About Body-Types (Doshas)
The first step in Ayurvedic medicine is to determine your body-type or constitution.
We view a person as a unique individual. Everything in this universe is made up of five great elements (mahabhutas) i.e. Akasha (space or ether, in lack of exact translation), Vata (Air), Agni (Fire or Heat), Jala (Water) and, Prithvi (Earth). Different combination of these elements are present in the food we eat and the environment we live in. The combination of these elements constitute Doshas or body constitution e.g. Ether and Air combines to form Vata: which governs all the movements in the body e.g. nerve impulses, circulation, respiration, elimination etc. Fire and Water form Pitta: which controls the metabolism. Water and Earth combine to form Kapha dosha: which is responsible for growth and structural build up of the body. The body-type is determined at the time of conception, therefore we are made up of unique proportions of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The ratio of Doshas vary in each individual, therefore making everyone unique. This body-type is the foundation of health in Ayurveda.
We must understand the concept of wholeness. This body is a complete unit, each organ is supporting the others, and the only way of providing nutrition to every system, organ, tissue and cell of this body is through the digestive system. This system must be given priority.
An Ayurvedic way of life is a long-term management of one’s life. We know that we are not going to stay here forever. Life is a passage between birth and death. We do not need Ayurveda to avoid death, we need an Ayurvedic way of life to make life pleasant, disease-free and long so we can attain dharma (to perform the obligations), artha (acquirement of wealth), kama (gratification of desire) and moksha (emancipation). These tools are available to be healthy and then do everything to maintain that state of health.