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Prakriti: Original Constitution & Individuality

Excerpt on Prakriti from our upcoming book!

"Each one of us is unique — not exactly like anyone else. We each have unique nutritional as well as psychological needs. They help distinguish us in one degree or another from everyone else. We all have our own peculiar collection of relationships between ourselves and the rest of the world around us. We respond differently to change, we handle external conditions differently, we have different energy budgets; we have different paces toward aging, different balances of strengths. And different sets of emotional push buttons. Even more complex are the countless different interactions among all these. Describing ourselves by our multitude of quirks is simply impossible. So what recourse do we have? Ayurveda provides us with the concept of prakriti.

Prakriti means "first creation". Your prakriti type reflects the first act of nature upon you. It is the result of both environmental and genetic factors. Your individuality was formulated from an environmentally modified, specific genetic combination of the gunas acting upon a specific permutation of the five elements. Your prakriti was crystallized at the moment of your conception and established the mix of doshas in the zygote (united sperm and ovum) that characterize a unique individual — you. The dosha in prominence at that moment was predominant in the formation of your prakriti, while the other two doshas were functionally subordinate. Your prakriti formula will remain unaltered from birth to death.

Prakriti includes physical heredity as well as mental and psychological traits that are inherent in your doshas. Your prakriti is fundamentally based on a specific combination of elements or mahabhutas that is represented in the distribution of doshas at the time of your conception. One of the doshas was predominant at the moment of your conception. It established the normal pattern for your nature and health.

Your prakriti cannot be changed, but your environmental conditions, habits, and diet can be modified to reduce or compensate the effects of your inherent weaknesses. Also, Yoga, the purification practices of Ayurveda, and other corrective measures can help to regulate the doshas.

By observing your different underlying patterns and tendencies through your prakriti, you can plan your diet and other health strategies to balance all your wayward tendencies. This may radically improve your health. What you can observe you can eventually learn to control. With control comes a higher order or coordination of all the diverse aspects of yourself with the energy and presence that empowers you. The result is peace, self-acceptance, vitality, and a general sense of well being.

At this level we experience unification of ourselves with all that is around us. In this state of dynamic balance the illusion of our separation is exposed and we can experience our oneness with all of life. Understanding your own unique prakriti also lets you understand the characteristic ways you respond to imbalances, your inherent strengths and weaker points. It allows you to gently mold and modify your own strategy for good health. It is the essential knowledge you need to determine what works best for you — what sort of diet, activities, and life-style are specifically appropriate for you. Also, type of balancing therapies and purification methods you will need in your daily routine, what seasonal balancing practices you'll need, and when they should be used.

Ayurveda considers each one of us as an indivisible unit. Separation of parts such as body and mind has little meaning outside the context of the whole. An assessment of the doshas is used to determine prakriti type. Your prakriti type is a description of your psychosomatic constitution and is the basis for your wellness and preventative medicine as well as your medical diagnosis and therapy."


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