Find Your Unique Body Type the Key to Self-Health by Jim Montrose, Ayurvedic Health Advisor

Unique Body TypeIn the 6000 year plus science of Ayurveda, a person’s dosha or unique body type truly is the key to Self-Health. A symptom is simply a signal that you are out of balance with your natural nature. Once you have identified your dosha you can understand the bodies natural nature and learn to keep in balance with your nature through simple self-care procedures that restore health and happiness when we temporarily slip out of balance.  Read on to identify your own nature, your Dosha; learn what it means to you and how it will help you detect the beginnings of illness when a small imbalance has occurred; and take the proper self-care actions to have great health and longevity.

In Ayurveda, everything is composed of the five elements (space, air, fire, water and earth) including your unique body type. The relative percentage of the energetic importance of each element determines your dosha or constitution your unique body type . Each person has all five elements and all three doshas but in different degrees which determines your unique composition and nature.

Space    Air          Fire        Water   Earth

\          /                 \         /     \         /

Vata                     Pitta          Kapha

Each of these doshic body types uses energy differently. Vata spends energy. Pitta manages it. Kapha stores it. Your body type shows how your strengths, as well as how your body typically goes out of balance. It also shows how your body responds to the environment. Your unique body type is comprised of certain qualities and affects every part of you – your physical and mental characteristics as well as your personal strengths and weaknesses. Vata people tend to be easily stimulated, hyperactive, underweight and dry. Pitta people tend to be hot, focused, driven, and easily inflamed. Kapha people are heavy, stable and grounded, but if they store too much energy, they could gain weight easily and have congestion.

Find your Unique body type the key to your self-health.

Dosha Quiz by Jim Montrose, Ayurvedic Health Advisor

To determine your basic nature—think of the way you were as a child and what has been true most of your life. If you’ve had a major illness, think how things were before the illness. Choose the answer that applies the most if two or more seem to exist simultaneously for you.

For many of the physical traits, your choice will be obvious. The subjective traits may be harder and you should answer according to how you have felt and acted most of your life (ask people who know you well if you are stuck or want a broader viewpoint). If you have taken a quiz from your practioner use those results.

Rank(R) each trait with either a 5, 3, or 1. Each row, use each number one time, row adds to 9.

Traits Vata R Pitta R Kapha R
Activity Level Restless, very active, nervous Directed, easily irritated Placid, calm, complacent
Body Type Thin, lanky, light


Medium, good muscle development Stocky, broad, large, round
Strength Poor Medium Strong
Weight Often lean or variable Medium, stable Tend to overweight
Hair Dry, brittle, brown & wavy Fine, early thinning or graying, soft Abundant, thick, oily, & lustrous
Eyes Small, thin, brown & active Medium, thin, light brown/red/green & piercing Wide, thick, white & attractive
Complexion Dull, dark, brown Red, ruddy, flushed White, pale, moist
Sunburning Low High Medium
Joints Prominent, thin, crack Loose and flexible Large, well built
Nails Thin, dry, small, rough, dark Medium size, soft and pink Large, thick, smooth and white
Skin texture/ Temperature Thin, dry, cold, cracked, veins Warm, moist, pink, acne, moles Thick, white, moist, cold, smooth
Emotional strengths I am lively, flexible, adaptable, enthusiastic I am fearless, courageous, daring, purposeful, leader I am calm, contented, accepting and supportive
Stress Response I become anxious or worried I become irritable, aggressive, or angry I withdraw, senti-mental, or attached
Sleep Light, insomnia, wake easily Good, average length Deep, long, hard to wake
Sweat Scanty, no odor Profuse, strong smell, hot Moderate pleasant smell, cool
Hunger /thirst Irregular Excessive Moderate
Digestion Gas, irregular, hard/dry stools Strong,  steady, quick evac., uniform stools Slow, heavy digestion and stools
Appetite Irregular, small Strong Steady, moderate
Sensitivity to environment Fear cold, wind and sensitive to dryness. Sensitive to heat, dislike heat and fire Fear cold and damp like sun and wind
Speech Quick erratic talkative Moderate argument-tative, convincing Slow, deliberate and few words
Total Vata____________ Pitta____________ Kapha ___________

Vita, pitta and kapha totals should add to 180.  Jim Montrose, Ayurvedic Health Advisor 0719590786

Your Unique Body Type: identify which of the ten body types are you?

