Clueless, There's Something About Mary & Mean Girls:
Do you ever wonder what makes you unique? What sets you apart from those around you? We’ve spent a lot of time pondering this. Well, in Ayurveda, the doshas are responsible for all our differences. Just as you are never one thing–mother, business-owner, scientist, you name it!–you are never just one dosha. Each person is a special mix of the five elements that combine to create everything distinctive about you. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves… Let’s dive into the basics of doshas.
There are three doshas that are formed from the five elements: earth, space, fire, water, and air. The doshas are the bio-energies of the universe, to which all physical and mental processes are tied. When we make decisions that stray from our true nature, our dosha is effected–these decisions can range anywhere from drinking a bit more wine on the weeknights to working out more. Your dosha is dynamic and when thrown out of balance, it can lead to a disruption in your physical and mental wellbeing–just making you feel off. Ayurveda focuses on balancing the doshas so your body and mind are in perfect harmony.
Doshas can be hard to envision, especially if you’re new to Ayurvedic concepts. What has proved helpful in the past are points of comparison. To explain the traits of each dosha, we’ve enlisted some of our favorite characters from the late 90s and early 2000s cinema aka The Golden Age:
Kapha: Earth and Water
The characteristics of Kaphas are cold, moist, stable, and heavy, which carry over into their mental and physical characteristics. Kaphas are grounded with a calm and loving demeanor, but when the dosha is out of balance, this can lead to issues such as obesity, congestion, lethargy, and depression. We all love the movie Clueless, right? Think of the Kapha as Tai: loveable, slow-moving, but she can be a bit of a downer. Cue, “That was way harsh, Tai.” To balance this dosha, it is important to remember its opposite qualities: drying, stimulating and expression, and engage in activities that promote these. Take Tai out for a walk, or an epic 90s makeover, to get them motivated!
Vata: Air and Space
To know a Vata is to never be able to keep up with one. They are always on the move, from one thing to the next. Remember the 90s classic movie There’s Something About Mary? Mary’s a Vata through and through. She’s dynamic, expressive, fun...I mean, there’s just something about her, right? Vatas are cold, dry, mobile and light. They are active, creative and excellent communicators, but when the dosha is out of balance Vata individuals can experience anxiety, dry skin, and (TMI, but true!) constipation. Sorry, Mary. To balance Vatas, think of grounding, warming, and routine. Get them on a schedule they can stick to. Oh, and don’t keep them up too late! They have enough going on as is.
Pitta: Fire and Water
If you tend to take charge of any situation, you’re a Pitta. Translating to “that which cooks,” Pitta’s characteristics are hot, dry, unstable, and light. Pittas are courageous, intellectual, and joyful, but when not in balance they can display anger, inflammation, heartburn, ulcers, and fever. Ever seen Mean Girls? Regina George is your Pitta. She’s the leader of the pack, always plotting and devising new ways of social torture. As you can deduce, her dosha is seriously out of whack, but accurate nonetheless. All Regina George needed was some meditation, a walk in nature, and obviously cheese fries.