Ayurveda, the "science of life", aims to help us achieve balance between the mind and body. Although the solution is often multifaceted, its route becomes clear once the cause is identified.
Vata is based on air, and represents motion in the body. Therefore, imbalance will frequently manifest with dry skin, hair, or nails; excess wind or flatulence; constipation; weight loss; anxiety and agitation; insomnia; forgetfulness; joint pain; and fatigue. If you have several of these symptoms, balancing your vata energy will be helpful. To do this, maintain warm temperatures in your environment; eat warm cooked foods; get plenty of rest; keep a regular routine; avoid stimulation; increase the volume of food intake slightly; and try to maintain normal elimination. Some very helpful foods for vata types include dairy, especially warm milk; natural sweeteners; rice and wheat; sweet fruits; tofu; cooked beets, carrots, asparagus, zucchini, and potatoes; and nuts. Daily massage with sesame oil is also soothing for vata types.
Pitta is based on fire, and governs heat, metabolism, and transformation. Imbalance in pitta types will show itself as irritability; frustration or anger; skin rashes and breakouts; prematurely gray or thinning hair; early morning waking; discomfort in hot weather; a sense of perfectionism; hot flashes; acid reflux; and diarrhea. To balance a disordered pitta, cooling down the heat will be helpful. Cool, sweet, and bitter foods with regular mealtimes are key, in addition to moderation in work and scheduled time for relaxation. Favorable foods include milk and butter; natural sweeteners; olive, sunflower, and coconut oil; sweet fruits; and asparagus, cucumbers, potatoes, green leafy vegetables, and zucchini. Spices such as black pepper, cayenne, and chili peppers should be avoided. Daily massage with a cooling oil, such as coconut oil, can also bring pitta into balance.
Kapha is watery and controls structure and lubrication. They will show imbalance with excess weight; oily hair and skin; lethargy despite excess sleep; sinus problems and congestion; bloating; stiffness; and discomfort in cold and damp weather. To pacify excess kapha energy, perform a small amount of vigorous exercise each day; maintain a warm climate; and get enough rest. The best foods include low-fat, warm milk; apples and pears; honey; beans; grains; and spices.
Once you have identified your dosha and confirmed an imbalance with the associated symptoms, bringing the mind and body back into alignment becomes simpler. Your skin will show the same balance as well.