Demystifying Ayurveda: A Few Basic Principles

Sachi Doctor Elemental Alchemy Yoga Garden SF Ayurveda Training Dosha Health

Ayurveda is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but rather a system of living that treats us as the complex, unique beings that we are.

Ayurveda is a system of living that treats each of us as a complex, unique being with specific needs regarding diet, exercise, herbs, essential oils, self-care habits and lifestyle choices. It is an ancient, time-tested science that recognizes that as the conditions of our life change, we’re healthiest when we make tiny shifts in our habits to stay in balance.

Ayurveda is a daily experience of conscious living, of noticing and catching imbalances before they become disease, and permission to truly listen to our own inner teacher.

If you currently practice yoga, you may be stepping onto your mat in search of balance in mind, body, and spirit. Similar to the balance we seek from our physical asana practice, Ayurveda seeks to balance our mind-body by looking at our unique makeup and offering suggestions that are specific to our individual nature. This is what the doshas represent. They are the energetic archetypes that are uniquely combined in each of us to make us who we are. Doshas are essentially mind-body types and are comprised of the five principe elements: ether, air, fire, water, and earth. While we all have these attributes, it is simple to take a basic constitution test to get a sense of which doshas are most dominate in you.


Vata: Composed of ether and air; associated with cold, dry, light, rough qualities.

Pitta: Composed of fire and water; associated with oily, sharp, hot qualities.

Kapha: Composed of earth and water; associated with wet, heavy, solid, cold qualities.


There are also a few general Ayurvedic practices that are beneficial for all constitutions and represent living a conscious Ayurvedic lifestyle:

  • Establish a routine or schedule. Try to sleep, wake and eat at similar times every day.
  • Enjoy a leisurely breakfast, large lunch, and light dinner. Ideally, take a break away from distractions so you can eat slowly and in a mindful manner.
  • Avoid cold and icy food and drinks.
  • Regularly practice meditation, gentle stretches and/or yoga.
  • Prevent toxic build-up though abhyanga (oil massage) and tongue scraping.
  • Follow a seasonal diet, eating locally grown produce when possible.

Basically, like yoga, Ayurveda gives us a wealth of information and tools that can be incorporated into our lives. And like all good things, positive changes made through Ayurvedic techniques require time so be patient with yourself!

Sachi Doctor Elemental Alchemy Yoga Garden SF Ayurveda Training Dosha Health

About the author: Sachi Doctor is a holistic health educator,  tea maker and ritualist based in Oakland, CA. Passionate about drawing on inner wisdom to heal mind-body, she established Elemental Alchemy to support those navigating their way towards lasting health. Learn more about services & products at www.elemental-alchemy.com.

Attend one of her upcoming workshops and 300-Hour Teacher Training electives at Yoga Garden SF.