Black History Month Salute: 3 Women, 3 Doshas Part I
Ayurvedic medicine is one of the oldest healing traditions with texts dating back over 3,000 years. The principles of Ayurvedic healing are founded on balancing the energies of the five elements found in nature: earth, air, fire, water, ether. These energies govern all the functions of our bodies and all things.
In Ayurveda, there are three doshas vata, pitta and kapha to represent the balance of the elements. (There is more on this below!) Each person has a predominance of one dosha and often people are a mix of doshas.
According to Ayurveda, your constitution is inherited at birth but can go in and out of balance throughout your lifetime. In disease states, we often find an imbalance of these (hot/cold, hot/warm, cold/dry, cold/moist) qualities that can be overcome through complimentary dietary and lifestyle changes suited to one’s dosha.
This three part series is highlighting amazing African-American women representing each dosha in honor of black history month!
Vata: Element: Air + Ether
Kerry Washington, born January 31, 1977 in Bronx, New York City is an American actress, activist, producer and director best known for her role as Olivia Pope in the hit ABC TV series Scandal.
Her on-screen bad-ass politico persona as the woman that ‘handles it’ and her real-life commitment to addressing social problems through activism is why I’m highlighting this superstar vata for black history month.
Washington, is an advocate for gay rights and received the GLAAD Vanguard Award in 2015. She is also a member of V-Day, a global movement that raises awareness around violence against women and girls. If that’s not enough, Kerry Washington serves on the board of Voices of a People’s History, a non-profit arts and education group using education and performance to bring to life the material inspiring the book Voices of a People’s History of the United States.
Kerry Washington’s active life on and off-screen is full of movement and change and is central to vata’s essence. Vata gives and creates energy and is akin to the moving wind element in nature. Vata energy is associated with all of the moving aspects of the the body and mind.
Common Traits: Small frame, tall or petite, thin hair, cold and dry skin, irregular eating habits, irregular emotions and irregular lifestyle habits. As a result, digestive issues are common. Vata’s are more susceptible to illness, tendency to skip meals, and commonly suffer from insomnia. Vata’s are fidgety types that have trouble sitting still. These busy bees have active and creative minds and enjoy the adventures of traveling.
Balancing Herbs: Warming:Ginger (Zingiber officinale) and Garlic (Allium sativum) Moistening: Marshmallow(Althaea officinalis), Slippery Elm Bark(Ulmus rubra)
Nourishing Foods (Warm & Moist): Cooked grains, cooked root vegetables, fruits (except for astringent fruits like cranberries and drying fruits like apples) are great for vata’s.
Avoid: Stimulating and addictive substances like caffeine, sugar and tobacco
Aggravators: Stress, excessive exercise, poor sleep, loud noises, bright lights, raw foods
Trouble Signs: Dizziness, cracked skin, dry hair, constipation, cold extremities, and muscle spasms, racing and anxious mind
Lifestyle Tips: Relaxation is key. Vata’s tend to wear themselves out and are more susceptible to illnesses, so slow down and focus on self-care. Meditating in a hot and moist environment of a steam room is a great way for vata’s to slow down, unwind and recharge. The key to balancing out this energy is to establish routines even though it’s contrary to the vata’s natural sporadic inclinations!
Famous Vata’s:Janelle Monae, Lupita Nyong’o,Gabby Douglas, Josephine Baker.
Understanding the doshas can be complicated. What’s important to highlight is that like the three women I will feature for black history month we are all perfectly unique and one constitution is not better or more desirable than the other. Your dosha simply, is what it is. In this week’s example let’s celebrate African-American vata’s moving and shaking in the world.
I encourage you all to have fun learning more about your constitution and how to use these energetic principles to help your lives flourish. There are many free dosha tests available online that can help you determine your dosha or contact an experienced practitionerto help you get sorted. Stay tuned for my favorite African-American pitta she-roe coming up in Part II of this post.
What’s your Dosha? Who’s your favorite vata? Make sure to share your wellness tips according to your dosha in the comments!