If you’ve seen my show A Model Guru, then you may have already figured out the diverse number of ways that the ancient medical system of Ayurveda can help many different people to restore balance to their bodies. On that show, I’ve helped people to overcome everything from psoriasis to back pain to hyperacidity in the stomach. Each of these ailments was the result of some sort of imbalance that was then treated with the use of herbs as medicine, dietary guidelines, and treatments that include the application of specialized oils.
But did you know that Ayurveda can help us to not only restore balance to our bodies, but to understand why we are the way we are as people?
Each of us reacts differently to moments of stress and incidents of conflict. Some of us might get irritated or angry, but some of us might just tune out and brood without saying anything at all. Others of us might become scattered and anxious and hide away until the storm has passed. The principles that form the basis of Ayurveda’s many modalities might help us to overcome something physical like psoriasis or hyperacidity, but they also show us why we’re inclined to be angry, scattered, or something else. It shows us why we act as we do.
Ayurvedic tradition teaches us how each of our bodies are a unique composition of the elements of fire, air, earth, water, and ether as determined by our two parents’ own elemental nature. These five elements are combined into three basic humors or doshas that help us to assign qualities to the body. An Ayurvedic practitioner makes a series of observations about a person to determine how these elements relate to each other, including anything from checking the patient’s pulse to investigating their tongue. With this information, they then determine the nature of the patient themselves. This determination helps them to make the recommendations they do to resolve their ailments.
And though this basic, elemental nature determines what herbs we should take and the foods we should eat, it also determines why we act the way we do—and why one person may react to stress in one way while another person reacts in a totally different way. Each reaction we have and each aspect of our personality is the result of a wholly unique and individual composition of the elements. And the three doshas that formulate the system we use to observe these elements? They are the three reasons why we behave as we do: the Vata dosha, the Pitta dosha, and the Kapha dosha.
You Change and Create Because of Your Vata Energy
Most of us might feel forgetful, anxious, or even fearful at any given moment in our lives. But some of us experience these types of feelings more than others. When considered in the physical sense, people who have a lot of this energy—Vata energy—might be prone to conditions associated with the airy, ethereal nature of this dosha: dryness of the skin, constipation, or more serious conditions like nervous disorders. These are various conditions that relate to movement, be it a lack of movement in the bowels or faulty movement in the nervous system.
But this airy movement also affects behaviors, such as too much movement in the mind from anxiety, or too frequent a movement from one endeavor to another. And while we may forget things and struggle with too many thoughts when our Vata energy is out of balance, we will thrive as a creative, dynamic individual when we ground this energy and nourish it as a gift.
You Heat Up and Achieve Because of Your Pitta Energy
When you eat something, you metabolize your food. In Ayurvedic tradition, this is represented by the fire and water elements, as if the food we eat enters our stomach like it was being inserted into a boiling pot. People with a lot of this heating energy known as Pitta energy are prone to overheating their bodies in the form of irritated skin, hyperacidity, and complaints of the liver. Excessive Pitta energy leads to an inflamed, burnt out body.
When someone is described as a “hothead,” it’s usually because they possess the irritable, fiery temperament of a person with a lot of this Pitta energy. Those of us with this constitutional nature are prone to heating up and getting angry in times of stress. But when we cool this energy off a bit, it will also will help us to be passionate, driven individuals who achieve many wonderful things.
You Nourish and Stabilize Because of Your Kapha Energy
Without our body, all of the metabolizing and movement would be for naught. Our body provides a container for who we are, and sturdier bodies make for sturdier lives. But if the earthy, watery elements that combine to make Kapha energy become excessive, our body that could be sturdy becomes overweight and even congested. This is how we get respiratory ailments like asthma and become obese.
An excess of Kapha energy also leads us to feel lethargic, disengaged, and passive aggressive. Those of us with a constitutional nature that lends itself to a lot of Kapha energy are prone to getting stuck—such as when we hoard too many things. But when we move this energy along, it will help us to be nourishing, grounding individuals who can provide stability to others.
Who we are and how we act will always be a reflection of our individual nature. @yogicameron (Click to Tweet!)
When we know why we do what we do, we can better overcome the difficult times and attract more of the appealing ones. And the extent to which that nature becomes an asset or a burden ultimately comes down to whether we choose to seek balance.
This begs the question: what will your choice be?
Yogi Cameron left the world of high fashion as a supermodel to pursue an ongoing study of Ayurveda and Yoga. He has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Today Show, Extra, E! Entertainment, and Martha, amongst others. The Guru in You, his first book, was published by HarperCollins in 2011 and his follow-up book The One Plan was published in 2013. Yogi has brought Yoga and meditation in Afghanistan as part of the reintegration program to prepare the country for troop withdrawal and has worked with young girls rescued from sex trafficking practices in Cambodia in coordination with the Somaly Mam Foundation. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook and his website.