From the moment I discovered Ayurveda, I was captivated by its principles and teachings. In fact, I was so taken with it that I immediately signed up for an in-depth course to learn more. Eager to explore the subject further before my course began, I purchased several books on Ayurveda, which I found to be both fascinating and enlightening.
Most Ayurvedic books include a dosha questionnaire, a series of questions designed to help you determine your predominant dosha, or energy type. After completing a few of these questionnaires, I discovered that my predominant dosha was Kapha. I learned that the idea behind Ayurveda is to follow guidelines for the correct diet and lifestyle according to your dosha. As a Kapha individual, for example, I should eat dry, light foods, fast regularly, and add some spice to my meals. I should wake up before 6 am, engage in high-intensity sports, and avoid napping during the day. These guidelines sounded appealing and aligned with my natural inclinations, so I decided to implement them immediately.
At first, I felt great, but after just a few days, I began to experience some issues. I felt extremely hungry, even after eating a substantial meal. I noticed that I was becoming argumentative and irritable, which was unusual for me as a Kapha individual. Although I was in good physical shape, I realized I was losing weight even though I seemed to be eating more. After giving it some time to see if things would settle down, I had to abandon the diet and try to understand what was happening. While I felt better after returning to my previous diet, I still did not feel entirely like myself.
Once my course began, I was determined to understand what had gone wrong with my Ayurvedic diet. I began to doubt whether my dosha was correct, even though it had seemed so clear during the questionnaires. I even started to question whether Ayurveda was the right approach for me. It wasn't long before I found the answers I was seeking. While Kapha was my predominant dosha, I was already well-balanced in that area, and if anything, I had too much Vata and Pitta in me already. The Kapha-pacifying diet I had been following had pushed my Pitta into extremely high levels, which was not right for me at all.
In Ayurveda, a good practitioner will not merely assess your dosha but also look for any imbalances you may have. They will ask questions about your symptoms, digestion, eating habits, and current diet to identify areas of imbalance and create a personalized plan to restore balance.
While it is possible to attempt to diagnose and treat yourself using Ayurveda, there are several factors that can make this difficult. For example, it is not always clear in the books that it is essential to treat imbalances rather than doshas, which can lead to misinterpretation. Additionally, most individuals struggle to understand their dosha and imbalance and may often misdiagnose themselves. It is much easier to understand someone else's imbalance than your own. Moreover, it is much harder to get the correct answers out of oneself, as we tend to overcomplicate matters when it comes to introspection. A skilled practitioner knows precisely which questions to ask to elicit the most revealing answers.
Diagnosing oneself is not an easy task since our predominant dosha is our constitution and not everyone lives an entirely authentic life. Many people have strayed from their constitutional dosha and are no longer in tune with it, which may explain why some individuals feel like they have lost themselves along the way in life.