Ayurveda is the Science of Life

Ayurveda is a comprehensive natural healing system that includes mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. The term Ayurveda is made from two Sanskrit words, ayur meaning life and longevity, and veda meaning wisdom, science, and knowledge. Ayurveda translates to  “the science/knowledge of life/longevity.”

Ayurveda is the traditional medicine of India. Its roots go back over five thousand years. Often referred to as the “mother of all healing,” Ayurveda may be the oldest health care system in the world. It is not only a medical system, but also a framework for living a healthy life with a peaceful mind.

Ayurveda works wonders for both chronic and acute imbalances because it addresses the root cause of the problem, not just the symptoms. Ayurveda also gives us guidance on how to live day-to-day, in sound health, with a focus on prevention. Since Ayurveda is based in nature, its treatment methods aim to restore balance naturally through an individualized approach to:

  • Dietary Changes
  • Lifestyle Modifications
  • Herbal Medicine
  • Yogic Practices, Including Asana (physical postures), Pranayama (Breath Techniques), and Meditation
  • Cleansing Practices, such as Panchakarma

Working with the principles of Ayurveda is fairly simple, once you understand the basics. One lovely aspect about Ayurveda is that with a little knowledge you can accomplish a lot. However, one difference between Ayurveda and other systems of medicine is that YOU have to take an active role in your health.

Ayurveda consultations are available at our office in Louisville, Colorado (servicing the Boulder and Denver metro areas), on-line via video conferencing/Skype and phone for those unable to come to our office.

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The Three Doshas

Ayurveda is based upon five basic elemental principles that comprise our physical universe: earth (solid matter), water (liquid matter), fire (that which transforms solid, liquid and gas), air (gaseous matter) and space (the container for the other four elements). These elements combine in different ways to produce the three “doshas” called Vata, Pitta and Kapha (VPK).

Each of us is born with out own unique combination of the doshas, called “prakruti“. Your prakruti is the genetic predisposition that, throughout life, governs your inherent strengths, weaknesses, characteristics, and tendencies. It is determined at the moment of conception from your parents’ combination of the three doshas.

After understanding your prakruti, it is essential to look at your current changeable state of health, called “vikruti.” Your vikruti is how you have been feeling recently and is often different than your prakruti. Knowing your vikruti shows you where to focus in order to bring yourself back into balance.

Dosha Self-Assessment

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How To Balance Your Doshas

The dosha self-assessment can help you understand the ratios of doshas in your prakruti and vikruti. If your prakruti and vikruti are about the same, then you would follow a program (diet, lifestyle, etc.) for your strongest dosha. For example, if your vikruti shows Vata higher than in your prakruti, then you would follow a Vata reducing program, which would include following a diet and lifestyle to balance Vata dosha.

Vata is balanced by the following basic lifestyle habits:

  1. Keeping a regular routine for eating, sleeping, working, and leisure time
  2. Staying warm and calm
  3. Receiving plenty of rest and going to bed early
  4. Favoring soothing music
  5. Choosing warm colors for your clothing and environment, such as earth colors, pastels, browns, and warm yellows

Vata is also balanced by the following dietary guidelines:

  1. Eating ample amounts of warm and moist foods, such as porridges and stews
  2. Using mild spices such as cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, basil, and oregano
  3. Generously eating healthy fats and oils such as ghee, sesame oil, and avocado
  4. Avoiding cold, frozen, and raw foods

Pitta is balanced by the following basic lifestyle habits:

  1. Practicing moderation in all endeavors
  2. Trying not to create unnecessary pressures and stress
  3. Avoiding exposure to excessive heat, such as in saunas or being outside in the heat of the day
  4. Practicing soothing yoga and meditation and exercise during the cooler times of day
  5. Choosing cool colors for your clothing and environment, such as white, green, blue, and silver

Pitta is also balanced by the following dietary guidelines:

  1. Eating cool, soothing foods, such as cucumber, coconut, and melons
  2. Favoring cooling spices such as cilantro, fennel, coriander, and mint
  3. Using olive, coconut, and sunflower oils
  4. Avoiding hot, spicy, salty, oily, and sour foods

Kapha is balanced by the following basic lifestyle habits:

  1. Focusing on stimulation and invigoration
  2. Varying your routine
  3. Keeping active and getting plenty of exercise
  4. Staying warm and avoiding dampness
  5. Favoring warm and bright colors for your clothing and environment, such as yellow, orange, and red

Kapha is also balanced by the following dietary guidelines:

  1. Generously using spices, such as ginger, pepper, and mustard
  2. Using small amounts of extra virgin olive oil and sunflower oil
  3. Minimizing intake of dairy and wheat, and heavy, oily, and fatty foods; using small amounts of low-fat, non-fat, or goat dairy products
  4. Drinking hot ginger tea or other spiced tea with meals and in between meals to stimulate digestion

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Ayurveda dosha self-assessment

For this exercise, go through the Ayurveda dosha chart two times. The first time, circle your choices based on what has been most consistent for the majority of your life (your prakruti). Then go back with a different-colored pen and circle choices that reflect how you feel right now (your vikruti).

If more than one quality is applicable, circle all that apply. It helps to be as honest as possible or have someone close to you fill out the chart for you. Remember that your goal is to recognize how the characteristics of each dosha express themselves in you.

Identifying your body type allows you to choose an appropriate diet and lifestyle to nurture your unique nature, ward off future imbalance, and prevent disease.

When you finish, add up the numbers of circles from each column and write the totals in the spaces indicated.




Hair dry, thin, dark, frizzy straight, fine, reddish, oily oily, wavy, thick, blond, black or dark brown
Eyes small, dry, brown, gray, black, nervous almond shaped, hazel, penetrating, green, light brown, sensitive to light big, thick eyelashes, blue, black, dark brown, calm
Nails dry, ridged, break easily clear, well formed, pink, lustrous square, white, even, thick
Lips black/brown color, dry, cracked red, yellowish, inflamed oily, smooth, pale, whitish
Body frame thin, very tall or very short, irregular medium, proportionate broad, heavy, evenly proportioned
Skin dry, rough, tans easily, cool, dark warm, light, reddish, oily, sunburns easily cool, oily, tans easily, pale, white
Joints cracking, cold moderately sized, inflamed lubricated, large
Teeth big, thin gums, stick out tender gums, medium size, soft strong gums, healthy, white
Weight gain hard to gain, easy to lose easy to gain, easy to lose easy to gain, hard to lose
Appetite variable, scanty good, intense consistent
Thirst variable excessive scanty
Elimination dry, hard, constipated soft, oily, loose thick, heavy, slow
Stamina poor, exertive moderate, driven excellent but lethargic
Sweat scanty profuse moderate
Sleep interrupted, variable moderate, light deep, long
Temperament perceptive, indecisive, nervous, unpredictable, intelligent, successful, irritable, aggressive, jealous stable, calm, attached, stubborn, greedy
Memory learns quickly, forgets quickly learns quickly, forgets slowly learns slowly, forgets slowly
Speech talkative, fast, erratic decisive, articulate slow, cautious
Dreams flying, jumping, running fiery, intense, violent watery, swimming, romantic
Sexuality cold, variable hot, intense warm, enduring
Financial poor, spends on trifles spends money on luxuries rich, saves money well


Lifelong (Prakruti) Vata_____ Pitta_____ Kapha_____
Current (Vikruti) Vata_____ Pitta_____ Kapha_____

Questions or Comments? Want a professional opinion on your Ayurvedic constitution?

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