Ayurveda 101: Finding Mind-Body Balance in Today’s World

modern guide to Ayurvedic body types and herbs

Despite its ancient roots, Ayurveda can fit into any modern lifestyle. Read on to discover how to use the practice to unlock your healthiest self. 

by Stacy Mosel, LMSW

If you’re wondering how to boost overall well-being or manage concerns like stress, sleep issues or a lack of energy, Ayurveda might be the answer you’ve been seeking.

Developed as a healing practice in ancient India, Ayurveda offers a system of promoting wellness that may help you experience increased vitality, relaxation and overall well-being.

Here, we dive into the roots of the practice, break down Ayurvedic body types, and discuss how you can use and how you can use Ayurveda's ancient wisdom to address imbalances in your life and boost your holistic well-being.  

A Brief History of Ayurveda

If you’re somewhat familiar with Ayurveda, you probably know that its roots lie in India. It’s thought to have originated as a part of the “eternal consciousness” of Brahma (the creator god in Hinduism) before being transmitted to Indian mystics through meditation. The principles of Ayurveda were first recorded in the ancient texts known as the Vedas. Although the ancient art of Ayurveda has been practiced in India for at least 5,000 years, it’s only in recent times that it’s truly reached a larger audience in the Western world.

While turmeric and ginger have only recently experienced a renaissance as being a part of a healthy diet, people in the Indian subcontinent have known about their healing benefits for ages. Foods and herbs traditionally associated with Ayurveda — including the two above as well as rice and mung beans — were developed and cultivated in India as early as 3300 BCE. (More on those herbs in a minute.) In Ayurveda, all aspects of life – including astrology, politics, spirituality, art, food and relationships, are believed to affect your wellbeing. The core belief of this healing modality is the underlying connection between the self and the environment. 

Doshas – The Ayurvedic Body Types 

Doshas are the three different Ayurvedic body types known as Kapha, Pitta and Vata. Everyone has a combination of these body types, and in most cases, one dosha is dominant  However, in some people, there are two equally prominent doshas — or, in rare cases, a strong balance of all three (tridoshic). Your dominant dosha is used to refer to your Ayurvedic body type. When doshas are balanced, you generally experience mind-body wellbeing, but when imbalanced, you may notice a negative impact on your mood, health and energy. 

Kapha

Kapha is associated with the earth and water elements; this type benefits from stimulating herbs. Kapha-type people usually have strong, sturdy builds and tend to be athletic when in balance. A kapha imbalance can cause sluggishness and lethargy; individuals of this type often have slow digestive systems, which can make them feel out of balance after eating a large meal. They generally prefer to have regular routines to help them feel calm and settled.

Pitta

Pitta is associated with the fire and water elements; therefore, it benefits from cooling herbs. Pitta-type people are usually mentally and physically strong, with medium builds. They are determined and strong willed, which often makes them excellent leaders. A pitta imbalance can lead to excess heat that may manifest physically as skin irritations or acne, or mentally as impatience, agitation and anger. When in balance, pitta individuals are organized, focused and quick learners.

Vata

Vata is associated with the air and ether elements; the vata meaning stems from the Sanskrit word vayu, which means “that which moves.” Vata-type people tend to be thin and mentally and physically energetic. A vata imbalance can cause sleep problems, digestive issues or increased sensitivity to stress. Vata individuals therefore tend to benefit from grounding, warming and stimulating herbs. 

(To learn more about how to identify your own ayurvedic body type, check out our Dosha deep-dive post)

Common Ayurvedic Herbs and Ingredients

Ayurveda relies on over 600 different herbs and ingredients to help address imbalances in specific doshas and promote overall well-being. Some Ayurvedic herbs you may be familiar with include cardamom, cumin and turmeric, while you may be less familiar with herbs like Ashwagandha, manjistha, or amalaki. The specific properties of Ayurvedic herbs are thought to benefit health and wellness.

Herbs can have warming, grounding, relaxing, stimulating, or cooling properties, which can be used to address dosha imbalances to help you feel more physically and mentally balanced. Regardless of your dosha, you can have an excess or deficiency of any of the dosha energies, which can be associated with specific complaints and issues. Addressing the imbalance involves using herbs that promote the qualities you’d like to achieve. For example, excess kapha can cause lethargy and a lack of energy, so it can be beneficial to focus on stimulating herbs like cardamom or ginger to help you feel more alert and energized. Or if you have trouble sleeping (generally associated with a vata or pitta imbalance), you should focus on calming and relaxing herbs, such as chamomile or valerian root.

Why CBD Fits in So Well with Ayurveda

If you’re holistically minded, you probably already realize that all-natural plant-based remedies are beneficial for supporting everyday mind-body balance. In recent years, people have come to realize the benefits of CBD for a variety of everyday life issues, such as sleep, stress or an overall lack of energy. At The Root of It All CBD, we’ve found that CBD works better in conjunction with essential oils from Ayurvedic herbs. 

The combination of CBD and Ayurvedic herbs can offer a natural way to promote wellbeing and restore balance to your mind and body.

We at The Root of It All have developed specific CBD blends that combine cannabis extracts with the restorative benefits of specially-chosen Ayurvedic herbs to promote wellness and to provide everyday holistic support. These blends are vegan, gluten-free, and allergy-friendly and can have a wide range of tri-doshic benefits, from promoting rest to improving energy and alertness. If you’re struggling with stress or sleep or any other day-to-day concern, an Ayurvedic CBD blend may help to restore mind-body balance. 

Stacy Mosel, LMSW is a health and wellness writer, as well as a licensed social worker, certified Reiki practitioner and musician. She received a Bachelor's degree in Music from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1999 and a Master of Social Work from New York University in 2002. 

References

https://www.ayurvedanama.org/history-of-ayurveda

https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/where-ayurveda-come-from

https://www.yogajournal.com/teach/secret-best-summer-yet-burn-excess-kapha-now

https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/fired

https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/what-philosophy-ayurvedic-medicine

https://chopra.com/article/understanding-vata-minimize-stress-and-feed-your-creativity

https://www.verywellhealth.com/popular-ayurvedic-herbs-88822

https://www.wellandgood.com/good-advice/ayurvedic-herbs/

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