Take each score above and divide by 180 to get your percentage of each dosha,

What  is the percentage of your unique body types:

Vata _____% Pitta ____% Kapha ____%

This test gives you a pretty good approximation, provided you have a handle on your own body’s behaviour, of you prakriti which is your long term nature that is the nature you were born with and does not change. If you are experiencing particular health challenges an ayurvedic counsellor or doctor can refine the results and also look at your current vikriti (current condition and imbalance) to develop a routine to bring you back into balance more quickly.

If you have a single dosha that is significantly greater than the other two values then you are what is known as a single dosha body type which is rarer but common.  You can simply look at the doshic characteristic chart for you dosha to understand your basic characteristics and likes.

When two dosha’s dominate you are a dual doshic nature which is quite common. You may be one of the following combinations: Vata-Pitta, Vata-Kapha, Pitta-Vata, Pitta-Kapha, Kapha-Vata or Kapha-Pitta.  (if you are 45% vata, 35%kapha and 20% pitta you would be primarily vata and kapha and since you are more vata than kapha you would be vata-kapha). To understand your characteristics and nature you must investigate your two natures and determine which dosha dominates each characteristic (or consult an ayurvedic  specialist to help you). It is not a simple combination of the characterisitics of the two doshas. For instance if you are Pitta-Vata and the characteristic is body temperature when Vata is the more dominate for this characteristic you would have a cold tendency in your body temperature and when Pitta is more dominant you would have a hot tendency.

If you are relatively balanced in the three doshas (all about 33%) you are Tri-Doshic a rare but wonderful body type that is more resistant to health issues and diseases than all other body types.

I am a  vata,  pitta,  kapha,  pitta-vata,  pitta-kapha,  vata-pitta,  vata-kapha,  kapha-vata,  kapha-pitta,  vata-pitta-kapha   (circle your type).

Your Unique Body Type: Understanding your Characteristics or traits

Vata Traits

Vata is the principle of movement and change that tends to use energy or spend it. It is made up of the elements of air and space. People with a predominance of the Vata dosha in their nature tend to be thin, light, and quick in their thought and action (can be underweight and depleted). When Vata is balanced, it generates creativity, enthusiasm, and liveliness. When Vata becomes unbalanced, it can manifest in symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, indigestion, and dry skin.

Pitta Traits

Pitta is the principle of transformation and metabolism that tends to manage energy usage. It is made up of the elements of fire and water. People with a predominance of Pitta in their nature tend to have muscular bodies, penetrating minds, and a determined spirit (can be medium weight and intense focus). When Pitta is balanced, it fosters warmth, intelligence, and natural leadership. When Pitta is out of balance, it can manifest in irritability and aggressive behavior and lead to physical symptoms such as heartburn, acne, and ulcers.

Kapha Characteristics

Kapha is the principle of protection, nourishment, and stability. It is made up of the earth and water elements. People with a predominance of Kapha in their nature tend to be heavyset, with a calm, grounded demeanor and a tendency to think things through and move at a slow, measured pace (can be overweight and congested). When Kapha is balanced, it creates calmness, sweetness, and loyalty. When Kapha is out of balance, it can cause weight gain, lethargy, and resistance to healthy change.

Trait Vata Pitta Kapha
Function propulsion transformation cohesion
Mental Creative, quick, imaginative Sharp, intellectual, direct, precise, discerning Detail-oriented, steady, consistent
Body Type Thin, light frame Moderate, muscular Overweight, trouble losing, large frame
Skin Dry, dark Soft, oily, red or yellowish Thick, oily, pale
Hair Dry, rough, dark Thin, oily, soft, early gray Thick, oily, wavy, white
Appetite – Digestion Delicate, tendency to skip meals Strong, can eat almost anything, anytime Loves to eat but has a slow digestion
Routine Variable, spontaneous Precise and organized Methodical and steady, resistant to change
Sleep Short, interrupted Moderate, wakes but falls back to sleep Sound more than 6 hours, hard to wake
Temperament Welcomes new exper-iences, enthusiastic, friendly, energetic Passionate, ambitious, courageous Thoughtful, forgiving, sweet, patient, loving, content, slow-moving
Conversation Style Loves to talk Speaks to convey a point or convince. Simple and profound
Shopping Style Tends to buy Spends on luxury items Likes to save
Response to Stress Blames oneself and wonders what they did wrong. Blames others and sees where others went wrong. Wants to withdraw and doesn’t want to deal with it!

