Ayurveda can help you deal with depression and anxiety

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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Ayurveda is an ancient holistic system of medicine that is more than just a lifestyle medicine. It teaches a person to lead a healthy life by being more in sync with the internal and external environment. And your health, even, your personality is highly dependent on the balance of doshas in your body.

For Ayurveda beginners, who do not know what doshas are, these are a combination of three elements which are known as:

  1. Vata (air and space)

Vata is defined by its flowing nature. It manifests creativity and energy.

2. Kapha (water and earth)

Kapha comprises the qualities of earth and water. It is associated with substance and strength.

3. Pitta (fire and earth)

Pitta dosha is dominated by the fire element, symbolising strength, intensity and irritability.

Ayurveda has an answer for everything, be it the body, mind, or soul. In the last two years since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world, mental health has also been at the forefront of discussions. People have been battling stress, anxiety, and depression. Ayurveda can help us assess our mental issues better by understanding our doshas.

Namita Pipariya, an Ayurveda expert and wellness coach spoke to HealthShots about how Ayurveda can play a crucial role in understanding ourselves better.

“Not many know about it, but Ayurveda can help you manage and improve your mental health. The most important thing in Ayurveda is that it may help you understand yourself better through an assessment process called the ‘dosha’ quiz or your ‘prakriti’ assessment. By this, you can understand your core nature, your constitution.”

Mental Health
Ayurveda is more than lifestyle medicine, it can help you assess your personality better! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Emphasising on the need to understand our doshas better, Pipariya says “Once you have a good understanding of what your nature is, you can have greater clarity as well as empathy towards yourself, your traits, your habits, your personality, and even some of your propensities that you tend develop in your nature.”

How do doshas shape our personalities?

Diving deep into the subject of doshas and their effect on our core personalities, Pipariya says, “For instance, if someone has a very strong vata dominance, there is a likelihood that they will be drawn to the creative arts. It could be music, it could be arts or public speaking or anything that requires creativity. A creative person is often governed by the vata because it deals with our mind and our nervous system.

How can doshas interfere with our personalities?

Pipariya says, “Doshas do good, but there’s also the other side of the coin. For example, a typical vata person is creative but will like to multitask because vata stands for the wind. Wind likes to spread and disperse. So, a bigger challenge for a core vata person is that they will be very creative but they will find it very difficult to concentrate on a project. If you’re writing a book, you will move on to a piece of art rather than finishing the book first because vata gets distracted easily. This lack of concentration could be a source of stress.”

mental health
Ayurveda is more than lifestyle medicine, it can help you assess your personality better! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

How to understand our doshas for an overall benefit?

Underlining the fact that doshas can shape your personalities and there’s a way how you can turn that around, Pipariya says, “Your mental disorders and issues can be treated by enhancing the other doshas. In case of a vata dominant person, enhancing kapha dosha can help them take their projects to closure. This will give their creativity a framework within which it can flourish. Likewise, pitta-dominated people tend to go too deep into a particular subject. But if they enhance their kapha and vata, it may help them execute and come up with an output related to that subject rather than becoming theoretical.

In terms of doshas, vata dosha does well with hatha yoga and restorative yoga. Pitta dosha does fine with restorative and hatha yoga and kapha dosha can be enhanced with vinyasa and hatha yoga. Although this is indicative because depending on the season, climate and your life situation, the interplay of doshas may change. For instance, in one month kapha may be higher for you, while in another, it may be pitta.

Now this must have made you understand that Ayurveda is also an excellent tool for self awareness. It can make you understand yourself better.

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