constitution can be beneficial: opposing qualities have the potential and ability to balance each other out.
Having a Pitta-Vata constitution means that the drying quality of Vata is balanced by the oiliness of Pitta and you are much more protected from having dry joints, dry skin and dry hair than a mono-doshic Vata constitution. Pitta’s heating qualities balance Vata’s cooling qualities and you are therefore much less prone to being sensitive to cold and having cold extremities than a mono-doshic Vata constitution. There are also qualities that complement each other by the way. Vata’s “mobile” qualities drives a person to be active, creative and quick. Combine this with Pitta’s spreading qualities and you have a person with the potential of being charismatic, charming and influential who can achieve exceptional things, broad fame and recognition. In a healthy and balanced state, Vata‘s strength to be creative and innovative combined with Pitta’s ability to organize and manifest allows such individuals to live a life of fulfilment in creating what they are passionate about and be dynamic enough to change when the circumstances demand.
Kapha gives strength and stability and compliments very well Vata’s inherent instability, fickleness and lack of concentration. Since Kapha’s qualities ground us, a Vata-Kapha constitution is much more protected and less affected from the negative impact that stress has on our body and mind. On top of that, a Vata-Kapha constitution also recovers much faster from stressful periods than individuals with a mono-doshic Vata constitution. The combination of “light” (Vata) and “heavy” (Kapha) qualities can also often be seen in form of the person’s physical characteristics. Vata-Kapha constitutions generally are not as thin and bony and don’t feature stiff joints but tend to have just the right amount of fat under the skin to cover joints well and a decent amount of lubrication for the skeletal system.
Having a Pitta-Kapha constitution is a blessing in today’s challenging and fast changing society and it has only very few drawbacks. It is the most stable and strongest dual-doshic combination, both in terms of emotional as well as physical and physiological aspects. Pitta-Kapha types benefit from the fact that almost all of the inherent qualities of one dosha are balanced out by the qualities of the other dosha. Pitta’s hot, sharp, light and spreading qualities are balanced by Kapha’s cool, smooth, heavy and static qualities. On a practical level this means there are next to no qualities that reinforce each other and go out of balance quickly. The only quality they have in common is their oiliness. More on that later.
However, while it can be beneficial to have a dual-doshic constitution, it is unfortunately not all roses and sunshine.
You probably have a good idea by now about Ayurvedic constitutions and you are aware that every dosha has certain distinct qualities that influence your constitution and that, combined, can pose benefits and challenges for you. Here are some of the typical challenges that dual-doshic constitutional types have to face.
Pitta-Vata types tend to have poor circulation. This is due to the fact that Vata constricts while Pitta heats up. Both effects joined together create problems for the circulatory system. The vata part of this constitutional type will actually long for heat while the Pitta in them puts a clear limit to how much heat they can tolerate. Pitta-Vata types can quickly become seriously irritated when exposed to heat. Besides the contradictory tendencies when it comes to heat, digestion often another issue for them to be solved. While the Pitta aspect in them manifests itself in form of a strong desire to eat large quantities of food, the Vata part is challenged by large amounts of food and has trouble digesting it. From an emotional perspective, people with this constitution will respond alternatively with fear and anger in challenging situations, especially when they are out of balance. Another conflict area is the fact that the Pitta aspect in them urges them to be in control and command while their Vata aspect will frequently create self doubt and the tendency to compromise their feelings. All this tends to negatively impinge on their self expression and these aspects can be quite tough to reconcile. The final potential problem area we want to mention is Pitta-Vata’s tendency to search out intense (or extreme), and possible dangerous situations and their proclivity towards addictions. The proclivity towards addiction is one of the chosen escape routes from stress for the Vata part of this constitutional type, while searching intense experiences is Pitta’s way of wanting to express its qualities.
