Remember the three doshas and the six tastes? Here’s how they work together.
First, vata is the dosha that corresponds to air and space. It’s the dosha that is responsible for drying and motion. When this dosha becomes imbalanced, we can experience constipation, dehydration, and anxiety. We may suffer from frequent viral infection, weight loss, and disturbed sleep. You may also notice a desire for warmth. Our vata can become imbalanced if we eat too many foods with bitter, astringent, and spicy tastes. Salty, sweet, and sour tastes can help us to pacify this dosha, as well as warm moist, and easily digestible foods.
If you find that you suffer from symptoms of an excess of vata, you will benefit from foods like ripe fruits, boiled or steamed starchy vegetables, and soupy grains like rice and wheat. Mild spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, fennel, and coriander will help this imbalance, as well as salt, cloves, mustard, and black pepper. Some teas that can balance this excess are chamomile, fennel, ginger, lemon, and liquorice.
The next dosha, pitta, corresponds to fire and water. Excess pitta can cause you to be irritable and aggressive, as well as critical and perfectionistic. Physical symptoms of a pitta imbalance include diarrhea, heartburn, excessive hunger, frequent bacterial infections, colorful, violent dreams, and overheating or profuse sweating. You can have excess pitta if you have too much alcohol or if you eat too many hot, spicy, oily, fried, salty, or fermented foods. Pitta is soothed, by sweet, bitter and astringent taste, as well as cool, heavy foods.
If you have an excess of pitta, you can soothe this imbalance by eating boiled, steamed, or raw vegetables, steamed fruits, and moderate amounts of dairy. Soupy grains like rice wheat, barley, and oats are also helpful. Mild, cooling spices like coriander, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, cumin, curry leaves, and mint soothe pitta. You can also address this imbalance with certain teas. Go for fennel, chamomile, peppermint, spearmint, liquorice, and red clover in times of pitta excess.
The last dosha, kapha, is connected with the heaviest elements: water and earth. Too much kapha can lead to stagnation and a heavy, lethargic feeling. When your system has too much kapha, it can cause you to procrastinate. It can lead to water retention, weight gain, and excess sleep. This can also lead to frequent candida infection, sluggish bowels, and a desire for warm, spicy foods. Kapha becomes imbalanced when we eat too much food or too much sweet.
Boiled, steamed, and raw vegetables soothe a kapha imbalance, as well as ripe fruits, though banana is to be avoided. Fat free buttermilk is helpful, as well as grains like corn, millet, wheat, oats, barley, and rye. Strong spices soothe an excess of kapha. Some of these spices are black pepper, paprika, salt, and garlic, as well as basil, cloves, allspice, fennel, mustard, turmeric, cumin, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and coriander. Plenty to choose from for a kapha imbalance. The teas that soothe a kapha imbalance include cinnamon, fenugreek, peppermint, and raspberry. Also, if you like it sweet, choose honey instead of sugar.
Ayurveda is a complex system that can work wonders to restore health and extend longevity. These guidelines will give you an easy start to a diet with amazing benefits. Following these tips will help you feel better and live longer.
Shades of Yoga is a yoga teacher training company running year-round yoga teacher training courses in Bali and Costa Rica. Details here.