Knowing your dosha can help you to understand your physical, spiritual and emotional needs.
Essential oils are a beautiful way to help soothe the physical body as well as the spiritual body. When you are having an off day or feel out of sorts, just a brief, passing whiff of an essential oil can help shift your mood.
The scent from an essential oil in the form of a sachet, or diluted in a base oil can be used as a topical feel-good solution to the blues. The very essence of a scent, like the smell of jasmine can activate a positive memory and evoke feelings of love and sometimes elation. Knowing which oil soothes your dosha can add to your aromatic experience.
There are three doshas—all are present at birth and make up your constitution. This is also called your prakruti or your DNA.
Pitta Dosha is represented by the elements fire and water.
Kapha Dosha is represented by the elements earth and water.
Vata Dosha is represented by air and ether.
The elements fire, water, earth, wind and ether act as visual representations of the body and spirit. These five elements are present in everyone’s body at birth.
As you go through life, cultural, social and personal experiences shift your doshas and cause imbalances to the physical and emotional body.
Here is an example of the three doshas when an imbalance is present—ask yourself what dosha may be dominant in your body.
Pitta: Fire and Water
If you have a pitta imbalance then you have too much fire and water. This metaphor translates into being hot-tempered, outwardly judgmental of others, stubborn, prone to rashes, hives, and digestive disturbances. You may feel panicked or anxiety stricken.
Pitta disturbances may be soothed by the following essential oils: cedar, orange blossom, lavender, basil and frankincense. These oils all have a calming effect on pitta dosha imbalances. Use a base oil like sunflower to dilute any essential oil that can’t go on neat, (pure). Then try essential basil to increases intuitive clarity by settling the mind. Essential camphor clears the air and quiets the body. Essential lavender softens the fire within, while orange blossom and cedar can evoke feelings of peace and tranquility. Each essential oil can stop the fire within and restore pitta disturbances to normal.
Combine essential oils for pitta disturbances with cold-stone therapy, gemstone therapy and abhyanga (warm oil massage). Have fun and experiment.
Kapha: Earth and Water
Do you suffer from kapha imbalances? The symbolism behind the metaphor suggests that that if so, you may suffer from feeling sluggish, tired, and secretly judgmental of others. You may be suffering internally.
You may be holding on to pain, material items or both. Do you struggle with a slow metabolism? Typically, kapha imbalances show up as the stable force, always providing stability for others. You are the extreme giver and as a result you tend to get run-down and depleted.
Individuals with kapha disturbances should try the following essential oils: lily, sandalwood, iris and gardenia. A base oil of canola or simply mustard oil can also help break up the kapha disturbances.
Kapha dosha could also benefit from weekly garshana treatments (vigorous massage using raw silk gloves) this will help as it will break up the stagnation in the skin, bring blood to the surface and jumpstart the body.
Vata: Air and Ether
What can you do when vata dosha overtakes your body? First, the metaphor implies that there is too much movement, too much change and instability. Vata disturbances may mean you are prone to starting and stopping project after project.
You may find that you are too busy to stay in a committed relationship. You could find yourself running from love as your need to be the very best at so many things prevent you from staying grounded with one person or thing.
Vata constitutions need to be on the go—always moving. In meetings they will be the person who can’t sit still.
The following essential oils may help soothe vata disturbances: Rosemary, rose, jasmine, and mint will help soothe your dosha.
Use them with a base oil such as sesame oil, or neat if possible. The oils will evoke a sense of love, devotion and will relieve tension. Jasmine in particular can help with melancholy. It will inspire you to shift your intention to a positive vibration.
Individuals with a vata imbalances would also benefit from regular shirodhara treatments, or massages. Sounding scents and treatments bring vata dosha back to balance.
Pure fragrances have been used for healing for centuries. The oils hold the same properties as the plant and are nourishing to the five senses.
Finally, consider these three points on the body where energy converges, and where your essential oils (diluted in base oil) should be applied:
Pitta—heart, chest, center of body
Kapha—between the naval and pubic bone
Vata—third eye between the eyebrows
Of course you are not limited to the dosha specific oils, many are tri-doshic and serve to infuse our lives with loving intentions.
Have fun and anoint yourself with nature’s plant-based therapy.
Author: Ramona Bessinger
Apprentice Editor: Clifford Henry; Editor: Catherine Monkman