The Rhythms Within – Your Body type

Ayurveda for Yoga students and teachersflower person

The Rhythms Within:

My friend, Gwenda, put it beautifully when in the midst of my attempt to explain Ayurvedic body-typing to her she said ‘OH! You mean we’re like plants….some need lots of light and some die when they are put in the sun; some need lots of water and others drown if you over water them even once; some need to be outside and some won’t do anything unless they are inside – warm and cosy; some need certain minerals in the soil and others need different ones; some thrive in Arctic conditions and others in the desert; and each grows with a shape that helps them cope in their environment and with their particular needs’ YES! That’s it exactly! Gwenda you are inspired!

It is easy to think of plants in this way but we seem to struggle with this view of ourselves…. but why on earth would we all be the same? Scientists views seem to want us ALL to need ‘this’ much calcium, ‘these’ number of calories, ‘this’ level of blood pressure/cholesterol/bone density and if we want to lose weight, why then we should all follow the ‘new and improved – this will work for everyone’ diet. This idea of ourselves couldn’t be further from the truth!

We can all understand the ebb and flow of the seasons. The different qualities they bring, the deep effect they have on our bodies. We also have these seasonal energies within us moving our blood around our bodies (Wind/Autumn), digesting our food with strong enzymes (Fire/Summer) and knitting together bone breaks (Earth/Spring). The Spring energy (Kapha) is the builder, growing tissue and repairing damage. The Summer heat (Pitta) transforms these tissues with enzymes and hormones. The Autumn winds (Vata) blows through us like a breeze transporting what needs to be delivered or eliminated. The Winter quality sits deep inside us and we contact it during deep meditation. That beautiful still quiet place where all the growth, activity and impulses fail to send a ripple.

Each of us have all seasons within us but genetically we are all blessed with a particular combination of the above much like each snowflake has a pattern particular only to itself. If we have a Spring body (Kapha) we are very strong and have a wonderful immunity and natural beauty but may have a propensity to put on weight and suffer from being overly attached to things. Summer bodies (Pitta) are naturally athletic and have high energy and appetites both for life and food (although their digestion is superb and they burn it off easily). They may find that they say yes to too many projects and then find themselves inflamed both emotionally (irritation and anger) and internally (inflammatory diseases). The Autumn/Winter body (Vata) is changeable. Their constant over-thinking and bursts of activity and sociability (although this is coupled with wanting to be alone) means they are generally slight in build (not always though – remember they are very changeable) and they suffer from imbalance more easily than the other body-types tending towards worrying and aches and pains.

When you know your body-type you can start assessing what food, lifestyle, work, weather, relationships, etc suits you.

Take out a piece of paper and answer the following questions:

My aquaintances describe me as:

  • enthusiastic, changeable
  • friendly, independent, courageous, discriminating
  • deliberate, relaxed, compassionate

Under stress I become:

  • anxious, insecure, i sigh and hyperventilate
  • aggressive, angry, irritated, i get headaches and nausea
  • lethargic, dull, i go into denial 

My speech is:

  • fast, talkative, excessive, imaginative
  • precise, convincing, clear, detailed, organised
  • slow, monotone, melodic, soothing, moments of silence 

Emotionally I can be described as:

  •  worrier, anxious, moody, emotional
  •  angry, irritated
  •  calm, complacent, slow to anger

I am sensitive to:

  •  noise
  • light
  • odours

Questions such as these can help determine your body-type.

Visit for a body-type questionnaire!

Posted on: August 20th, 2013 2 Comments

2 Responses

  1. Thought-provoking questionnaire but I find my profile as a mix of several of the options for all the questions. So for example -under stress I become anxious and insecure but also go quiet and lethargic…

    However the journey of life is given to find out who we are and can become so I am happy about finding out more!
    Plants are so much more complex than we give them credence for….thanks for the blog -I had forgotten saying that about plants but am more focused for seeing it-as I really strongly believe in the unseen energy forces of nature.And-if Im not mindful-whoops -I fall!

    • Sonia says:

      Yes, definitely. We are all a very individual blend of all qualities and all types. You may find, in the full questionnaire, along with more watching and listening to the body’s responses and reactions, approximately how much of each of the qualities you possess. There are actually 7 ‘body types’. Vata, Pitta, Kapha, Vata-Pitta, Vata-Kapha, Pitta-Kapha and VataPittaKapha (I have shown three of these body-types above with reference to Seasons for ease of learning). Even this is just a starting point as each of these body-types are blend unique to each individual. Upon finding your body-type you are then aware of your strengths, weaknesses, similarities and differences to others and you may find it easier to recognise what sort of foods, lifestyles, stress-supports and yoga practices suit you best. You can learn more about this on the Ayurveda Course Level One shown in the menu above.