Week One

Ayurveda Helps People Understand Their Unique Individual Nature.

Ayurveda is based on the understanding that your daily activities create the power for either health or disease. If you live in accord with your individual metabolism, activities, and diet, then health is realized effortlessly. On the other hand, if you live in conflict with these elements, disease results. The old saying that one man’s food is another man’s poison illustrates the concept and shows us this knowledge exists across many cultures and has withstood the test of time. Diet and activity are the foundation of health or disease according to Ayurveda as they provide the energy and nutrients that bring power to the body.

Lecture/Video
Article
Journal Article

Tri-Dosha Theory 

The Four Pillars of Ayurvedic Nutrition 

You have taken the first step to getting your body back into its ideal state. You know your dominant dosha AND the dosha that is currently out of balance. Let’s learn a little more about you!

First, let’s address the:
Four Pillars of Ayurvedic Nutrition

  1. Identify and understand your inherent constitutional or metabolic type.
  2. Know your digestive capacity.
  3. Recognize your capacity to absorb and use nutrients.
  4. Learn to recognize the signs of poor or incomplete digestion and absorption of foods you consume.

We’ve taken care of identifying our constitution, now let’s get to know it a little better!

Each of us is different. We have different metabolisms and different responses to food. In order to adjust our diet to suit our individual type, we must have a method. We call this method the ABC of Ayurvedic nutrition.

A will refer to the Vata Type
B will refer to the Pitta Type
C will refer to the Kapha Type

According to Ayurveda, there are three primary forces that control nature. Anyone can see these principles or their effects because the composition of the A, B, and C types are distinct. If we understand which of the types is dominant, we can understand a lot about the nature of the person. This is the basis of nutrition in Ayurveda.

By understanding how your unique metabolism functions, you can begin to adopt behaviors that support it, rather than working against it. If we do not support our type, we create various digestive problems that can eventually lead to disease. Working in harmony with your digestion brings good health – not just freedom from disease – but real health and vigor.

We will help you understand your unique ABC metabolism and what will help it thrive. It is also important that you feel empowered to make the appropriate daily choices for your unique body type. Take 5-10min to read some information about your dosha. You may be surprised with how many characteristics are relatable!

Type A Vata
Type B Pitta
Type C Kapha

Type ‘A’ – Vata

‘A’ people have variable metabolisms; in other words, there is no daily consistency in their digestion. One day they will digest a pizza easily, and the next not at all. On still yet another day the same pizza will cause minor indigestion. Because digestion is one of the most important aspects of metabolism, A’s typically have inconsistent metabolisms.

They tend to digest quickly when they are in balance, but will get gas when they do not digest well. When this type is disturbed they become constipated, bloated, or just ‘gasy’. A’s tend to have dry skin and hair — an internal dryness that can cause constipation.

A’s generally have a smaller bone structure and the bones themselves tend to be thin. They are tall and thin, or short and thin. However, when the A type is disturbed or agitated, they can gain excess weight, especially after the age of thirty. Generally though, A’s are thin by the time they enter adolescence, if not for their whole life.

A’s have difficulty gaining weight no matter how much they eat. In general they are not big eaters, and prefer to eat smaller meals more frequently. They are the least interested in food of the seven types and will very often settle for poor quality foods like fast foods, junk foods or snacks.

Even though A’s have a variable metabolism, their body temperature tends to be cool or cold most of the time. Their blood circulation is not strong and they often have cold hands and feet. They do not like cold weather much and need to cover themselves from the elements more than the other types.

The A type has the weakest immune system of all the types and will often come down with allergies, colds or the flu. Yet, they usually have abundant energy, though not necessarily the stamina to keep up with it. They are very often quite talkative, or even ‘speedy’ in a scattered sort of way. They are known to be good at starting things but lack follow-through. A’s can easily become aggravated by computers or other electronic devices, and they are the most physically sensitive of the three types.

Psychological Profile of the ‘A’ type – Vata

Type A can be very creative, imaginative and innovative. They are very skilled at all forms of abstract thinking, but they can have problems with the practical side of life. The ‘absent minded professor’ is a typical A type – scientific and creative, but unable to mind the details of daily life. A’s make good artists in all fields. They are very effective communicators and generally like to use these skills on the job.

They are the most spontaneous and flexible of all the types and this is one of their best qualities. They like travel and thrive on new experiences. Sometimes A’s create change things just for the sake of it – even when it may be quite impractical to do so.

A’s are often brilliant intellectually with very quick minds. They can be very intuitive. Yet, their memory is generally not that strong. They are more concerned with the short term rather than the long term. They are the non-conformists of the three types. They may exist on the edges of society, even though they can be very social and likeable. They make poor leaders and even poorer followers. Think of a socialite who enjoys being surrounded by people, but in a more superficial way with few real friends.

