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In the Yoga-Ayurvedic system, there are 3 doshas that can help a person classify their elemental presence in the world. The doshas aren’t meant to label or pigeonhole, but to expand awareness and understanding. Typically, a person is dominantly one dosha, but can be strong in two. Read more about the 3 doshas here.

One of the keys to understanding balance-imbalance in the self is to utilize the idea of the gunas. The three gunas, or “psychic energies” help describe the state of your dosha. The gunas and their characterizations are:

  • Sattwa– peaceful, joy, wisdom, lightness and clarity of mind and purpose, noble, spiritual
  • Rajas– active, passion, craving, attachment, fooled by illusion, lust, greed, domination
  • Tamas– darkness, heaviness, sloth, apathy, ignorance, obstruction, confusion, addiction

Generally, the idea is to be in a state of sattwa, peace and tranquility. If you don’t feel harmonic, the dosha/guna connections can point out derangement and imbalance in order to move toward healing and balance.

Let’s look at the dosha vata for example. Vata’s qualities include lightness and movement, creativity, enthusiasm, change, spaciousness, spiritual, emotional. Vata deals with the nervous system. A vata person may tend to have more imbalance issues in this aspect of being.

Imbalance in vata can be defined by looking at the gunas. Vata is highly emotional, but dysfunction can tend toward rajas when anxiety, worry, and fret are present. Vata is full of creative notions and excitement, but if not grounded, frenzy and hyperactivity can ensue, throwing vata into an overwhelmed and frozen tamasic state, causing depression and hopelessness. Definitely deranged!

A trained ayurvedic practitioner and Yoga teacher can guide you to identify your dosha and any possible derangement through guna testing, chakra reading, and other tools.

If you suspect imbalance, consider a private assessment for awareness and dosha balancing therapies that can include yoga-asana, meditation, breathing exercises, and lifestyle suggestions.