Traditional system of medicine, which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing.
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Ether & Air
Characteristics of Vata:
Taste: Bitter, Astringent
Time of Day: 2:00am-6:00am & 2:00pm- 6:00pm
Body Type: Skinny, Slim, too tall or too short
Body Weight: Light
Skin Type: Dry, Cold, Rough, Thin
Hair Type: Dry, Frizzy, Brittle, Scarce, Brown, Black
Teeth: Crooked, Stick out, Big, Thin gums
Nose: Crooked, uneven, thin
Eyes: Small, Dry, Nervous, Brown, Black
Nails: Dry, Rough, Breaks Easy
Lips: Dry, Cracked
Chin: Thin, Angular
Cheeks: Sunken, Thin
Neck: Thin, Long
Chest: Flat, Sunken
Belly: Thin, Flat, Sunken
Belly-Button: Small, Irregular
Hips: Slender, Thin
Joints: Cold, Cracking
Appetite: Irregular, scanty
Digestion: Irregular, Gas
Taste to Balance a Vata: Sweet, Sour, Salty
Elimination: constipation, gas
Physical Activity: Hyperactive
Mental Activity: Hyperactive
Intellect: Quick to Respond, but maybe wrong
Recollection: good short-term memory, poor long term
Dreams: Many, active, Flying, Fearful
Sleep: scanty, broken, sleeplessness
Speech: rapid, unclear, stuttering
Financial: Poor, spends on trifles
Emotions: Balanced, happiness, joy, freshness, alertness, creativity, flexibility
Emotions when out of Balance: Fear, anxiety, insecure, loneliness, void, emptiness, impulsive
Vata Effects this when unbalanced:
Prana: the vital force, life giving
Udana: Upward movement, to sustain memory
Vyana: Vehicle of circulation, pulsation
Samana: Balancing, digestion, assimilation of food
Apana: Elimination of semen, urine, feces, fetus
What imbalances Vata:
Dry land, Dry Weather, Dry Food, Dried Fruits, Flight, Fasting, Cold Weather, Cold Season, Sleeping on hard floors, fear, insecurity, loneliness, multi-tasking, high altitudes, astringent tastes, beans, over exertion, over work, horseback riding, irregular life style, too much talking & excess sexual activity.
Signs of excess vata:
Spacey, ungrounded, ringing in the ears, numbness in skin, aches & pains in the lower back & thighs, gas, anxiety, fear, phobias, insomnia, constipation, nervousness, stiffness in joints & dry skin.
To balance Vata:
Have a regular daily routine, warm baths, sesame oil massage, oil massage to feet and scalp at night, get enough sleep, eat fresh. Warm cooked food, take grounding, nourishing foods & herbs, Drink warm tea’s, avoid over work, over sex, too much travel, irregular lifestyle & irregular eating habits.
Diet: Food should be cooked warm, a little spicy, mostly sweet, sour & salty in taste.
Good for vata:
Sweet fruits like: apples, mangoes, dates, bananas & papayas.
Cooked vegetables like: beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash & zucchini. Soups & roots are good in general.
Sweet & Grounded Grain like: rice, wheat, oats, mung beans & soy
Most dairy is good like: ghee, yogurt, warm milk, buttermilk, fresh cheese
Most sweeteners are good as well as oils, nuts, seeds, condiments & spices like: cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and asafetida.
Reduce or Avoid:
Raw, Dried or frozen vegetables, mushrooms, hot peppers, cauliflower, bitter vegetables, wheat grass, sprouts, salad, dried fruit (ok if soaked in water first), water melon, white sugar, popcorn, cold, dry or rough cereals, chick peas, excess of any beans, avoid gas forming foods and complicated food combinations like fruit and milk or meat and dairy. Reduce or avoid eating leftovers.
Fire & Water
Characteristics of Pitta:
- Fleshy smell
Taste: sour, pungent, bitter
Time of Day: 10am- 2pm & 10pm- 2am, Peak is at 12pm
Body size: medium
Body weight: medium
Skin: Oily, warm, pink, freckles
Hair: red, blond, white, straight, bold
Teeth: medium, sensitive, bleeding gums
Nose: pointed, red
Eyes: sharp, bright, green, gray, sensitive to light
Nails: medium, pink, flexible
Lips: red, pink, inflamed
Chin: sharp, tapering
Cheeks: flat, smooth
Neck: medium, strong
Chest: muscular, medium
Belly: medium, toned
Appetite: strong, sharp, unbearable
Digestion: quick, burning
Taste that balance: bitter, astringent, sweet
Elimination: loose stools, yellow colored
Physical Activity: moderate, likes competitive sports
Mental activity: moderate, intellectual,
Intellect: sharp, accurate response
Dreams: fire, war, violence
Sleep: little but sound
Speech: Sharp, penetrating
Financial: Spends money on luxuries
Emotional state: well balanced understanding, comprehensive, discernment, knowledgeable
Out of Balance: anger, hate, envy, jealousy, criticism, obsessive
Pitta affects this when unbalanced:
- Small intestine
- Brain( Grey matter)
Subtypes of Pitta:
Sadhaka: Thinking, learning, understanding
Alochaka: Optical, perception, eye color
Ranjaka: Liver enzymes, produces bile
Pachaka: Enzymes, HCL, digestion, absorption and assimilation
Bhrajak: Skin pigmentation, color and temperature
What Imbalances Pitta:
Pungent, sour and salty taste, fried or greasy food, rich food, hot peppers, hot spicy food, fermented foods like pickles, alcohol and vinegar. Hot weather, bon fires, bright sun light, computer screens, poison ivy, acidic chemicals, competitive sports, aggression, violent movies and video games, too much mental activity like computer programming, Red, orange or black clothing.
