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Knowing your body type is a fundamental principle in Ayurveda, but few of us realize that there are actually three different kinds of body types to be aware of. While two of them are based on vata, pitta and kapha (known as the doshas), the third describes your mind and emotions.
The first body type is known as the birth body type, or Karma Prakruti, and is the Sanskrit word that best describes your true nature. This body type is actually determined at conception rather than at birth, and represents the genetic makeup as passed down from the mother and father. This constitution also carries the mental and emotional factors that were carried by the parents during their lives and up to point of conception.
This type is called the Karma body type because it gives the individual the opportunity to act – to free oneself from old karmic mental and emotional patterns we came into this life with. A big part of why Ayurveda exists is to restore balance and thus reveal and experience one’s true nature, karma or birth body type. Precisely knowing your birth body type is a lifelong study of self-inquiry aimed at releasing the karmas we came into this life with. But before we can release the karmas from the birth body type, we must bring the current body type into balance.
The second body type is called the current body type, or Deha Prakruti. This is an assessment of the current status of the individual. It reflects the influences that were at play during pregnancy, those of the individuals’ lifestyle and their mental and emotional states. It reflects physical, mental or emotional qualities that may have manifested as a result of influences from this life. Understanding the Deha Prakruti offers the karmic opportunities (action steps) to take action to free yourself from old protective mental and emotional patterns, as well as physical imbalances that you may have accumulated along the way.
The third body type is the mental constitution, which includes the emotional and even spiritual state of the mind. This is called the Manus Prakruti. This type is described in terms of the three mental governing principles called sattva, rajas and tamas. Sattva is that state of mind that is steeped in love and compassion and completely content in its own state of being – it needs nothing. Rajas is that state of mind wherein it requires stimulation – usually through the senses – to be satisfied. Tamas is when the mind, either from over-stimulation or trauma, walls itself off or retreats into protective patterns of behavior.
The goal of being aware of all these body types is to offer a greater sense of self-awareness, so as not to be blinded by the illusion of protective patterns of behavior that were employed during ones’ childhood. According to Ayurveda, it is these protective patterns that pound away at the body, the gut, its microbes, and literally initiate the degenerative, aging and disease processes.
While we cannot take an quiz to determine the birth body type, we can take an Ayurveda test to determine both the current (deha) and mental (manas) constitutions. I invite you to take both of these free Ayurveda tests regularly, so you can map your transformational process of unveiling your most awesome self.
What has your body type taught you?