Guest Post by Julie Bernier, AP
Looking for a dosha quiz? Well, you won’t find one here! Here’s why.⠀⠀
There’s always someone who, at the end of whatever Ayurveda workshop or retreat I may be teaching, wonders where the F is their dosha quiz and I have to break the bad news – I don’t give them. This is a very conscious (and unpopular) decision on my part and one that is not always immediately understood. ⠀
Before I started formal studies in Ayurveda I loved taking the dosha quizzes online and in books. It was fun to try to decipher if my skin was vata or pitta, or my way of talking vata or kapha…who doesn’t love learning about themselves? And obviously, when I got a new boyfriend, I wanted to know his dosha too! (PS the correct term is prakriti – or constitution – but we’ll use “dosha” here). So we got out my Ayurveda book, turned to the dosha quiz, and I started asking him dosha questions like “is your skin dry, soft or oily?” Now, here’s what went wrong. At the time I thought I was a vata. And because I ignorantly thought it would mean we were more compatible, I desperately wanted my boyfriend to be a vata too. I checked off vata, vata, vata, when ME OH MY this man was as PITTA as you can get. So I determined my man a vata.⠀
That’s just one silly example of dosha quizzes gone wrong (and thankfully, I didn’t actually do anything with the results like recommending he take vata-balancing herbs or eat vata-balancing foods based on google searches).
Even more commonly, quizzes give incorrect results because we have a skewed perception of ourselves, including body dysmorphia. I see many women, for example, who think they have wide shoulders (a kapha quality) when in actuality their shoulders are totally average (a pitta quality). And, dosha quizzes aren’t very accurate anyway. It takes someone well trained in Ayurveda to determine the constitution and imbalance. Most importantly, quiz-takers may get their constitution right but their imbalance (vikriti) wrong — and in Ayurveda, we treat based on the imbalance.
If we misjudge our dosha or imbalance and start self-prescribing diet and herbs, we can cause ourselves great harm by creating even more imbalance. I have seen this many times – someone takes a dosha quiz, orders all kinds of herbs that are supposed to solve their problems, and then they feel even worse – they are treating the wrong dosha. And our doshas are in a continual state of flux. A vata person will experience an increase of vata, pitta, and kapha at many points throughout the day. It’s complex! And thus not a system of self-prescription.
There is so much of Ayurveda which is universal and it doesn’t matter what your dosha is (in my upcoming Learn Your Body online course there will be no dosha quiz, everything I’m teaching is universal!) If you want to learn your dosha and know what diet and herbs to use for a particular imbalance, see an Ayurvedic Practitioner. That’s the way Ayurveda was intended to be used, and the safest way that you can benefit from this wonderful science.
Julie Bernier teaches women the art of self-care so that they feel their healthiest and happiest in their own unique bodies. Julie is a registered Ayurveda Practitioner and Ayurveda Yoga Therapist with the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA) as well as a Certified Massage Therapist.