There are three doṣas - vāta, pitta, and kapha. Does this mean that there are three kinds of women?
When women who have never heard of Āyurveda come to me, I end up not starting our conversation about their health imbalances, but finding out who they are.
In my Women Support Workshop, I ask women the question, “Who are you?” After the initial look of confusion, I hear a myriad of responses that reflect how a woman's sense of self is misidentified with her employment, her physical attributes, her environment, her nationality, her relationships, or her state of health and well-being.
Interestingly, the most popular response given by women remains, “I am a mother.” However, by asking women the question, “Who are you?” I am asking them to reflect on their sense of
identity, which is beyond what they do or how much they earn. I ask participants to see internally and to think about who they are inside as opposed to an external phenotype or lifestyle. I am trying to determine their unique body, mind, and spirit composition. In other words, what's their doṣa.
A basic premise of Āyurveda includes that we are not this physical body that bleeds every month, has a yoni (vagina), and has biological needs. Underneath all that, we are spiritual beings - part of mother nature's śakti. Let me reiterate that we are special, no matter what our body weight, color, height, or any external features. We are unique. We are beautiful. We are so distinctive that both our strengths and weaknesses are also unique. When we are weak in one area, we are more robust in another. The divine feminine has blessed us with two advantages for each of our failings. The weaknesses themselves are blessings in disguise.
For example, if a kapha woman is naturally overweight, she is also more stable, has higher immunity, and has a forgiving nature, provided she is balanced. If a pitta woman has some skin issues or is naturally critical or gets riled easily, she also has double the strength and grit to persevere in hard times. If a balanced vāta woman tends to get ungrounded quickly, she can also return to her balance speedily and has this superhuman ability to multi- task and juggle and not drop the ball on anything.
This is an excerpt from the book Ayurveda and the feminine. To buy the book, click here.
Monica Grooveris the author of Ayurveda and the Feminine, and, Essential Guide to Ayurveda, A textbook for students and Counselors. Ms Groover is the director of Narayana Ayurveda and Yoga Academy in Austin, Texas.