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An Ayurvedic Introduction

Written by Nat Louis

Here at Scarlet, we trust the system of Ayurveda as a holistic health approach and embody the essence of this system in all we do in the spa. Ayurveda has been around for centuries (roughly 4000 years) and takes a natural and holistic approach to overall health of mind, body, and spirit with a special emphasis in prevention and reconnecting to one self’s intrinsic needs. Herbs and nutrition, massage and movement, breathing and meditation are used to bring the individual back into harmony.

Whilst Ayurveda may seem like an alien concept in the western world, it is really quite a simple approach that derives from nature and its cycles of life. The five elements: earth, water, fire, air and ether/space are prevalent in all aspects of nature – right on our doorstep we have dramatic cliffs (earth), vast ocean (water), warm sunshine (fire), light sea breeze (air) and a great expanse of sky or space around us (ether). These elements are also present in the structure of the human body – bones (earth), blood (water), digestive juices (fire), breath (air) and space between and inside the cells (ether). Combinations of these elements make up the 3 doshas: Kapha, Pitta and Vata.

  • Kapha is a combination of earth and water with the function of structure and lubrication
  • Pitta is a combination of water and fire with the function of transformation
  • Vata is a combination of air and ether with the function of movement

We each have all three doshas in our constitution; however, there may be one or two that are more present than the rest or even the three of them in equal proportions in our bodies (tridoshic). Each person’s constitution is unique. This means that different external (and internal) factors will either help us gain stability or cause an imbalance, leaving us susceptible to illness or disease in the mind and body. As the doshas are also present in the times of day, the seasons and the time in our life span, these times can exacerbate the imbalance or enhance the dosha’s main function.

  • Kapha childhood, spring and 6.00-10.00 AM & PM
  • Pitta 20s-50s, summer and 10.00-2.00 AM & PM
  • Vata 50s onwards, autumn going into winter and 2.00-6.00 AM & PM

Understanding the characteristics of each dosha will help you to see how they are present in these times.

  • Kapha Attributes: slow, heavy, cold, soft, stable or static. Characteristics: steady, loving, joyful, easy going
  • Pitta Attributes: hot, mobile, liquid, oily, sharp (penetrating). Characteristics: driven, motivated, determined, organised
  • Vata Attributes: mobile, clear, erratic, cold, subtle, dry. Characteristics: Creative, busy, dreamer, easily distracted

Ayurveda offers simple lifestyle changes to bring things back into harmony by pacifying the dosha that is out of balance. So, for example, if the heat in Pitta (fire) is out of balance you would look to cool it down; if the dry and cold aspect of Vata is out of balance you would look to hydrate and warm the system; with Kapha, if the heaviness and slowness are increased, you would look to bring lightness and intensity into the daily routine. These small tweaks can be introduced to daily or weekly routines and can enhance your health and wellbeing.

When you come for a treatment at Scarlet, we can find out together your current dosha imbalance and tailor your treatment to help balance any excesses. For a deeper lifestyle consultation, book our one-on-one ayurvedic consultations that provide holistic tips to help with any imbalances.