In Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga ad the science of life, we begin with needing to understand your unique constitution, your dosha. Your dosha is made up of a combination of inherited physical and emotional qualities: Pitta, Vata and Kapha. Most people are dominant in one or two. Rarely we find the individual who is equal in all doshas in their constitution. Once you begin to understand your dosha, you can make lifestyle choices that will help to live a healthy land well balanced lifestyle. Take the dosha quizon pages 19 and 20 in your Essential Yoga Practice book. Answer all the questions based on general lifelong tendencies, not recent conditions. The answer will be your “prakriti”, your unique constitution. In the practice of Ayurveda, aromatherapy can be used to balance the doshas and certain aromas may alter the rhythmic components of your prakriti. This can directly affect wellness because of the affect of scents on our limbic system. Typically, scents that appeal to you are good for you, and though that is very general, more specific use of essential oils and herbs are worth learning about. For example, Pittas need cooling scents and also scents that are sweet and hydrating like sandalwood and jasmine, lotus, gardenia, and lavender. Vatas need scents that are grounding and help with focus, like geranium, rose, neroli, wintergreen and peppermint. Kaphas need aromas that are both stimulating and are expectorants like eucalyptus, white fir, pine, cedarwood, and melaluca. Essential oils are carbon based, full of life force or prana, and are highly concentrated essences from plants. They all fight free radicals and have antimicrobial properties that work against anything that is unnatural and or chemical. Synthetic scents have no benefit and actually contribute to the toxic load of our environment and to our bodies. Synthetic products aggravate the nervous system and the doshas and can lead to many adverse reactions. It is critical as you begin to experiment with using aromatherapy, that you use pure, potent essential oils. Do not use any product that lists a “fragrance” as one of the ingredients, as it is a chemical scent. Imbalance in doshas can come with the change of season, environment, diet, lack of sleep, illness, toxic load, age, injury, emotional hurdles,… It is amazing that something as simple as a natural solution of a gift from the earth, can trigger the reset of the nervous system that can help to bring back balance to your prakriti and to your daily life. In each month, one week will be set aside for direction on Ayurveda and aromatherapy in this blog. Stay tuned and join us on this journey!