Challenges for a person with a Vata-Kapha constitution are often related to digestion and circulation. As with the other constitutional types, the reasons for this can be found within the combination of the various qualities that express through each dosha. Both doshas, Vata and Kapha, share one quality: “sheeta” – “cool” or “cooling”. Too much of “cold” weakens the digestive system (agni) which needs heat to operate properly. You should therefore be extra careful not to introduce too much of coldness into your body through wrong diet and wrong lifestyle. If agni is weak, proper digestion, absorption and assimilation of food or nutrients is not possible. This can lead to low immunity and malnourishment. Down the line, more serious problems can develop from this. Another aspect to mention here is that since cold constricts, circulation is reduced – sometimes significantly so. This leads to stagnation of blood and lymph, body aches and pains. On a mind level, an imbalance generated from the increase of coldness in the body results in the inability to process emotions and experiences properly. This can lead to anxiety and/or depression.
While Kapha-Pitta types have a lot of good things going for them, they do have the tendency to ignore signs of imbalance in their body and mind and not act upon them early enough. In this case, their ability to tolerate situations and accommodate to challenges and conflict becomes a curse for them because they may not take action fast enough. The “action” required could be actively doing something or stopping to do something. Kapha-Pitta types can easily forget to take breaks and listen to their body and needs. Over time imbalances accumulate and grow into strong forces within the body before Kapha-Pitta types notice them and take necessary action. Due to the strength of the imbalance, it takes often much longer and requires more effort to return this constitution to a balanced state.
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Because of your heightened sensitivity and intensity, diet and lifestyle plays a huge role when it comes to keeping your constitution in check. Generally speaking, people with a Vata-Pitta constitution should make sure to adjust their diet according to the season. It is best to follow a Vata balancing diet in fall and winter and a Pitta balancing diet in spring and summer. We recommend to include plenty of whole grains and fresh fruits and lots of sweet root vegetables into your diet because the sweet taste balances both doshas. Also, make sure to surround yourself with sweetness in everything you do. This includes for example the type of movies you watch, the activities you do, the people around you, the conversations you have and other sensory impressions that you expose yourself to.
In terms of diet and lifestyle, we recommend that this constitution follows a Vata balancing diet in summer and fall and a Kapha balancing diet during winter and spring. Vata and Kapha share the common quality of coldness hence everything they eat and do should involve component of heat and warmth. Should prefer salty, salty and pungent known as warming taste instead of the bitter astringent cold taste. Enjoy carbohydrates for breakfast and lunch but avoid them for dinner.
In terms of diet and lifestyle, we recommend that this constitution follows a Pitta balancing diet from late spring to early fall and a Kapha balancing diet from late fall to early spring. Both, sweet and salty taste are this constitution’s “enemy”, so the intake of substances that primarily contain this taste should be controlled well. On the other hand, bitter and astringent taste will help balance both Pitta and Kapha. We therefore recommend that you consume lots of leafy greens, bitter vegetables like bitter gourd (melon) and artichokes as well as astringent grains like millet and buckwheat. Since the element water is present in both of these doshas (Pitta and Kapha), the digestive fire is susceptible to disturbances and can be weakened due to this. Both Pitta and Kapha share “oiliness” as quality. Heavy, oily and fried food should be avoided as much as possible and intermittent fasting is ideal for this constitution.
In order to make sure your constitution stays balanced, Ayurveda recommends a procedure (or rather procedures) called Panchakarma. The 5 techniques that are collectively called “Panchakarma”, remove excess dosha (Vata, Pitta or Kapha) and restore physiological balance. Once you have restored a new equilibrium you should ensure that you do not again progressively accumulate any of the three dosha in your body. At our Ayurvedic Health Centre, we offer Ayurvedic treatments and programs that are specifically tailored to your constitution. Our treatment plans include a food menu that is adapted to your individual constitution and imbalances, as well as herbal medications, yoga and meditation and many authentic Ayurvedic protocols. We also offer professional and authentic Panchakarma procedures to remove excess Kapha from your body and bring you back to a deeply balanced state of well being.
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