Vikruti is your current (usually altered) state of doshic balance.
The balance of the doshas change as the mind and body change so vikruti is your current state of health, balanced or unbalanced. As we live our lives, everythingís in flux. The weather, the time of day, your diet, your fatigue level, your stress level, your emotional state, etc. are all reflected in your vikruti. Imbalances can be momentary or they can last for many years. Itís important to correct doshic imbalances before they cause discomfort or disease.
When we talk about balancing the doshas, weíre not trying to make vata, pitta and kapha all equal each other. Weíre trying to correct the ratios of the doshas so they match your personal state of balance, your prakruti.
Hallmark symptoms of vata imbalance are:
dry or rough skin, constipation, gas, bloating, cold hands and feet, poor circulation, cracking joints, arthritis, underweight, light sleep or insomnia, tics, twitches, anxiety, inability to concentrate or complete tasks, restlessness, loneliness, fear, nervousness.
As we learned in the section on gunas, the attributes of vata are: dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, mobile and clear. In order to correct any doshic imbalance, we treat by using the opposite qualities. In the case of vata imbalance, we employ the qualities of heaviness, heat, oiliness, smoothness, density and immobility.
Establishing a daily routine can be difficult for vata types but itís one of the quickest ways to stabilize oneself. Daily self-massage with warm medicated, sesame, grapeseed or sunflower oil calms the nervous system and helps stabilize vata dosha. Steam baths, humidifiers and moisture of any kind are helpful.
Avoidance of cold weather, cold or leftover food, raw food, cold beverages, drugs, caffeine, strenuous exercise, fasting or skipping meals, staying up late, multi-tasking, loud music and travel all pacify vata.
In general, people with excessive vata respond most rapidly to warm, moist, slightly oily, heavy foods. Foods with sweet, sour and salty tastes are vata pacifying. All spices, especially warming spices, reduce vata. Cumin, coriander, fennel, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and garlic should be added to food or made into tea.
Vata types need to keep warm, get plenty of rest, avoid over-stimulation and reduce stress (ideally through pranayama and meditation). Good yoga poses for calming vata are: dhanurasana (bow), vajrasana (sitting on heels), pavanmuktasana (supine knees to chest), balasana (childís pose), uttanasana (standing forward fold) and viparita karani (legs up the wall).
Words to remember: Nourishing. Warming. Routine.
Hallmark symptoms of pitta imbalance are:
feelings of heat, loose stools or diarrhea, acid indigestion, excessive perspiration, burning or red eyes, oily skin, acne, rashes, hives, inflammatory disorders, infections, nausea, irritability, anger, hate, jealousy, criticism.
The attributes of pitta are hot, sharp, light, mobile and oily. An excess of any of these qualities aggravates pitta. In order to lower elevated pitta, we use cold, calm, dry, static and soft qualities.
Summer is pitta season. Diet and lifestyle changes that emphasize coolness are very important in summer and in hot climates. People with excess pitta should avoid midday sun and plan their activities in the morning and evening. They also need to watch their tempers. Anger is both a cause and an effect of high pitta. Competitiveness, argumentativeness and perfectionism must be kept in check as well.
Daily self-massage with medicated or coconut oil helps cool pitta. So do the scents of rose, lavender and sandalwood.
Pittas should avoid salty, oily, spicy and sour foods. Skipping meals is ill advised, as pittas tend to get hypoglycemic and very crabby when hungry. Alcohol, cigarettes and drugs provoke pitta and should be avoided. Cranberry, grape and pomegranate juice are cooling beverages. Cucumbers, melon, coconut and dairy (except for yogurt) are examples of cooling foods.
Specific pranayama and meditation for calming and cooling are very helpful. Yoga poses that relieve pitta are: dhanurasana (bow), trikonasana (triangle), shalabhasana (locust) and abdominal twists.
Words to remember: Cooling. Calming. Moderation.
Hallmarks of kapha imbalance are:
excess weight, colds, congestion, excess mucous conditions, asthma, allergies, lethargy, edema, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, tumors and growths, excess sleep, depression, greed, envy, possessiveness.
The attributes of kapha are: heavy, slow, cool, oily, smooth, dense, soft and static. In order to treat excess kapha, we employ the opposite qualities: heat, dryness, mobility, subtlety, hardness and roughness.
Kaphas are sweet, compassionate and sedentary people. They love sweet and salty foods, the worst foods for their constitutions. They need to be prodded into activity and to avoid napping during the day. They love routine and should be encouraged to shake things up and change them around a bit.
In terms of diet, kaphas should avoid rich, heavy, fried, sweet and salty foods. Dairy is another kapha no-no. They should add heating spices to their diets. Itís very important that kaphas avoid cold foods and beverages that dampen digestive fire and slow the metabolism.
Vigorous exercise, intellectually challenging work or projects, skipping meals, reduced sleep time and no snacking all help pacify kapha dosha. Vigorous pranayama and the following yoga poses help balance kapha: surya namaskar (sun salutation), simhasana (lion), bhujangasana (cobra), ushtrasana (camel) and shoulder stand.
Words to remember: Heating. Drying. Stimulating.