Discovering Doshas: How Knowing Yours Can Change Your Life!

RE:treat's Babsi Glanznig was interviewed for WorldLifestyle on Ayurveda, Yoga's sister science. Check out the fantastic article below and learn about "doshas", the Sanskrit term describing our bodily constitutions, and how they affect our well-being, minds and lives. 


Babsi's Ayurveda Workshop is scheduled for THURSDAY, April 10, 11:45 - 2:15 at Paraiso Yoga in Sayulita, Mexico! Click here for full details. 


Learn how exploring doshas can help you to not only grow, but to flourish.

by EMILY HUDSON for WorldLifestyle, published April 7, 2014:

Humans are made up of all three doshas, but we have one or two predominate doshas. Not one of them is better or worse, they are simply different, with varying characteristics. It is most important to maintain balance in your doshas to further balance your body and mind.

Recently, my favorite neighborhood Acupuncturist/Herbalist, Christine Gocke, described the difference in Eastern and Western medical views in this way: when we take our bodies into a doctor’s office, Western Medicine practitioners tend to view them similarly to cars taken into a shop. They are "things" that can be "fixed," and there is often very little regard to what the deeply buried inner root of the issue may be.

Conversely, Eastern Medicine views an ailing person as a being of nature that may not have the right balance of conditions they need to thrive. In Eastern Medicine, we are viewed more like a garden than a car. Our bodies exist in nature, and therefore can be brought back into balance by considering and perhaps adjusting our unique growth environments, nutrients, and access to the nourishment we need in order to flourish.

One of the many ways Eastern Medicine analyzes our unique “growing environments” is by encouraging individuals to understand their dosha (another intimidating Sanskrit word that is actually not intimidating at all)! To help explain what a dosha is and how to find which is dominant for you, I asked Ayurveda instructor Babsi Glanznig, whom I worked with during my Ashtanga Yoga teacher training program, to weigh in.  

“Making your doshas happy will make you happy. This is the secret to balancing the whole mind-body system.” -Deepak Chopra

World Lifestyle: How would you describe the term "Dosha" to someone who has never heard of it before?

Babsi: Dosha is a Sanskrit term used in Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient and holistic approach to healing. The doshas describe the three different life-energies, Vata, Pitta and Kapha, which create our individual constitution and regulate our bodily functions and our minds.


Vata is the dynamics of movement, a combination of air and space. While it occurs as air and wind in nature, Vata is any form of movement of the limbs, digestion, central nervous system and thoughts in the human body.

The physical characteristics in a Vata dominant individual generally are a light and airy body, rough and dry skin and a sensitivity to cold. When Vata type humans are in balance, they move as light as air, experience creative bursts and enthusiasm but may become easily exhausted and fatigued. When out of balance, Vata individuals may suffer from anxiety, distraction, sleeplessness and constipation from dry digestion.


Pitta is a combination of fire and a little bit of water. It represents the dynamics of transformation and digestive fire. In nature it occurs as sun and fire. In the human body, it occurs as all forms of transformation, digestion, metabolism, chemical processes, hormones and enzymes.

Pitta dominant individuals are usually of medium build, have a reddish complexion, a sharp appetite and warm bodies. They are generally very focused, organized and passionate. When in balance, Pitta individuals are highly productive and creative, but when there is too much fire (Pitta imbalance), rage, anger, ulcers, heartburn, acidity and diarrhea may occur.


Kapha represents our structure and is a combination of earth with a little water. In the human body, Kapha is in all forms of structure (bones) and lubrication of skin, muscles, tendons, mucus, while in nature it is earth itself.

The physical characteristics of a Kapha dominant individual are a stable and strong build, generally slow moving and slow talking, and soft skin. Kaphas are generally speaking very loyal. Once they learn something, they never forger it. Often, they are compassionate and soft natured. When in balance, Kapha individuals have stamina for endurance exercises. When out of balance, they can experience lethargy, laziness and constipation. 

WL: What are the primary things one can do to balance their doshas?

Babsi: Once you find out what your dominant dosha is, the key is to maintain a good balance for your wellbeing. Ayurveda emphasizes the principle of opposites, meaning that, foods, climates and activities of the opposite nature/dosha will allow you to balance yourself again.

Balancing Vata

When experiencing dryness, constipation, dry hair, dry skin, and/or anxiety, look for activities and foods that have the opposite quality (kapha). Then, find a regular routine, get lots of rest and eat warmer, more oily foods, and practice yoga with an emphasize on grounding posture.

Foods to Eat:

  • Warm (versus very cold or very hot foods and drinks)
  • Salty tastes
  • Sour tastes

Foods to Avoid:

  • Chips/crackers
  • Caffeine
  • Butter
  • Spicy foods
  • Click here for Dr.Oz’s more in-depth Vata balancing meal plan.

Balancing Pitta

For Pitta types, when too much heat or anger occurs, choosing cooling foods and emphasizing behaviors that allow the fire to cool down are recommended. Add mint, cucumber and fennel to your diet, and spend time in nature.

Foods To Eat:

  • Sweet tastes
  • Astringent tastes
  • Bitter
  • Cool foods
  • Vegetarian options

Foods To Avoid:

  • Salt
  • Oil
  • Red Meat
  • Spicy foods
  • Alcohol
  • Click here for Dr.Oz’s more in-depth Pitta balancing meal plan.

Balancing Kapha

Kaphas have a tendency to over-eat and often suffer from stagnant energy. They should ingest light foods and try new and stimulating ways of exercise.

Balancing your doshas does not just happen with foods – it is achieved through a combination of different factors, while minding the seasons and the environment you live in (lifestyle choices).

Foods To Eat:

  • Bitter tastes
  • Astringent tastes
  • Pungent tastes
  • Warm foods
  • Light foods

Foods To Avoid:

  • Sugar
  • Dairy
  • Fried foods
  • Click here for Dr.Oz’s more in-depth Pitta balancing meal plan.

WL: How has learning about Ayurveda and doshas changed your life?

Babsi: Ever since I understood my bodily constitution, I was able to nourish my body in a way that made me more healthy, allowed me to feel better, sleep better, control my emotions. In general, it has made my life easier, happier and healthier.

I not only try to eat according to my dosha, but I also make conscious lifestyle choices that bring out the best in me. I try to maintain balance and furthermore live a happier and “calmer” life. I focus on maintaining balance. By doing that, I have learned more about my body and how it works – which in the long run really opened my eyes to what I really need, what really works for me, and what I should stay away from!

WL: What are some of your favorite resources for learning more about Ayurveda and the doshas?  

Babsi: To learn more, I took this dosha quiz. I also read Ayurveda – The Science of Life and Self-Healing by Dr. Vasant Lad, and have used The Tastes of Ayurveda cookbook by Amrita Sondhi. There is a great Ayurveda documentary called Ayurveda – The Art of Being. I also follow a few different Ayurveda blogs, including,http://lifespa.com, and

Babsi Glanznig, originally from Austria, has taught during several teacher training programs, where her main focus was Ashtanga Yoga and Ayurveda. When Babsi is not saluting the sun, she works as personal chef, mountain guide and is an avid skier. 
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