Introduction to Ayurveda

‘According to Ayurveda, the universal life force manifests as three different energies, or doshas, known as vata, pitta, and kapha. We are all made up of a unique combination of these three forces. This unique combination, determined at the moment of conception, is our constitution, or prakruti. The three doshas constantly fluctuate according to our environment, which includes our diet, the seasons, the climate, our age, and many more factors. The current state of these three doshas most commonly defines our imbalance, or vikruti. Since we all have a unique constitution and unique imbalances, each person’s path toward health will be unique. In addition, what will keep each of us healthy is also unique. Understanding our prakruti and vikruti offers each of us the potential to make correct choices.’ (M.Halpman,Asana and Ayurveda)’.


Ayurveda is a sister science to Yoga, and like yoga it sees each individual as a holistic being, and uses various techniques including massage, diet, herbal remedies and lifestyle structure to help each individual attain glowing, balanced health.

According to Ayurvedic philosophy, each individual is made up of a combination of elements or doshas, Vatta- air, Pitta- fire and Kapha- earth.

This is a very basic quiz, designed to help you determine your pakruti, or combination of dominant doshas. It is not designed to treat illness, rather to allow you to move closer to everyday health and balance. It will also give you an insight into the characteristics of each type. While it may initially seem like generalisations based on physical characteristics- treat this as a guide to help you discover your starting point. In order to better understand the nature of your system, informing you to better begin the subtler emotional and healing process of yoga with ayurvedic insight.  

Select the trait under each category that most applies to you. Feel free to select more than one response in each section- or none, if none of the options suit you.  

Many factors will affect your response like the weather and your current diet and lifestyle.

If you make changes based on what you learn about yourself and return to this quiz in six months, your second assessment will be more in keeping with your true body type.

Height

V Tall or very short

P Medium

K Usually short, but can be tall and large

Frame

V Thin, finely built, bony, large joints with that easily, lean, ‘dancer‘s build

P Moderate, developed, athletic

K Larger, voluptuous, well-built, strong, well lubricated joints, often naturally softer and more flexible

Weight

V Low, finds it hard to hold weight, extra weight collects around midriff

P Moderate, gains weight evenly  

K Finds it hard to lose weight, gains weight in curves (i.e. Buttocks, thighs, chest, arms)

Skin Lustre

V Dull or dusky, tans and wrinkles easily

P Ruddy, lustrous, warm, often with moles, freckles or irritation and rashes

K White or pale, clear, fair with a glow, burns easily

Skin Texture

V Dry, rough, thin

P Warm, oily, soft

K Cool, smooth, damp, clear

Eyes

V Gray, brown or an unusual colour, small, darting, perceptive, can be dry or itchy

P Brown, green or hazel, piercing, easily inflamed, often bloodshot or yellow

K Blue, clear, large and bright, white sclera, thick long lashes

Hair

V Dry, thin, can be frizzy and tightly curled

P Thin, oily, often prematurely grey or balding

K Thick, oily, wavy, lustrous, abundant, shiny

Teeth

V Crooked, poorly formed

P Moderate, bleeding gums

K Large, well-formed

Nails

V Greyish, rough, brittle, ridged, tendency to bite nails

P Pliable, pink or yellowish reddish, well formed

K Soft, white, strong, square, even,

Circulation

V Poor, variable

P Good

K Moderate

Appetite

V Variable, nervous, often forgets to eat, easily addicted to substances

P High, excessive, loves spicy foods, easily addicted to intoxicants

K Moderate but constant, comfort eats under stress

Thirst

V Low, scanty, often dehydrated without realizing  

P High

K Moderate

Sweating

V Scanty

P Profuse but not enduring, excess sweat and body odour under stress

K Low to start but profuse

Stool

V Hard or dry, constipation or excess gas when under stress

P Soft, loose, diarrhoea under stress

K Normal

Urination

V Scanty

P Profuse, yellow

K Moderate, clear

Sensitivities

V Cold, dryness, wind, low tolerance to pain, noise and bright lights

P Heat, sunlight, burnout- ‘thrives’ on pressure and often unable to switch off

K Cold, damp

Immune Function, resilience  

V Low, variable

P Moderate, sensitive to heat

K High

Disease Tendency

V Large intestine problems i.e. constipation, gas. Also issues with immune and nervous system function, and joints  

P Small intestine problems i.e. diarrhoea. Also liver, spleen, thyroid, blood, skin and eye disease   

K Stomach and lung problems, mucous conditions, water retention

Activity

V High, restless, a flickering flame

P Moderate, a steady fire

K Low, moves slowly, a slow burn

Endurance

V Poor, easily exhausted

P Moderate but focused

K High, good stamina, slow to get started, but will continue until the task is completed

Sleep

V Light sleeper, easily disturbed

P Variable, insomnia and violent dreams when stressed

K Good to excessive, oversleeps when stressed

Memory

V Quick but absent-minded, learns quickly, then forgets quickly

P Sharp, clear, focused

K Slow but steady, grasps new ideas slowly, but has great retention

Speech

V Perceptive, fast, frequent though introspective

P Sharp, alert, cutting, quick to engage in debate

K Slow, melodious, contemplative

Positive aspects/emotions  

V Adaptable, quick, introspective, perceptive, disciplined, spiritual

P Motivated, adaptable, a leader, bright, courageous

K Content, conservative, calm, nurturing, maternal, forgiving and understanding

Negative  aspects/emotions

V Fearful, indecisive, fidgety

P Irritable, arrogance, self centred, sharp tongue

K Stubborn, narrow minded, ‘stick in the mud’, attached, neglectful  

When under pressure

      V Restless, blurred mind, paranoid, insomnia, loses weight, addiction

      P    Initially thrives, but often unable to slow down again, appetites out of control i.e. gluttony, promiscuous, addiction. Violent dreams, high stomach acid, ulcers, sweaty

     K    Oversleeps and eats, depressed, inertia

Totals

Vata

Pitta

Kapha

It is very rare (and lucky!) to have an even serve of each dosha, or to only identify with one. The majority of people have two dominant dosha, the most prevalent is listed first. When determining your diet, yoga practice etc, let this dominant dosha be your primary guide, integrating elements from your secondary dosha where appropriate. Ayurveda acknowledges that we are all unique and ever changing- listening to your body will be your best guide, if there are foods listed for your dosha that you know disagree with you, then don’t eat them. If following a timetable that doesn’t easily mesh with your life is causing stress and pressure, make gentle changes where you can, without being to tough on yourself. As you integrate changes mindfully observe their effects, remembering it is more productive to make gradual but lasting change. Be kind to yourself.



The table above is from this MonicaB ayurveda blog

Yoga Journal has some great articles on Ayurveda:

Monthly Moves

Gut Feelings

Know your Stress Type

Know your dosha quiz

Ayurveda and Asana

My favorite books on the subject are:

Ayurveda, A Life of Balance

By Maya Tiwari,

Healing Arts Press 1995 USA

Yoga for your type

by Dr. D Frawley & S. Summerfield Kozak,

Lotus, USA, 2007

To find an Ayuvedic Specialist in your area (in Australia) here is the Australian Association of Yoga Therapist Index