Most people understand when I say that I am yoga teacher- since yoga has become a household word over the past few decades, but when I explain that I am an Ayurveda Yoga Specialist I get a lot of head scratching and puzzled looks.

And that's fair- until 4 years ago I hadn't heard of Ayurveda either. I also didn't realize the power of this ancient science until 2 years after that. So- what is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is a 5,000 year old science that originated in Mother India. Considered by many to be the 'Mother of Medicine', and Ayurveda literally translates to 'the science of life'. Ayurveda is a holistic approach developed by the ancient Rishis {Seers} who in turn taught this wisdom to their devoted students by passing down the tradition for thousands of years through spoken word before it was finally put down in writing. Ayurveda covers a wide array of medical practices from pediatrics, surgery, and general health and wellness.

The foundation of this science is based on the belief that if we keep the body in its state of natural balance disease will not manifest and we will find a vibrant life in body, mind, and consciousness. This balance, however, is different for every individual.

The Ayurveds of days gone by saw that just as the world around us is created of the 5 elements- earth, water, fire, air, ether {space} as are we humans that reside within nature. Being that we are all threads in the same cosmic tapestry it only makes sense that we contain the Big 5 in us, and all in a unique way!

To simplify and explain how the elements are at play within our bodies they have been broken down into three humours, or doshas. There is no English equivalent to what a dosha is so we still use the sanskrit terms: Kapha {earth & water}, Pitta {Fire & Water}, and Vata {Air & Ether}. Every person is born with a unique constitution, or mind-body type, that is comprised of these Doshas. We also find that different times of day and the seasons resonate with these doshas as well.

Many people have a single dominant dosha- we could say that an individual is Kapha, Pitta, or Vata in nature. Many more people have dual constitution, where two doshas are more dominate than the third- these we would describe as being Pitta-Kapha, Kapha-Pitta, Kapha-Vata, Vata-Kapha, Pitta-Vata, or Vata-Pitta. There is also the possibility that someone is tri-doshic, containing all three doshas at fairly equal amounts. So if we can determine someones constitution and put a label to them, how are we each unique? The way each of these doshas manifests in the body is quite different- your mind could be governed by one dosha, your body another, and your spirit another. Your outward features may be very Kapha in nature, while your inner workings are hot and heated like Pitta. Your bone structure could be that of Vata but your mind slow and steady such as Kapha. Even if a dosha seems barely recognizable in a person, we carry all three no matter what, for just as the earth cannot sustain without the sun or the wind, neither can we.

There is much to learn about this beautiful science that sees us as the whole vibrant sacred beings that we are. Ayurvedic practitioners use tools such as pulse, tongue and nail diagnosis, and inquiry to help patients recognize the constitution and any imbalance in the body. They may prescribe herbs, right diet for their constitution, yoga {Ayurveda's sister science}, and rest and relaxation techniques.

As an Ayurveda Yoga Specialist I use yoga as a tool to help students use their body to balance their minds and spirits- for if one is out of balance the others are soon to follow. Our bodies crave to be in balance, perfectly calibrated to its elemental makeup.

This post is meant to dip your toes in the vast pool of Ayurvedic wisdom, to help you begin to understand the fundamentals of the science and hopefully intrigue you to learn more. Even a small bit of knowledge about your Mind-Body Type can begin the healing process in a profound way. Please follow along in the coming month as I break down each dosha and mind-body type to help you understand Kapha, Pitta, and Vata a little bit better and how these beautiful elemental gifts help to create your own mind, bod, and soul.