Last weekend I went to the Ayurvedic Wellness Centre in Bondi for an Ayurvedic consultation.
It was like a having a check up with a GP except that instead of the doctor trying to find out what might be wrong with you, an Ayurvedic doctor wants to determine your ‘dosha’ or body type, which helps them understand why you may be experiencing certain types of symptoms or imbalances.
Instead of medication to fix a problem, Ayurveda turns to working with your dosha (via diet, lifestyle changes, stress reduction techniques, various types of treatments of herbal supplements) to reduce any symptoms and bring the body back into balance.
Think of your dosha as a kind of blueprint outlining your natural tendencies built into your system (one of my favourite books, Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra, gives a great introduction to ayurveda).
It’s great because even if you don’t have a certain health issue, knowing how you are constituted explains why you might get restless and unsettled with an irregular routine, cold weather and late nights (which is me). Or why a person gets hyperactive or nervy with one cup of weak coffee and others seem a-ok with three cups of espressos a day.
The consultation begins with a two page questionnaire asking general questions, such as your age and occupation, to health and lifestyle questions, such as the regularity of your bowl movements, exercise routine and how many cups of water you have a day. And then you get a one-on-one consult for one hour.
Dr Rafeena was my ayurvedic doctor for the day and told me that I was a vata dosha. Although there are three doshas (vata, pitta and kapha), Ayurvedia combines them in ten possible ways.
Here are some characteristics of the vata dosha body type:
– Tendency to worry or become anxious
– Can be full of energy but then wear themselves out
– Have irregular hunger and digestion
– Quick-moving, vibrant, friendly and imaginative when in balance
– Light build
– Sensitive to the cold, irregular routine and staying up late
To bring my vata dosha into balance, Dr Rafeena suggested I do some calming and stress reduction techniques – breathing exercises and meditation is great for vata types feeling a bit frazzled and all over the place.
She also gave me some dietary advice – nourishing warming foods are good, so cooked and steamed vegetables are better than raw salads as they’re easier to digest. And herbs and spices are great for vata types, so I should also incorporate fresh ginger, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon and cumin in my dishes. There’s a great post by Sarah Wilson about taming your vata here.
I’ve got one month before I go back to see Dr Rafeena but I can honestly say that knowing my dosha has made me more in tune with my body. So instead of pushing myself to do a 5 km run after work, if I feel like putting my feet up and reading a book instead, then that is a-ok with me.
The Ayurvedic Centre is at 1 Bondi Road, Bondi Junction. You don’t need to be ill for a consultation. If you are seeking a better pathway to a balanced body and mind it can be just as beneficial. Visit their website or like them on Facebook.
*Christine was a guest at The Ayurvedic Wellness Centre