Noticing your Unique Body Type  in balance and imbalance

A simplified definition of the Doshas and their major challenges is:

Vata       lots of energy (likes to move can’t stand still, also lots of thoughts–mental movement); Thin and light, digestion harder for vatas.

Pitta       fiery or intense energy of transformation strong digestion transformation of food; Medium build strong focused goal oriented makes things happen, heated.  

Kapha   earth and water more grounded, sturdy, well built; mind calm and content don’t have as much need for change as Vata(high) and Pitta (lesser).

The doshas can become out of balance through too much activity, food or thought of a similar nature to the dosha (we will discuss this more next time):

Vata       too much stimulation, movement or  too much energy produces anxiety, thoughts, and food sensitivity.

Pitta       too much fire from environment, food, working too much, too much thinking or doing yields inflammation, rashes, inflamed bowels, irritable judgment and anger.

Kapha   too much earth and water — heavy foods, not enough movement, creates weight gain, sluggish digestion, heavy feelings (blues), and lack of motivation.

When we notice our dosha going out of balance we must restore harmony by minimizing the things that cause accumulation. In Ayurveda we say like increases like – for example too much heat for a hot dosha creates a heat imbalance, etc. So to minimize the thing that causes accumulation in a dosha requires that we introduce the opposite, a few simple suggestions you can play with to get used to understanding your unique body type before next weeks investigation into Balancing the Dosha:

Vata – introduce routines to counter your tendency to change fast, keep warm, and eat cooked foods.

Pitta – live with moderation in all to counter your tendency toward intensity:  be moderate in food and exercise, balance work and play, and reduce overzealous exercise learn to relax a little.

Kapha – introduce movement  to counter your sluggish nature – physically you need more exercise generally and mentally a new hobby helps provide variety.

Know Thyself – your Unique Body Type

Most spiritual traditions and cultures have noted the importance of “knowing Thyself” and for the Indian culture it has always been embedded in knowing your unique body type.  Not just to know how to live healthy and long but to provide a foundation for your journey through life with a physical and emotional body that is strong, flexible, mostly disease free and emotionally content, calm, joyful and blissful. This is echoed in Chinese, Arab and Greek medicine and philosophy. But it doesn’t come from knowledge without action. Take the quiz and find your dosha, become aware of the characteristics you display that match your dosha and where you find discrepancies (sometimes the indication of the beginning of disease accumulation).  Try the simple balancing approaches for your dosha and understand more about your body.

It is important to first become acquainted with your unique body type, recognize the bodies signals and act on the imbalance it indicates. Next month we continue with the specifics of balance learning to recognize imbalance, balancing and living in harmony with diet, herbs, and lifestyle.

We are generally dominant in one or two doshas, by understanding them we can unlock a clear path to healing by following the recommendations that fit. Consult your Ayurvedic specialist, Jim, to help you tailor a more extensive individualized plan if you are really out of balance.

 Until then turn this information and simple balancing ideas into direct experience and see you next time,

Jim Montrose

071 959 0786

P.S. Develop a unique and individualized vision for yourself to  truly recreate your body using the age-old tested methods of Ayurveda and modern research to identify your unique body constitution, understand what your bodies signal are telling you, and respond with self-care actions to balance your life, diet, exercise and lifestyle to stay in natural harmony with your body (take a body constitution evaluation with Jim to learn your detailed individual recommendations – email “constitution analysis” to organize an appointment or call 071 959 0786 now).

Copyright January 2018

Follow Jim Montrose


0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

© Copyright - Dr Zaida Rivene

From the N2 (Cape Town towards George) Take the first Swellendam exit (left). This is the R60. Proceed (1km+) through the 4 way stop and continue approximately 2-3 km and look for a sign for the Hermitage. Make a hard right (270 degrees). After the turn continue about 200 meters and turn left at first road (dirt). Proceed 300 meters and turn left into Red Roan Ranch and go to bottom of hill (the main house).

(Coming from George to Cape Town) Take the third exit (R60) right. Proceed (1km+) through the 4 way stop and continue approximately 2-3 km and look for a sign for the Hermitage. Make a hard right (270 degrees). After the turn continue about 200 meters and turn left at first road (dirt).  Proceed 300 meters and turn left into Red Roan Ranch and go to bottom of hill (the main house).

GPS:  S34 degrees 01.367 minutes, E020 degrees 25.193 minutes. Note most GPS units (Garmin, etc.) have the wrong coordinates for Red Roan Ranch.

Call if you have trouble 071 959 0786 or 083 290 1283