When this type becomes disturbed or unbalanced they suffer from worry, anxiety, nervous tension, nervous breakdowns, fear, and depression. They are the most sensitive of all the types and so suffer more from stress or problems of the nervous system. A’s are the most prone to become perverse or distorted; they can also become addicts easier than the other types or fall under emotional or physical dominance by a person or substance.

Type ‘B’ – Pitta

The B type of person has a very strong metabolism. Their digestion is quick and strong; they can eat anything. Their metabolism runs on the hot side and they tend to be ‘hot blooded’ in all senses of the meaning. They have warm skin, hands and feet. Their blood circulation is the strongest of the three types and they can be prone to heart or blood problems later in life.

Their metabolism is not only strong, but also consistent. Up until about forty years of age they will hardly notice the process of digestion unless it is heart burn or acidity. After forty they suddenly begin to notice that a few pounds arrived uninvited. Then they tend to become more aware of problematic foods like tomatoes or acidic citrus fruits.

When B’s do have problems digestively it reveals itself in the form of loose stools or diarrhea. Fried foods especially can trigger this kind of response. This is extremely true for fast foods or restaurant foods that are prepared in old or poor quality oils. The excess consumption of fried foods can also make them obese. Generally, they are neither thin nor overweight unless they eat too many fried and fatty foods. Of the three types, the B’s have the most regular in bowel movements.

B’s tend to suffer from skin problems due to the acidic nature of their blood and body in general. They can also have liver problems even if they do not drink alcohol. Their eyesight may be poor or they may have trouble with their eyes at some point in their life. Generally, they suffer from irritation or redness in the eyes and they can be more sensitive to the sunlight than the other types. They often wear glasses.

The B type is of medium build and bone structure. They are the most ‘average’ in size of the three types. (Keep in mind though that any of the types can have an ‘average’ build.) They fall in-between the other types in both size and weight. They have an average level of endurance and stamina. Nonetheless, they have the strongest minds and so they can achieve actions beyond their normal strength or stamina through will power alone.

They have a good immune system and do not generally fall sick – unless they work too much! They tend to suffer more from frustration or burn out, which leaves them open to infectious diseases. When B’s do get sick, they are frequently susceptible to inflammatory problems.

Psychological Profile of the ‘B’ type – Pitta

The B person is the most purposeful and goal oriented of the types. Even relaxation or sports will have a goal attached to it in some manner. While understanding and focussing on goals is important in life these types tend to become obsessed with the process.

Generally, their motivation is not towards money, but rather power and control. A more developed B type is orientated towards understanding and knowledge. They are the most motivated of the types. If they are unable to follow a goal or purpose in life they become frustrated or unhappy. They need to have hobbies and interests outside of their profession or they risk becoming consumed by their work.

B’s are good at initiating events. They make good entrepreneurs and generally like roles with responsibility. In any situation these types will gravitate toward positions of authority. They are seldom satisfied to follow or serve unless they respect the person or system in which they work.

When disturbed they can become aggressive and controlling. If they become frustrated, emotions can easily accelerate to anger, irritability or jealousy. They have ‘hot’ emotions and while they have little difficulty expressing how they feel, it is frequently not done in a manner that is constructive. Instead, they tend to explode and then have to put things back together afterwards. The B type normally controls the relationship in a couple – sometimes in a passive-aggressive manner.

They sometimes surround themselves with less intelligent or more subservient people in order to control others and expand their ego. In the more developed B types this same quality becomes helpful and humanitarian. A developed B person makes a good teacher or leader. They often are found in humanitarian service-orientated roles such as social workers, relief workers and the medical profession. Still other B types will become engrossed in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding. In this sense they can become good psychiatrists or psychotherapists.

Type ‘C’ – Kapha

The ‘C’ type of person has the slowest metabolism but the greatest consistency. Their digestive capacity is very regular. They can easily become congested or overloaded because their metabolism functions slowly. Of the three types these people take the longest to process what they eat. They respond regularly to the same kinds of foods or meals.

When C’s have digestive disturbances they get bloated or have an obvious heavy feeling in the stomach. As their digestion reflects their slow metabolic function they can easily over eat or eat too much of heavy, slow to digest foods. Digestive disturbances tend to produce an accumulation of mucus or fat, especially when C’s eat more than their metabolism can handle.

C’s have the least resistance to sweets, yet they are often the most attracted to eating them. This attraction can put an extra strain on the adrenal – pancreas function that regulates blood sugar and the processing of fats and cholesterol among other things. Their kidney function can also become weak from excess fat. Of the three types C’s retain more weight in fluids because of the inherent weakness in their metabolism of water – i.e., kidney function. This can give a ‘puffy’ look to the skin and edema (swelling) in general.

The C type has the strongest body and the greatest endurance of the three types. While somewhat prone to becoming over weight, this is not unavoidable. In fact, C’s can achieve great feats of strength in certain sports and types of professions. They are the most physically orientated of the types and so have the greatest love of food. They have the largest bone structure of the types yet do not tend to be tall. Rather they are of medium height and stocky.