Signs of excess Pitta:
Heat in head, red eyes, nausea, vomiting, migraine vertigo, insomnia, bleeding gums, nose bleed, acne, heart burn, acid stomach, irritability, anger, criticism, over achiever, perfectionist, overactive thyroid & any inflammation.
Manifestations of excess pitta:
Conjunctivitis, tonsillitis, laryngitis, diarrhea, urithritis, acidity, gout, tendonitis, fever, toxemia, liver disorders, chronic fatigue, ulcers, eczema, hypertension & heart attack.
To Balance Pitta:
Stay cool and calm, use coconut oil, cool showers, use sandalwood oil, wear white or light colored clothing, do asanas, eat kitchari, cilantro, ghee, drink lassi, wear pearls & silver, use rose water, swim in cool lakes, avoid alcohol, have light conversation & do meditation.
Eat mostly foods with sweet, bitter and astringent taste. Have simple plain meals not to rich or spicy, Green vegetable soups are best.
Good for Pitta:
Generally most sweet fruit, broccoli, cilantro, celery, cucumber, asparagus, leafy greens, squash, rice, barley, wheat, spelt, pasta, oats, beans, soy, butter, cottage cheese, ghee, milk, goat milk, cheese & lassi (yogurt mixed in water) eggs, buffalo, freshwater fish, white meat (fowl), coriander, sprouts, soaked almonds, coconut, flax, sunflower seeds, olive oil, green or herb tea. Bitter astringent and sweet foods are best.
Reduce or avoid:
Fried, greasy, spicy food, sour fruits, pungent vegetables, garlic, raw onions, raw radish, hot peppers, salt, pickles, sour cream, red meat, sea food, chocolate, mustard, vinegar, horse radish, sour juices, clove, black pepper or other hot spices.
Earth & Water
Characteristics of kapha:
Taste: madhura (sweet), lavana (salty)
Season: late winter, spring
Time of the day: 6am-10am & 6pm- 10pm
Body Size: Large
Body Weight: Heavy. Overweight
Skin: thick, oily, cool, pale
Hair: thick, oily, curly, wavy
Teeth: Healthy, White strong
Nose: Short, rounded
Eyes: large, beautiful, blue, calm
Nails: thick, oily, smooth
Lips: smooth, oily, pale
Chin: double, rounded
Cheeks: plump, rounded
Neck: thick, folded
Chest: expanded, large
Belly: pot-bellied, fat
Belly-button: big, deep, stretched
Hips: Heavy, big
Joints: large, lubricated
Appetite: slow but steady
Digestion: slow, mucus forming
Taste that balance: bitter, pungent, astringent
Elimination: thick, oily, sluggish
Physical Activity: slow
Mental Activity: dull, slow
Intellect: slow, exact
Recollection: slow, sustained
Dreams: water, snow, romantic
Sleep: slow, melodious
Financial: rich holds onto money
Emotions balanced: love, compassion, forgiveness
Out of balance: attachment, greed, possessive, indifference
Kapha effects this when unbalanced:
- Mucosal lining of the stomach
- Lymph nodes
- Joints- synovial fluid
- Mastic Tissue
Subtypes of kapha:
Tarpaka: white matter, myelin sheaths
Bodhaka: Tongue, governs, taste, speech, swallowing
Avalambaka: supports all systems, protects heart & lung tissue
Kledaka: stomach mucosa lining
Sleshaka: synovial fluid
What imbalances kapha:
Cold drinks, cold weather, swimming in cold water, over eating, over sleeping, ice- cream, sweets, emotional eating, dairy & lethargy.
Signs of excess kapha:
Obesity, congestion, colds, coughs, edema, lymphatic congestion, cold clammy hands, profuse sweating, stuffy nose, under active thyroid, cysts & high cholesterol.
To balance kapha:
Discipline, exercise, jogging, jumping, running, stay active. Eat foods that mainly having the qualities of : light, hot, sharp and dry. Laughter reduces kapha. Eat a light breakfast, drink hot water & honey, hot ginger tea, get a deep dry massage ( or with mustard oil), sleep on a hard bed or floor, stay up late, wake up early, drink water from a copper cup, smoke herbal cigarette (with rose & brahmi) wear red, orange, yellow & black colors.
Eat less in general; eat foods with mainly bitter, pungent and astringent taste. Eat light, early dinners.
Good for kapha:
Astringent fruit such as : apples, pears, cranberries, as well as most dried fruit. Pungent and bitter vegetables such as cabbage, celery, cilantro, broccoli, dalkon radish, Brussels sprouts, corn, eggplant, all leafy green vegetables, cauliflower, chilies, potatoes, artichoke, tomatoes, sprouts, turnips. Grains such as: rye, corn, barley & millet. Most kinds of beans, all spices are good especially pepper, turmeric, fennel, fenugreek, cardamom, clove & hing, Sea weed is great. Use corn, olive and mustard oil.
Reduce or avoid:
Cold, heavy food, sweets, foods with sweet, sour or salty tastes. Dates, bananas, avocado, watermelon, sweet potatoes, pumkin, bread, oats, pasta, wheat, soy, cheese, ice cream, sour cream, yogurt, red meat, sea food, coconut, chocolate, nuts, mayonnaise, salt, pickles, most oils & all sweetener except for honey