In the science of Ayurvedic body care there are two key principles which always have to be taken into account when determining your ideal health & hygiene routine (dinacarya) as well as the best body care products to use for you: your prakṛti (innate body type and constitution) and your vikṛti (present state and condition).
Prakṛti is one’s own inherent physical constitution determined at conception. This is your basic nature and body type, having a unique balance of the body’s three doṣas (vāta, pitta & kapha). There are three main body types and six sub-types determined by the natural balance of doṣas in your body:
- Vāta type (with Vāta-pitta & Vāta-kapha sub-types)
- Pitta type (with Pitta-vāta & Pitta-kapha sub-types)
- Kapha type (with Kapha-vāta & Kapha-pitta sub-types)
In determining your ideal health and hygiene routine it is important to have a clear understanding of your innate body type. This will help to determine a wide number of things in your routine such as:
- Which kind of body care products to use
- Which exercises and workouts are most important
- Which kind of diet is best
- How many hours to sleep
- And much more
For example, persons of the Kapha type ought to eat lighter foods with warming and stimulating herbs and spices like cinnamon and cloves and take regular vigorous exercise. Though they may feel like sleeping a lot, Kapha body-types actually are best when getting the least amount of sleep, somewhere in the range of 6-7 hours.
Likewise persons of Vāta nature ought to eat more nourishing foods, sleep longer and exercise with regularity and moderation.
And so on for Pitta, as well as for each of the six subtypes which will all have their minor differences and adjustments from the base type.
Vikṛti – Your Present State and Condition
While prakṛti describes your innate nature and body type, vikṛti describes the present state and condition of the body and the current balance or imbalance of the body’s three doṣas. Your vikṛti is determined by many factors such as your state of health, your age, your level of fitness and conditioning, your diet, the season and the climate where you live, etc.
For example, while a person may have been born with a Kapha nature, vāta tends to increase as a person becomes elderly and the health and hygiene routine has to be adjusted accordingly to account for this factor.
In the same way, though one may have a Kapha nature, one may live in a very dry or desert-like climate and thus an increase of dry vāta due to the environment may lead to dry skin or brittle nails, which are conditions not commonly encountered by Kapha body types. In such cases, remedies may be prescribed to counteract the dryness of the skin, though this would not be normally recommended for Kapha body types as they tend to have oily skin by nature.
Depending on the situation, vikṛti can be even more important than prakṛti, though in reality both have to be seen in combination.
As we explained above, your ideal body care routine (including which are the best body care products for you!), will be determined by both your prakṛti and your vikṛti — not just your prakṛti alone.
If you are being advised by a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner then you have not much to worry as this is a basic concept taught to all Ayurvedic physicians. But if you are selecting your own body care products, it is an important principle to keep in mind. Selecting Ayurvedic products labeled as for a particular doṣa or body-type which matches to your body type is a very basic rule of thumb and is generally advised. But without taking into consideration your vikṛti based on your age, the climate and season, and other important factors, this may not always be the ideal choice.
To give a practical example, Auromère offers two basic varieties of Ayurvedic shampoo: Neem Plus 5 Ayurvedic Shampoo for Kapha & Pitta body types and Aloe Vera-Neem Ayurvedic Shampoo for Vāta & Pitta body types. So as a general rule, a person with Kapha body type should use the Neem plus 5 Shampoo variety, but if due to age, season, climate, etc. one’s hair is at the moment excessively dry (or it can simply be from too much swimming in chlorinated pools!), one ought to use the moisturizing Aloe Vera-Neem Shampoo variety until the balance is restored.
So when selecting the right Ayurvedic products for you, please consider both your body type and your present condition, and in this way you can choose the right product for you at this moment and get the best therapeutic benefit!