Wobblyogi Wednesday – Dueling Doshas

According to Ayurvedic tradition there are three different constitutions: Vatta, Pitta, Kapha. Dietary and lifestyle prescriptions depend on each individual’s classification. For example the guidelines for a pitta constitution (according to the Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies) is as follows…. “Pitta individuals should avoid sour, salty, and pungent substances, which aggravate bodily fire. However, sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes are beneficial for pittas.”

There are several online quizzes that might help you find your dosha. Most of you reading this most likely know yours already. And, also as you experienced, following the guidelines for each dosha can be involved and daunting. Now, imagine the complexity of a dual constitution.

I am always suspicious of categories. We are all more messy. It is important to remember ayurveda and all of yoga involves guidelines not rules, suggestions not prescriptions. In the end the responsibility to listen to my body, is my own. Right? But, what if my body and mind and saying different things, have opposing needs? According to one quiz, my mind is vatta and body, pitta. So…I’m both anxious and “hangry.” To soothe my pitta, I’m supposed to eat less spice. That is not going to happen. I crave spice. On the other hand, maybe with this knowledge, I might be more amenable to sour, bitter and sweet tastes. I digress. There is a lesson to be learned from dueling doshas.  Context and seasons, play a large role in dual-dosha constitutions, and any constitution. Context, context, context.

“For individuals with a dual constitution (two doshas approximately equal), a little extra care is needed, but you can figure it out. For example, a vata-pitta individual needs to avoid vata-increasing foods in the fall and winter (but without increasing pitta too much) and minimize pitta provoking foods in the summer (but without aggravating vata). Stated in positive terms, favor vata-balancing foods in the fall, pitta-pacifying foods in the summer.”

We may at times suffer dual, conflicting needs, particularly, when we have immediate health or emotional concerns. Our mind may be anxious and in need of an active practice while our body may be fatigued and unable. Conversely, our body may feel active and energetic while our mind craves stillness.  In such cases, recognizing the split needs alone can be reassuring. Always balancing our needs.

In the end, that is what holistic wellness is about, balancing. Not sequential attention. Dueling-doshas show us that constitutionally we are balancing internally, as well as with external conditions, all the time.

Active words like practicing and balancing used in the context of yoga is not mere terminology but a commitment to mindful awareness regardless of assumptions of success.

Do we ever know if we are balanced? Does it matter?

May you stay in ease as fragmented, open, aware, dueling and split,

Wobblyogi

 

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