Vata, Pitta, Kapha—The Lifestyle Changes You Should Make, According To Your Doshas

Which one are you?

Indian Aloo Gobi dish with potato, cauliflower and spices on the textured grunge background

Borrowing from cultures in the Far East, brands and folk alike are taking ancient wisdom from Ayurveda and applying it to modern day beauty and wellness.
Indeed, celebs (looking at you Gwyneth), influencers, health experts and your next door neighbour are all going cray-cray over the Ayurvedic-everything trend, and it’s no wonder why.
“Ayurveda is the science of life—‘Ayur’ meaning life and ‘Veda’ meaning knowledge. Ayurveda gives us the wisdom to balance the body, mind and spirit,” explains Mairead McCorry, Ayurvedic Practitioner at Willow Urban Retreat.
There are three main doshas:

  • Vata is the combination of space and air elements
  • Pitta is the combination of fire and water elements
  • Kapha is the combination of water and earth elements

“We all have a unique combination of the doshas in our body-mind and Ayurveda gives us the wisdom to apply specific dietary and lifestyle advice to our unique constitution.”
To get an accurate assessment of your doshic constitution, McCorry suggests consulting an Ayurvedic Practitioner who will use Ayurvedic diagnosi (including pulse, tongue and eye assessments and an in depth assessment of your overall health, any imbalances) and offer dietary, herbal, treatment and lifestyle advice. Alternatively, you can take an online quiz—and there are plenty out there!

Image: iStock

Knowing your doshas

According to McCorry, once you know what your primary doshas are, you can start to make immediate shifts to bring them back into balance.


Qualities: The qualities of Vata are; light, dry, subtle, cold and mobile.
Foods to eat: Dry, light and cold foods will also have the effect of increasing Vata in the body-mind. Foods to favour are warm, cooked and slightly oily—make sure the
oils are good oils such as ghee, coconut and olive oil (use olive oil uncooked as a dressing).
Activities: Excess, scattered and multi-tasking activity can increase Vata and a peaceful and calm environment can help to balance Vata. Calming and centring activities such as breathing techniques and mediation are excellent for balancing Vata dosha.
Beauty Ritual: A daily self massage (abhyunga) is amazing for balancing Vata dosha. The black sesame oil has a nourishing and calming effect on the central nervous system and sensory neurons located on our skin. By practicing self massage we are able to soothe, create softness and connect to ourselves by offering love and awareness with each stroke of our abhyunga.


Qualities: The qualities of Pitta are oily, sharp, hot, light, spreading and liquid. This means that foods and lifestyle that contain these qualities will increase Pitta. As Pitta is
hot, a hot day in summer will cause Pitta to increase. Over working, rushing, over committing and over achieving will all imbalance Pitta and can lead to physical and mental burn out. By surrendering and coming back to the heart we balance Pitta.
Foods to eat: Oily, light and hot (pungent) foods will also have the effect of increasing Pitta in the body-mind. Foods to favour are fresh and cooling foods—steamed/lightly sautéed in winter. Pitta types tolerate raw diets in comparison to the other doshas due to their strong digestive agni.
Activities: Daily meditation is excellent for Pitta and cooling yoga postures such as moon salutation.
Beauty Ritual: Rose essential oil is amazing for balancing sadhaka Pitta in the heart and mind. Apply a couple of drops in a bath, with rose petals and Himalayan salt and let any stress drift away! Kapha: The qualities of Kapha are; unctuous, cool, heavy, slow, smooth, soft and stable.


Qualities: The qualities of Kapha are; unctuous, cool, heavy, slow, smooth, soft and stable. The season of spring on a wet and cool day will increase Kapha dosha in the body-mind.
Foods to eat: Eating ice cream which is heavy, cold and unctuous at night in winter will increase Kapha and you may wake up with congestion and increase weight. Foods to favour are warming, light and freshly cooked foods to balance the Kapha body-mind. Kapha types should favour spices and pungency- to stimulate the system and increase digestion and metabolism.
Activities: Regular activity is the best medicine for Kapha types.
Beauty Ritual: Kapha types need more stimulating treatments such as garshana-massage with silk gloves that moves the lymph and increases circulation and heat in the body-mind.

Streamline your beauty routine:

Just like many skincare brands formulate products for dry, oily, or combination skin, the Ayurvedic tradition follows suit. There’s balancing ingredients for Pitta, moisturising ingredients for Vata, and absorbing ingredients for Kapha.
If exotic ingredients like neem, cardamom, sunflower, coconut, sage, mint, lavender and turmeric (lattes) float your boat, then this slew of Ayurvedic-inspired beauty elixirs will undoubtedly keep those doshas sailing smoothly:


Shop here.


Shop here.


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Kristina Ioannou is a journalist, beauty editor and head honcho of social media, public relations and copywriting agency We Are Eden. When she’s not sniffing out her next story or helping brands + businesses kick ass at their own game, you’ll find her satisfying her Pilates addiction, podcast-bingeing, planning her next adventure abroad and spending way too much on smashed avo. Party trick: she can rap the entire lyrics of 2pac Changes without taking a breath.

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