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Know thy Constitution

December 2nd, 2013 | 19 comments

by Morgan Webert

Recently, my Ayurvedic teacher Cate Stillman, made one of those so obvious it’s profound comments. She said, “The more we understand our constitution the more we can collaborate between what we want to do and what we’ve got to do it with.”

In the West we don’t often talk about our constitution, our intrinsic doshasnature or the basic material we’re made up of in relation to creating our life. And yet, we wouldn’t imagine building a house without knowing what kind of material was available or best to use.

Thinking like this is very practical and very logical, and that’s one reason I love Ayurveda; it encourages us to understand the simple material we’re made up of and learn how best to use it in the process of building our lives.

And make no mistake, we are building this life, one breath and choice at a time. With a greater understanding of ourselves, especially at the most simple and subtle levels, we make more informed choices and breaths that support us in creating a vibrant and happy life.

So what are we made of?! 

Ayurveda, the traditional medicine system of India, recognizes that every living thing is comprised of the five elements: ether, air, fire, water and earth. The system also observes that as these elements manifest into form they tend to group in three particular ways called the doshas.

The fist dosha is called Vata and is a combination of ether and air. The second dosha is Pitta and is a combination of fire and water. The third dosha is Kapha and is a combination of earth and water.

Because we contain all five elements within us, all three of the doshas also show up in everyone one of us, but each person will have their own unique ratio of these elements and doshas.

three-doshasThis unique combination is called our prakruti or constitution. Most people have one dominant dosha and this shows up in our personality, body type, digestion and lifestyle. Knowing what is most and least dominant in you is such an important step in knowing how to build a happy and healthy life.

To continue with the house metaphor, we wouldn’t build an open air Balinese thatched roof house in Alaska lest we freeze to death. Along the same lines, a person with mostly fire in their constitution will likely end up feeling irritable, over heated or get heart burn if they eat too much chili and spend too much time in the sun.

Building a life with balance

When we feel good, most likely we’re making choices that balance our constitution, and when we don’t feel good mostly likely some aspect of our life is causing an imbalance. The imbalances are called our vikruti and it’s just as important to identify how you’re out of whack or what’s easily tipped off balance in order to change or prevent it.

Over the next few weeks in class and in this blog we’ll dive deeper into the three doshas and how they show up in our body, mind and society.

In the mean time go take a test online to find out what your constitution is. Tell us what you found out and how it’s making you think about yourself differently or if it supports what you’ve known intuitively!

Here is a quick and accurate dosha test, should only take a few minutes, but there are a bunch out there so if you have the time try a few and you’ll get even more insight into what you’ve got to work with to make the life you want.

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19 people have commented
  1. That was great! I’m earth, I’m sure of it. I love the sun, earth and water and want to be outside ALL the time. I’ll take that test again.

    Xxxooo Mom

    Sent from my iPad

  2. It’s interesting that my grandparents and parents used to call a walk in the outdoors or just sitting, relaxing and consciously enjoying life a “daily constitutional.” Perhaps they were trying to subconsciously familiarize themselves with a natural urge to locate their pakruti.

    • That’s awesome Jim! I think the “daily constitutionals” really speaks to the fact that our intuition is always our natural urge toward balance, all we have to do is listen. Simple. Love it!

  3. Pitta for me. Surprised how spot on the traits describe me based on body shape, skin, eyes etc. My Vata is out of balance, and I was just complaining yesterday that there are just too many things to juggle around Christmas time.

    • Hey Michael, glad you found it accurate, I know you’re science mind is skeptical. I think a lot of people can relate to the Vata out of balance feeling! Remember, to help balance too much Vata (air and ether) try to stick to a regular schedule of eating, sleeping, and work. Also do deep exhale breathing, and work into your legs and hips in yoga to ground your energy.

  4. Hey Morgan! Love the blog, I took the test and I’m a Pitta. The quiz was so insightful and I enjoyed your explination in the post. “Shopping Style: Spends on luxury items” – I think that would refer to bikes and Lululemon 🙂

    • Hey Geneva! Yes I can totally see the Pitta in you, all that internal fire gives you the energy to go on amazing epic outdoor adventures…and shopping style, well can’t blame you 🙂 haha Great to hear from you!

  5. Ok, I just took this test again. And I am a Tri-Dosha. Which makes sense because I have a lot of energy, love to have a chat and love shopping for luxury items ( when the bank balance allows!). Morgan do you know if this would also explain my love for savoury food over sweet? hmmm. just a thought. I know I am feeling so much more balanced being a 2minute walk to the beach :). I love the water, the sun, the sand and I would absolutely love to see you here for a surf !! xo

    • Yes, walking on the beach is one of the best ways to get grounded, connected to the Earth element and balance out the flightiness that comes from too much air and ether elements (Vata). Would love to come have a stroll down the beach up your way soon!

    • Haha, yes things aren’t always as straight-forward. But wow tri-doshic is rare! Thats really interesting. Did you have a gut instinct on which one would be dominant before you took the test? Or do you feel like an even balance between the three doshas?And have you always felt that way since childhood? Glad you’re enjoying it!!

  6. ha! I did the test hoping to get an “easy/ straight forward answers,” and it turns out I’m a tri-doshic too! How interesting is that!?

    PS: loved the blog, Morgan! really well written, tks for sharing the knowledge 😉

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