The Down and Dirty on Dosha Quizzes
Have you ever taken a dosha quiz in a magazine, online or from a book hoping to discover if you were Vata, Pitta or Kapha? Did you get varying results that only left you more confused?
Recently, I was teaching the Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist Program. One of the students asked me about her multi-test conundrum. Her results indicated she was either Vata Kapha dual dosha, or Kapha-dominant dosha or perhaps she was even Tri Doshic! What was she to think?
The confusion starts early on as most of us realize that we have all three doshas, just in different amounts. What the test is measuring is not which dosha you are, rather it is measuring your own unique mix of doshas.
Back in the day, 5000 years ago, people did not take dosha quizzes. Instead, they would have visited an Ayurvedic practitioner because of a particular ailment. There was not much interest in determining a specific dosha – it was obvious by your body type. Treatment protocol was formulated based on the outcome of a pulse reading. This is still true today. If an Ayurvedic practitioner is proficient at pulse reading, it is the most accurate form of diagnosis.
However, in these modern times, we have an abundance of medical information at our fingertips. Unlike the culture of ancient India, we want to ask our Ayurvedic doctor, "Who am I? What is my constitution?" Many of us do not have a relationship with Ayurveda. A dosha quiz is our first "handshake" with the science. These popular quizzes generally look at us through the lens of our body type and the tendencies that naturally follow those body types. The confusion starts early on as most of us realize that we have all three doshas, just in different amounts. What the test is measuring is not which dosha you are, rather it is measuring your own unique mix of doshas. You should see a little of each or a prominence of one or two doshas, reflecting your Prakruti (constitution).
Our constitution is usually out of balance in some way. This means we are taking the dosha quiz from the place of our current Vikruti (imbalance) and our results will reflect this.
To make matters even more muddled, we tend to take these quizzes based upon how we are feeling at the moment. Our constitution is usually out of balance in some way. This means we are taking the dosha quiz from the place of our current Vikruti (imbalance) and our results will reflect this. Ideally, our constitution is a representation of who we are in our elemental nature. When the results of our dosha quiz mirror our imbalance, we are left with a mixture of our Prakruti and Vikruti. Confused yet? Probably, so why take them at all?
Taking a dosha quiz can help you get acquainted with Ayurveda. The quiz will pique your interest and help you consider how you see yourself in relationship to the doshas. Perhaps you will find it useful to study a little Ayurveda and get an idea of the larger landscape of this broad science and then revisit the quiz. You may even seek out an Ayurvedic yoga specialist, or doctor to have them make their own assessment of your Prakruti and Vikruti and explain how the elements are expressed in terms of the doshas.
It helps to keep in mind that you are not going to be fully represented by an arbitrary quiz, as your constitution is a holistic view of who you have been since birth.
Ayurvedic practitioners use many diagnostic tools to assess Prakruti (your constitution) and Vikruti (your current state of imbalance). Observation of the physical body, listening, looking at the eyes, tongue, palpation (when appropriate), pulse reading and more are used to formulate solutions. It helps to keep in mind that you are not going to be fully represented by an arbitrary quiz, as your constitution is a holistic view of who you have been since birth. The good news is that a dosha quiz can give you a peek at how the elements are the ingredients that make up the unique recipe called you.
Kathryn Templeton has devoted her life to the health of others. A psychotherapist for more than 30 years, she continues to work both clinically and as an educator specializing in the treatment of individuals with complex trauma, anxiety, depression and now ASD. As C-IAYT Yoga Therapist, E‐500 RYT ParaYoga teacher, and NAMA registered Ayurvedic Practitioner, Kathryn has worked to develop specialized treatments integrating the principles of yoga and Ayurveda with clinical therapeutic... Read more>>