Ayurveda recognizes five elements as the fundamental building blocks of nature:

 Earth
 Water
 Fire
 Air
 Ether (Space)

Every substance contains all five of these elements. That said, in a given substance, one or two elements are typically predominant over the others.

 

The 3 Body Types

1. Sauda -- Energy that controls bodily functions associated with motion, including blood circulation, breathing, blinking, and your heartbeat.

 In balance: There are creativity and vitality.
 Out of balance: Can produce fear and anxiety.

2. Safra -- Energy that controls the body's metabolic systems, including digestion, absorption, nutrition, and your body's temperature.

 In balance: Leads to contentment and intelligence.
 Out of balance: Can cause ulcers and anger.

3. Balgham -- Energy that controls growth in the body. It supplies water to all body parts, moisturizes the skin, and maintains the immune system.

 In balance: Expressed as love and forgiveness.
 Out of balance: Can lead to insecurity and envy.

Each person has all three Doshas, but usually one or two dominate. Various Dosha proportions determine one's physiological and personality traits, as well as general likes and dislikes. For example, Vata types will prefer hot weather to cold and Kapha types are more likely to crave spicy foods than other types.

 
The Difference Between Constitutions and Imbalances

Knowing both your Ayurvedic constitution and your current state of balance is incredibly helpful. This knowledge will allow you to adjust the most basic components of your day—like how you exercise or when you eat—to better support your overall well-being. However, there are key differences between the doshas that comprise your constitutional makeup and the doshas that can be imbalanced within you.

 
Understanding Constitutions

As mentioned before, your constitution or Ayurvedic body type is established within you at conception and remains constant throughout your lifetime. It represents your natural state of equilibrium and your blueprint for perfect health. Your constitution influences your physiology, your likes and dislikes, your tendencies and habits, your mental and emotional character, and your vulnerabilities toward imbalance and disease. Therefore, learning how to manage your constitution can be truly enlightening.

 

Understanding Imbalances

Discovering your current state of balance will show you the present level of the doshas in your system. In contrast to one’s constitution, the current state of balance can and does change over time as we move through different climates, different seasons, and the various stages of life.

 A Sauda imbalance occurs when sauda is in excess. This can cause fear, anxiety, physical and emotional constriction, ungroundedness, poor circulation, constipation, dry skin, cracking joints, emaciation, insomnia, twitches, tremors, and other abnormal movements.

 A Safra imbalance occurs when safra is in excess. This can cause anger, jealousy, inflammation, excessive heat, heartburn, loose stools, migraines, rashes, bruising, bleeding disorders, sharp hunger, an overactive metabolism, and difficulty sleeping.

 A Balgham imbalance occurs when balgham is in excess. This can cause attachment, greed, resistance to change, lack of motivation, heaviness in the mind and body, excessive sleep, depression, a sluggish metabolism, congestion, water retention, hardening of the arteries, and the formation of masses and tumours.

 It is also possible for more than one to be out of balance at a given time, or for all three of them to be imbalanced.

 

Which One Should I Focus on Balancing?


Remember, if any of the three are out of balance (and for most of us, at least one of them is), your constitution will not tell you the entire story. Your current state of balance may actually be more important because it highlights which doshas you need to pacify in order to return to balance, and it can help you identify the most effective treatment strategies for your particular situation. There are, of course, some universals in Ayurveda: practices that are generally understood to be beneficial for all of us, regardless of constitution or current state of balance. But if you follow only general principles, you may inadvertently limit Ayurveda’s extraordinary ability to specifically support you and your changing needs.

 

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