A Guide to Ayurveda

A little while back, Ayurveda was a huge mystery to me. When I started researching the practice, I became even more overwhelmed because its concepts are just so different than what I am used to. Using nature’s elements to describe how our bodies work just didn’t make a lot of sense to me. But that was until I listened to the most enlightening hour about what Ayurveda means, brilliantly explained by Dr. Deborah Kern. And now, I have to say, I am in love!

Ayurveda (Ayur = life, Veda = knowledge) is India’s traditional system of healing and health, which has been practiced for thousands of years. This type of preventive medicine explores life in all its layers. Health is about the harmony of the mind, body, and spirit, and not just individual symptoms. In Ayurveda, there are five elements that form the building blocks of all living things: space, air, fire, water, earth. In the body, each element represents a function; in the mind, it can be associated with personality traits. We can manifest these elements through the 3 doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Let’s further understand the doshas, shall we?

Each one of us has a little of the 3 doshas, but we have one or two predominant doshas. We are each unique and how much of each dosha manifests can vary from person to person. What we eat, how much sleep we get, stress, and even our environment can all affect the balance of our doshas. In Ayurveda, disease can manifest in the body when one’s doshas are out of balance.


Vata is made up of space and air and can be considered the leader, or king, of doshas. It’s in charge of the body’s movement, nervous system, and even elimination processes. Because of this, someone with a dominant Vata tends to be energetic, active, and creative.

When there’s too much Vata, the gift of being quick and full of energy can turn into lightheadedness, anxiety, or it can even interfere with sleep. This is why it’s important to include foods that are warm and nourishing, herbs that help calm the mind, and lifestyle tweaks like meditation and creating regular habits, all of which help bring back balance to Vata.


Pitta is made up of the elements fire and water. This dosha is in charge of transformation in the body, which includes energy production, metabolism, and digestion. Those with a dominant Pitta tend to be fiery in nature, sharp, driven, and well-articulated.

When there’s an imbalance in Pitta, their sharp and driven mind can turn critical, irritated, and judgmental. This imbalance can also be characterized by high body inflammation. Balance your inner fire with cooling foods and herbs, and the number one tip to bring balance to Pitta? Learning to let go!


Kapha is made up of the elements earth and water, and it’s in charge of the structure of the body and important for the formation of muscle, fat, and bones. Those who have a dominant Kapha have excellent stamina, are calm, wise, loyal, and loving.

When there’s an imbalance in Kapha, their calm nature can turn into excessive tiredness and sleepiness, even leading to depression. Their sturdy structure can also affect weight and one may experience weight gain and fluid retention.

Balance your Kapha with stimulating and warm foods and herbs, and don’t forget to stay active to help energize and bring back flow to the body and mind.

Learn more about Ayurveda and how you can bring back balance to your doshas in PureFormulas’ Guide to Ayurveda.