Ayurveda is the longest standing system of medicine in the world. That fact alone shows there is truth and relevance to its principles. Ayurveda stands apart from other systems of medicine, because it values the recognition of a person as a unique individual having a unique prakruti or elemental balance.
The mass media tends to portray health and wellbeing with images of symmetrically perfect, sculpted (and photoshopped) models with slender or herculean builds. This often leads to thoughts like, “If I’m healthy, I should look like that”. Well, not exactly.
Ayurveda has outlined the doshas (vata, pitta and kapha) as a means to understanding the elemental makeup of your body and mind. Ayurveda emphasizes keeping your unique blueprint of those doshas in balance to maintain health and vitality. By recognizing the innate qualities that make each and every one of us unique, you can begin to accept and love yourself for who you are. One reason many suffer in today’s world is because of trying to be something they are not and frankly never will be.
Every dosha manifests and expresses in it’s own beautiful way. As an example, envision a kapha person. Kapha people are easily recognized by their large body frame and bone structure. Kapha is also associated with beauty. Kapha people tend to have very smooth, soft, supple skin that ages gracefully. Kapha people have more mass to their bodies because they are composed of more of the earth and water elements than vatas and pittas. This does not mean that kapha people are “overweight”, just that they naturally have more weight than others.
For example, a kapha person who is 6′ tall may have a very healthy weight at 180 pounds, whereas a vata person of the same height would most certainly be overweight at 180 pounds. How can you tell the difference? Kapha people carry weight beautifully and look very natural in their large frames, while vata people (who have thin, slight frames) look very unnatural with excess body weight and readily show this.
If a kapha person were to try and look like a model-thin vata person (and vice-versa), they would become very unhealthy in this process. The extra weight the kapha person has is essential to their physical and mental health and overall immunity. Losing excessive amounts of weight (although many kapha people are in need of losing a few pounds) would result in a drastic vata imbalance and most likely would lead to an unnatural gaunt-look, decreased immunity, exhaustion and even depression.
Kapha people are naturally resilient because of their renowned strength, stamina, support and structure, and thus are the essential backbone of society. They can tolerate stress like no other. While the vatas and pittas may be dreary in a difficult situation, the kapha person is joyful and jolly, cool and calm. When you need a hug or a shoulder to lean on, find a loving kapha person.
We all have qualities that make us wonderfully unique, and the world is a beautiful place because of this. While there will always be aspects of our lives to improve upon, recognizing and embracing who you are will help to bring out the best you have to offer. The tricky part can often be the very act of recognizing who you are.
Until the time when you become an absolutely perfect being, you will always live with some degree of imbalance or vikruti, that which is different from your inherent nature. This state of imbalance is what keeps the real you from shining forth. Thankfully, Ayurveda offers many solutions for relieving the unwanted manifestations of your imbalances and uncovering the real you, your blueprint nature or prakruti.
Embrace your uniqueness or in the words of Oscar Wilde, “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”