For all our meditation and yoga lovers – you may want to consider introducing yoga’s sister practice into the equation: Ayurveda. Otherwise known as the “Science of Life.”

Ayurveda has been around for more than 5,000 years and starts with the premise that everything in the Universe is made up of the five elements: air, space, fire, water, and earth.

In India, Ayurveda and yoga are practiced hand in hand, each one supporting the other. So much so, it would be unheard of to practice yoga without Ayurveda – like wearing your left shoe without your right one!

From these elements come our three doshas – or our mind and body types – which are called Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

Because we have all five of the elements in our physiology, we each have all three of the doshas, too, just in different proportions. Our individual mix of elements is unique to us, like our fingerprint.

Typically, one of these three combinations will express itself most strongly, and that is the one that we call our dosha. When we know our dosha, then we understand more about ourselves, and how to best take care of ourselves. The idea is that when we are in balance, then we are at our healthiest and happiest.

The three doshas can be defined as follows:

1. Vatas: Made up of Air and Space

People who are Vata dominant typically look long and lean. Celebrities who are Vata types include Jim Carrey, Uma Thurman, and Will Smith.

Vata types are very creative – think Quentin Tarantino and Steven Spielberg. In fact, you’ll find lots of Vata types in the entertainment business as they thrive in creative careers

However, Vatas tend to get cold easily, so they need to keep their environment warm, and as they’re made up of air and space, they have a difficult time traveling and tend to get nauseous. To help prevent this, they should sip warm ginger tea on the plane that is sweetened with a little brown sugar.

Vatas also have sensitive digestive systems, so should eat warm, cooked foods. As they don’t have much of a reserve in which to store their energy, they need to get lots of sleep and keep to a steady routine. They shouldn’t overdo it mentally or physically – otherwise, they’ll get worn out.

Exercise like yoga, walking, and dancing is good for Vatas. However, they tend to get bored easily as they have a short attention span. Many times what looks like Attention Deficit Disorder is really just a Vata who is out of balance.

2. Pittas: Made up of Fire and Water

Pitta types are more muscular or athletic in their body type. They are highly intelligent and natural leaders. Because of the fire, you often see a redness to Pittas hair or skin. Pitta celebrities include Donald Trump, Madonna, and Brad Pitt. Many professional athletes and politicians are Pittas, as they excel in those fields.

Because of all the fire, Pitta heats up quickly. This can manifest as hot in temperature or hot in anger. Pittas need to stay cool to be in balance and at their best. They have a strong digestive fire, so they can eat raw foods and cool foods without causing digestive problems. However, they need to avoid foods that are spicy, as this gives them too much fire.

Cooling foods like mint, cucumber, and coconut can be great for Pittas. Pittas are good business people, but they can be workaholics – so they need to make sure they get enough fun and play in their lives to balance out their intensity. They tend to like competitive sports.

3. Kaphas: Made up of Water and Earth

Kaphas are mellow, easy going, friendly and sweet. Physically they can look a little heavy. They tend to have dark, thick hair and big eyes and lips. Kaphas are generally beautiful – think George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, and Beyoncé.

They have soft skin, and long eyelashes or thick eyebrows. Kaphas are very loving, and they made good teachers, parents, and doctors. They want to help people, and they make loyal friends.

To stay in balance, Kaphas need to exercise and socialize. They should be running, weightlifting and breaking a sweat every day. When out of balance, Kaphas can get depressed and lethargic. They often need motivating.

Spicy foods are good for Kaphas. However foods they need to avoid include red meat, dairy products, and fried foods. But Kaphas have a sweet tooth, and they love to eat, so keeping them out of the kitchen is a chore!

By learning more about which type of dosha we are, we’re able to understand the needs of our mind and body better.

If you’ve adopted Ayurveda into your daily practice, we’d love to hear about some of the results you’ve experienced in the comments section below.

P.S. Do you practice yoga? Are you struggling to build a yoga practice that you can stick to?


Ayurveda expert Lissa Coffey is the renowned authority on Ayurveda and relationships. Her best-selling book What's Your Dosha, Baby? Discover the Vedic way for Compatibility in Life and Love is the only book ever published on Ayurveda and relationships, and has been translated into five languages.