Written by Rachel Stermer
Balance: that elusive state many of us in this very clearly imbalanced modern world are seeking and striving to achieve. We might proudly proclaim that this journey towards balance is our life’s goal. We might try and structure our diet around a way of eating we feel is balanced. Maybe we make changes to our relationships, as we feel they are calling for more balanced expression. And, Ayurveda practitioners across the land are focused on helping their clients to achieve it. However we humans relate to this almost mythical concept, balance appears to be a state that captivates the attention of many, yet, remains elusive. But, truly, what is it and what drives us to quest after it, seek it, and also be tempted far, far away from it?
These are two fundamental concepts in Ayurveda that roughly and respectively translate to “original state of balance” or “genetic code” and current state of imbalance. Balance refers to the presence of dosh in the the body and the varying degrees of deviance from that original presence, or as early as conception. Broken down even more simply, Prakrit assesses the amount that each of the 5 elements are present in an individual at birth and Vikriti looks at how that elemental balance has shifted, as a result of diet and lifestyle practices that disturb the balance of those elements. In this sense, the paradigm of Prakrit/Vikriti is very direct and one of the most elegantly simple ideas that Ayurveda has to share with the modern world. Yet, when applied without this fundamental understanding of what the word constitution truly means, subtle misconceptions about Ayurveda and how to apply the science with methodology may ensue.
In order to practice Ayurveda with awareness, effectiveness and success, we need to begin with understanding some basic concepts and then exploring what we might have missed about the basics, over and over again.
One of those all too common misconceptions that yields to confusion originates in the process of self diagnosis. This often occurs in individuals who fill out online dosha assessment and come to the conclusion that “they are Kapha”. There’s a few things about this determination that need to be scrutinized before accepting Kapha as primary dosha in the birth constitution, or a player to be paid attention in one’s current state of doshic imbalance.