I cheated, and actually started with my remedies last night.
1/2 tsp of beige powder before dinner, stirred into hot water. Had a bit of a kick – but actually quite tasty!
Dinner. Virtually EVERYTHING I had in the fridge had to be surrendered to the rest of the house…no tomatoes, cucumber, bananas, oranges, mango. No salmon, bread, peanut butter, marmite. No porridge, green tea, coffee, honey. Just to name a few…
So I went back to the shops and ended up having a rather delicious tofu stir-fry with whole grain basmati rice, peppers, garlic and spinach. Followed by…
1/2 tsp of a greenish powder. Not so tasty!
Then I crushed 3 tsp’s of coriander seeds in a petri dish, poured them into a glass of water, and placed it on the side table to soak over night.
Finished my day with 1 tsp of night remedy, to which the pressure at the bridge of my nose suddenly lifted, nasal passages bursting open. Made a right old mess, but ahhh, what a relief…even if it was only temporary.
Morning. Drain crushed seeds out of glass of water. Consume. So cooling and refreshing – need to pee!
Now I’m working my way through a 1 tsp of yellowish powder, 1 tsp of pinkish powder mix…and the insides of my mouth are burning, just a little bit. Something’s happening in my stomach. A deep, hot-tempered rumble…movement. I imagine I’ll have to go to the toilet again in a minute….
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So, the burning question….what is my dosha constitution?
First off, what is a dosha constitution? I view it as a kind of health/nutritional horoscope. Vata – air, Pitta – fire, Kapha – earth. We’re all born with either one of these, or two, or – I think very rarely – three in combination as our prominent dosha type- and that is our mental and physical constitution. It’s who we are, and doesn’t ever change. Then there’s other factors in our ever-fluctuating environments that play a role in all of it too. I could waffle on and not do any of this highly regarded, ancient system the justice it deserves…or you could (and I highly recommend you do) take a quick read of this overview:
The first step with all of this life-knowledge stuff, is to establish what your basic constitution is. I’ve had a bit of a nightmare with mine, and I guess the best advice I can give is to do some research. Read a good book, take some online tests to get an inkling of what you think you might be. What resonates? What do you read and feel in your stomach – yes – that’s me! That is so me! Then take more on-line tests, do some more reading, and if you decide that you do want to deepen your understanding then book yourself in for a consultation. They say you don’t need to prepare anything, but I would spend a couple of days paying attention to your daily routine. How well do you sleep, when do you wake up, how do you feel when you wake up? Do you go straight to the toilet, or have to drink a coffee first? When you get to the toilet, well, I suppose this isn’t something that we do normally either, but pay attention to that too. Like I said before, it’s better to get comfortable talking about your bowel movements and the likes, otherwise you might get a bit flummoxed and prudish, “Oh – I say! I don’t poo!” Which is blatantly untrue, so just put all that social etiquette to one side, and get on with it.
Think about what you eat, how regularly you eat, and what type of foods you fancy. Chocolate, crisps, or a spring roll? You can only choose one….what are you going to choose? I ummmed and ahhhed for a good few minutes…I LOVE chocolate, but generally I prefer savoury…and a spring roll – well that’s a pleasant surprise, and would fill me up. But how I enjoy a packet of monster munch…”You can only have one!” She nudged me towards making a decision. I went with the spring-roll.
Anyway, you’ll be answering all those types of questions, including the emotional stuff that I mentioned yesterday, and all the while she’s observing you…how you respond to things, what your body language is saying. The way your eyes dart around the room when you touch on a topic that’s sensitive to you, or your left hand clamps down on your right shoulder…unconsciously massaging it while you try to articulate an answer. God knows what else she or he will be paying attention to, but at the end of the consultation they’ll know what your constitution is. They probably knew before you got through your first sentence…
Just to be sure, they take your pulse. Breathe in deeply, breathe out. Breathe in deeply, breathe out. Ok. Now stick out your tongue.
I have a good tongue apparently!
She pauses, and you can’t help but feel the rise of anticipation…what am I? What am I?
For me it was particularly significant because this was my second consultation. Before my first one, I’d done some reading…not much, but enough to feel a resonance with Vata. Not physically perhaps, but in the way I feel and think and respond to things like stress and grief. So when I was told I was Pitta-Kapha it completely spun me out. I went away, spent sleepless night after sleepless night fretting and stressing about it…it was as disorienting as if I’d been told I wasn’t a Gemini afterall. Had been a Taurus all this time. Ok – I know some of you may scoff at the astronomy stuff…but the thing that’s important was that sense of identity. I went back and challenged. Having done more reading and self-observation it still felt wrong…
I mean there are parts of us that resonate with all the doshas. I have a Pitta-look. Blue eyes, reddish skin, freckles. I have some of the Kapha symptoms – suffer from congestion and have a tendency to comfort eat, but then my mind is Vata through and through. Difficulty sleeping, flitting from topic to topic…if I’m upset about something I become extremely anxious and highly-strung…not explosive like a Pitta, or reclusive like a Kapha…Anyway – you can see where some of the confusion comes in.
My constitution was reaffirmed as Pitta-Kapha, and I decided to sit with it for a while. Either this was a case of me being attached to something and needing to accept that and let go, or it was a case of learning to trust myself above and beyond what teachers or experts tell me.
I’ve been wrestling with that ever since. Which is where I think Matthew was such a wonderful fit for me as a teacher. He knows best…you know that. His experience, his integrity as a teacher…but does he? He wanted us to challenge, to have faith in our own convictions. I remember when he was helping me and Thea (my fellow less flexible than the rest of the group yogi) get into lotus. Groaning, and grunting, and cursing, we were part encouraging, part forcing our legs into position, when he suddenly said, “come out of it!” We released and he told us we had to listen to ourselves…know ourselves. If a teacher, even if its him, is pushing us into something and the pain is too much, or something doesn’t feel quite right – then you ALWAYS listen to yourself…above and beyond what teachers or experts tell you.
So. Here I am, second time round. Sitting on the sofa, waiting for the diagnosis….What am I? What am I?
Vata-Kapha, with a massive Pitta imbalance.
Initially – so, I’ve gone from a fiery-tempered fatty to an airy-fairy fatty…Brilliant! Really pleased its the fatty bit that’s remained consistent….
A bit later on, as I head towards the seafront for a walk- hmmm, isn’t that interesting…an air and earth polarity? Fatty isn’t so bad. It’s about being more caring and nurturing. Wanting to look after people. I do want both…to fly away and lose myself in the air, but have a home and settle down. I don’t get angry very often…I never have done, etc etc… Perhaps, for all this time, it wasn’t the Kapha I was resisting, but the Pitta…
When I headed back to the station, three hours later, Vata-Kapha was starting to feel right.
I’m going to sit with it for a while. Continue to read and learn, and self-observe. Stick to my remedies and diet plan for the next two weeks and see how it goes : )
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Here’s a ink to a fun quiz if you’re interested: http://www.whatsyourdosha.com/quiz/quiz.html
- Determine Your Ayurvedic Constitution. ~ Brian Leaf (elephantjournal.com)
- AAAAAAHHHyurveda revisited (lauranamaste.wordpress.com)