What is Maharishi Ayurveda?

Maharishi Ayurveda is a refined understanding of the best Ayurvedic practices. Ayurveda is the world’s longest continually-practised medical science. Developed in India over 6,000 years ago, Ayurveda (which translates as “knowledge of life”), is a natural approach to creating balance and strengthening the body’s natural healing ability. Ayurveda is acknowledged by the World Health Organization and is growing in its global use as one of the most effective systems of natural health.

The sole purpose of these slides is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. If you have any acute or chronic health concerns, please consult a trained health professional.

How Does Maharishi Ayurveda Work?

Ayurveda holds that disease is primarily the result of imbalances and impurities that accumulate in the body over time. The speciality of Ayurveda is in diagnosing imbalances at an early stage, before symptoms of disease arise, eliminating those imbalances from the body and teaching each person how to live a healthy, balanced life, according to their unique mind-body makeup.

What are body types?

Ayurveda was the first system of medicine to recognize the concept of individual mind-body types. It holds that everyone is born with their own natural balance which influences all aspects of their life, including body structure, emotional makeup, and predisposition to illnesses.

Body types are determined by the doshas. According to Ayurveda, nature’s elements—earth, water, fire, air, and ether—are present within the mind and body. These mind-body elements, or doshas, are Vata (air/ether), Pitta (fire/water), and Kapha (earth/water). The three doshas influence everything, from your body type to your digestion, disposition, sleep, and so much more. Knowing your dosha makes it easy to find the best foods, exercise, and lifestyle practices to support your unique needs.

Click here to take a quiz to determine your body type

Qualities of Vata Dosha

Vata dosha is the Ayurvedic mind-body element associated with air. Vata governs bodily functions concerned with movement. Vata is especially involved in the movement of electrical activity up and down the nerves and therefore has a major function in the nervous system and brain. The flow of food through the digestive tract and circulatory system is also controlled by the function of Vata.

Vata in Balance

  • energetic and vivacious
  • learns easily
  • clear and alert mind
  • falls asleep easily at bedtime
  • balanced digestion and elimination
  • good circulation and even body temperature

Vata out of Balance

  • tired and/or fatigue
  • feelings of anxiousness or worry
  • spaced out and lack of focus
  • difficulty falling asleep
  • occasional constipation, gas, wind
  • can feel cold physically
  • poor circulation – cold hands and f

How to Keep Vata Dosha Balanced

  • Follow a Vata dosha-balancing diet.
  • Ensure you have some downtime every day.
  • Try not to skip meals. Instead, eat three warm, cooked meals per day at about the same time each day.
  • Avoid stimulants such as caffeine or alcohol, or staying up late watching TV and looking at electronic devices.
  • Avoid work that is stressful, especially in the evening hours, and make time for relaxing exercise, such as walks and yoga.
  • Bundle up in cool or cold, windy weather. Keep your extremities well protected and warm.

Qualities of Pita Dosha

Pitta dosha is the Ayurvedic mind-body element associated with fire and water. Pitta governs bodily functions concerned with heat, metabolism, and energy production. Pitta’s principal activities control the chemical transformation processes related to digestion and metabolism.

Pitta in Balance

  • perfectionist (type A personality)
  • strong intellect
  • strong digestion
  • radiant, glowing skin
  • sleeps through the night
  • inner peace & happiness

Pitta out of Balance

  • controlling, fiery personality
  • workaholic tendencies
  • overheated, excess stomach acid
  • skin rashes & acne
  • interrupted sleep
  • loose bowel movements

How to Keep Pitta Dosha Balanced

  • Follow a Pitta dosha-balancing diet
  • Keep cool. Avoid hot temperatures and food, including spicy meals.
  • Remember: Everything in moderation. Try to avoid overwork and bring balance to your daily routine.
  • Allow for uplifting leisure time every day.
  • Don’t skip meals (which inevitably leads to “hanger” for Pitta types). Eat three satisfying meals per day, at about the same time each day.

Qualities of Kapha Dosha

Kapha dosha is the Ayurvedic mind-body element associated with earth and water. It is slow, moist, cool, oily, heavy, smooth, and steady and embodies structure, lubrication, and stability in the mind and body.

Kapha in Balance

  • stable temperament
  • good long-term memory
  • healthy, robust physiology
  • strength & stamina
  • compassionate & affectionate
  • sound sleep

Kapha out of Balance

  • gains weight easily
  • sluggish digestion
  • prone to sinus & respiratory issues
  • lethargy
  • feelings of sadness
  • difficulty waking up
  • food cravings

How to Keep Kapha Dosha Balanced

  • Follow a Kapha dosha-balancing diet.
  • Enjoy a little bit of vigorous exercise every day.
  • Favor warm temperatures.
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
  • Seek out variety and new experiences.
  • Stay warm in cold, damp weather.

Lifestyle Tips for all Dosha Types

  • Be in bed by 10:00 pm and up by 6 am. These hours are when the body gets the deepest rest.
  • Eat at approximately the same time every day.
  • Don’t eat too quickly or too slowly.
  • Do not overeat. Eat to about 3/4 capacity.
  • Allow 3 – 6 hours between meals. Do not eat before the previous meal is properly digested.
  • Eat your main meal at noon, when your digestion is strongest, and have a lighter meal in the evening.
  • Get adequate exercise, but don’t strain.
  • Do not do strenuous activity or work before bed. Try to leave at least an hour between watching TV or spending time on a computer and going to bed.
  • Practice a stress-reduction technique like Transcendental Meditation®. Too much stress can negatively affect all body types.

Recipe 1: Digestive Lassi for Lunch

This lassi recipe, when taken at lunch, helps reduce gas and bloating. It is best not to take a lassi with the evening meal.

  • 1 cup room-temperature water
  • ¼ cup yogurt
  • 1 pinch ground ginger
  • 1 pinch ground cumin
  • 1 pinch ground coriander
  • 1 pinch salt

Mix well with a hand mixer or blender.

Recipe 2: Golden Glow Tonic for Healthy, Radiant Skin

  • 1 cup water
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Juice of one carrot
  • Sparkling water for topping up (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a glass jar and whisk until well combined. Pour into a glass until 3/4 full, and top the mixture with sparkling water.

Recipe 3: Soothing Lavender Bedtime Tea

Makes 1 cup of tea
1 cup hot water
2-4 teaspoons organic food-grade dried lavender buds
Bring water to a boil. Place lavender buds in a teapot or a sachet. Once the water has boiled, pour it over the lavender and steep it for about 10 minutes. Strain the lavender and pour it into your favourite mug to enjoy before bed.