Along with their physical strength they have the strongest immune function. Their resistance to disease is much greater than the other types and C’s generally do not become sick. When they do become ill it usually reflects poor nutritional or lifestyle habits, such as excessive use of alcohol or smoking, both of which cause problems for all the types. The C type is prone to all kinds of accumulation in the body, which can lead to the growth of tumors and other internal growths, but they are usually benign. They can also be prone to lung problems or problems of the respiratory system in general.

All in all, the C type generally enjoys the greatest level of physical health. Provided they do not indulge in extremes and temptations, these people can live the longest.

Psychological Profile of the ‘C’ type – Kapha

Psychologically, C people are driven by the need for comfort and security in every sphere of life. In a positive sense, this quality makes the C person caring, with a strong desire to nurture and provide for friends and family. In a negative sense, they become controlling and greedy.

Again, these two extremes reflect the basic need for security. Emotionally, love is also a form of security. Hence, these people can become obsessed with the need to be loved. This can take on a very sentimental, romantic flare, or a neurotic, needy quality. Remember that everyone exhibits elements of the three types to some extent and each of us has moments when romance dominates our psychology. But the C type is the most concerned by love relationships and by love in general. Sometimes their social or family conditioning brings on neurotic tendencies, but it {?} generally reflects the lower or negative side of this type.

C’s are prone to replace love with food. When a loving relationship is absent, food becomes disproportionately important. Food is also a symbolic form of love and it is a very concrete form of security. Sometimes people who feel inferior or unloved will gain weight to give themselves more presence around others. These types sometimes overeat out of a sense of need, which reflects greed for security in the form of food. Because the C metabolism is the least able to handle excessive eating, they often become fat.

C people are strong and consistent in their efforts, goals and relationships and make a good mate or employee. They like to be close to their friends and family members. They are not very open to change and take time to warm to others outside of their immediate group. Yet, they often have the deepest relationships of the three types.

Mentally they are a little slower then the other types – not less intelligent – but slower. They like to mull things over before coming to a conclusion about anything. They do not make rash decisions, nor can you push them into gear. In fact, the more you try to push a C person, the less he/she will move. They are best communicated with through love and understanding. A firm hand may be necessary with C types in order to get them to change bad habits or try new things. Even this must be done with love or care, becasue they can be very resistant and stubborn.

An Ayurvedic Success Story 

A woman came to me several months ago complaining of feeling bloated, heavy, and depressed. She worked in a high-pressure profession, and said she had gained eleven pounds during the last six stressful months. ‘Jenny’ had good reason to be concerned about her body because she owned and managed a company in the fashion industry and her appearance was part of her reputation. Several years ago, we had worked together on her diet and achieved good results. However, this last period of time had been especially demanding and stressful and she was feeling ‘out of sorts’; she was tired all the time and sleeping poorly. After reviewing her individual profile, I gave her nutritional advice and some natural herbal supplements to help her digestion.

Recently, she came back to my office for a follow-up visit, looking trim and relaxed. She was back to her normal weight and feeling good. It took Jenny nine weeks to lose those eleven pounds permanently, but she did it without dieting or taking pills. She was delighted.
How did she do it? What advice did I give her? I suggested simple changes in her lifestyle and diet to help her recover the balance she had lost in response to her recent environmental changes – high stress and heavy workload. In short, I followed the 5,000-year-old holistic medical system from India called Ayurveda.”

You will learn to make some simple but effective changes to your diet and daily routine. Regardless of your current state of health, you will feel and see a remarkable change in your body, your energy level, and your well-being – changes that will last a lifetime.

How was Jenny so successful? There are two reasons – most importantly she was motivated to change her health through natural means. This allowed her to follow the suggestions Atreya gave her. Secondly, she actually did what he suggested. Ayurveda is a system that requires your participation. If you don’t feel equipped to take control of your life and make some changes, then Ayurveda will be frustrating for you. Usually this program appeals to people precisely because it empowers you as a person.

For Jenny this meant making several small changes to her diet and daily routine to account for the increased stress at her job. She also took several herbs religiously. The combination of all of these factors – mental and physical – is what gave her success. Any one of the suggestions that Atreya made alone would not have done the trick, because Ayurveda focuses on all aspects of your life. The result is a completely integrated vision of health and living.

What kind of diet did Jenny follow? Well, Jenny has a classic Pitta profile, or constitution. For Jenny this meant she needed to avoid certain kinds of food that would aggravate both her metabolism and psychology. The dietary suggestions she had been following for her Pitta profile were no longer working, because the stresses in her environment had disturbed her Vata profile. Once she started following the diet, lifestyle, and herbal recommendations to calm her Vata profile, she was able to lose the weight again and feel back to her healthy self.

Do you wonder why I certain way of eating or supplements worked for you once, but isn’t giving you positive results now? Take our Dosha exam and find out how including the right herbs, changing your diet, implementing everyday practices will lead to back to balance!