Ayurveda: Playing with Doshas to Change your Mood

Megna Paula
2 min readJan 8, 2021
me stretching out with sun, trees, water — connected to all elements! (Washington DC)

We are first drawn to Ayurveda when looking for new/traditional insights into our holistic health, diet, yoga lifestyle, and depth of self-knowledge. Once we move through the beginning stages of shifting perspective from conventional habits, and learn the way our body-minds express natural elements of earth, water, fire, and air/ether, we can enjoy playing with our diet and lifestyle to alter/improve mood.

At their best, the doshas bring us these qualities:

Pitta (water/fire): ambition, drive, learning, powerful action

Vata (air/ether): creative thinking, cerebral energy, clarity, clairvoyance, dreaminess

Kapha (water/earth): heavy, ponderous thinking, love, greed, attachment (when is greed and attachment desirable? Perhaps in the business world of acquiring and accumulating money!)

When the doshas are off kilter, we experience:

Pitta: anger

Vata: confusion, anxiety

Kapha: depression

To best see and shift your mood, take time to connect with your current mood by first connecting to your breath. Seated, or in movement, turn your attention inwards to work your diaphragmatic breathing. This itself will uplift your energy and clarify your mind, creating a clear baseline to observe how you are feeling in the moment, and where. Do your best to differentiate between what you think and what you feel. Observe the feeling, the mood, the tone of the thoughts more than the content of the thoughts. Once you know what direction you would like to take your body-mind, you can enhance or lower the doshas accordingly:

To enhance:

Pitta: increase spicy, sour foods

Increase heat with strength work

Vata: increase airy, dry, crunchy snack foods

Increase movement and be light

Kapha: increase creamy, heavy, and dairy foods

Be sedentary

To decrease:

Pitta: have cool foods and drinks

Go into deep stretches with long holds

Vata: have root vegetables and warm broths, stews, soups

Stay still, in steady awareness

Kapha: increase light, bright, raw fruits and salads

Move more, ponder less

And above all, enjoy the elements of your life! Everything is in dynamic equilibrium — to be alive and aware of our inner rhythms elevates all that we do and can give to those around us.

For more writings on yoga philosophy, visit ConsciousandCurious.com

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