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Aug 18, 2017

Questionnaire to Determine Ayurvedic Constitution

Deborah A. Wiancek, N.D.

This questionnaire is provided to help you determine your Ayurvedic constitution.  Select one answer for each question.  If more than one answer is applicable, choose the one that applies the most.  Some answers will be obvious (such as hair color, height, dry skin, etc.).  Others will be more subjective and variable.  If in doubt, answer according to how you have been for most of your life, especially for the past few years.  At the end of the questionnaire, add the number of A’s, B’s, and C’s to determine your body-mind constitution.
Body Frame
A.£ Taller or shorter than average, thin and slender, with prominent joints and thin muscles.               B.£ Medium build, with good muscle development.                                                                              C.£ Large, round, solid body frame, with a heavy bone structure.
A.£ Low; difficulty gaining weight.                                                                                                     B.£ Moderate; it’s easy to gain weight or lose weight if I put my mind to it.                                      C.£ Heavy; I gain weight easily and have difficulty losing it.
Hair – two or more of the following options:
A.£ Dry, coarse, kinky, curly, brown, black.                                                                                         B.£ Fine, soft, red, light brown, blonde, prematurely graying or balding.                                          C.£ Abundant, thick, oily, wavy, brown, black.
A.£ Small, dry, brown, active.                                                                                                              B.£ Sharp, penetrating, green, blue, gray, with reddish or yellowish sclera.                                        C.£ Large, attractive, brown or deep blue, with white sclera.
A.£ Crooked, uneven or with large spaces, sensitive to hot or cold, need for braces.                          B.£ Medium-sized, yellowish, gums bleed easily.                                                                               C.£ Large, straight, white.
A.£ Dry, rough, thin, darker (relative to family), tans easily.                                                               B.£ Fair skin, sunburns easily, warm, reddish in color, prone to irritation.                                          C.£ Moist, thick, smooth. 
A.£ Cold hands and feet, dislikes cold weather, prefers warm environments.                                     B.£ Usually warm regardless of season, sweats easily, prefers cooler environments.                         C.£ Cool (not cold) and clammy, adaptable to most temperatures but dislikes cool, wet weather.
A.£ Unpredictable and variable; sometimes not hungry at mealtimes and hungry between meals.                                                                                                                                                      B.£ Strong; acutely aware of mealtimes, irritable when delaying or missing a meal, can digest large quantities of food.                                                                                                                                   C.£ Moderate; can comfortably miss a meal, feels best with smaller quantities of food.
Bowel Movements
A.£ Irregular, tends toward constipation, hard and dry stool, accompanied by gas.                               B.£ Regular, two or more bowel movements per day, loose/soft stools, occasional burning.                  C.£ Regular pattern, usually one large, full bowel movement per day.
A.£ Light or interrupted, insomnia, 5-7 hours per night.                                                                      B.£ Sound, 6-8 hours per night.                                                                                                             C.£ Deep, uninterrupted, love to sleep, slow to waken
A.£ Flying, running, fear, searching, traveling.                                                                                    B.£ Fire, conflict, anger, vivid colors, passion, jealousy.                                                                     C.£ Water, romance, sadness, ocean, clouds, short dreams.
Work Habits
A.£ Selfless, often volunteers to help out.                                                                                            B.£ Works intensely, especially to achieve personal goals.                                                                  C.£ Procrastinates, sometimes lazy, takes time to complete projects.
Activity Pattern
A.£ Performs activities very quickly, energy levels fluctuate and come in bursts, often multi-tasks, easily distracted and may not complete projects.                                                                                   B.£ Performs activities intensely and efficiently, perfectionist mindset, likely to become aggravated if interrupted or encounter difficulties.                                                                                                   C.£ Performs activities slowly, calmly, and deliberately, steady energy level with good endurance and stamina.
Learning Pattern
A.£ Very quick learner, but forgets things easily.                                                                                 B.£ Moderately quick learner, clear on details, average memory.                                                        C.£ Slow learner, but never forgets information once it is learned.

Disease Pattern
A.£ Joint aches, low back pain, indigestion, intestinal gas, constipation, insomnia, anxiety, fatigue, weakness, dryness.                                                                                                                                   B.£ Skin conditions (rashes, acne), ulcers, inflammations, fevers.                                                      C.£ Respiratory conditions, cough with mucus, sinus/nose/throat congestion, benign growths, obesity, diabetes, fluid retention.
A.£ Lively, easily excitable, changeable moods, enthusiastic.                                                             B.£ Perfectionist, driven, intense, opinionated.                                                                                    C.£ Easy-going, calm, satisfied, accepting.
Reaction to Stress
A.£ Fearful, anxious and/or worried.                                                                                                    B.£ Anger, irritability, and/or aggressive.                                                                                             C.£ Withdrawn and/or reclusive.
Sensitive to:
A.£ Noise.                                                                                                                                             B.£ Bright lights.                                                                                                                                   C.£ Strong odors.
My family and friends might prefer me to be:
A.£ Settled.                                                                                                                                            B.£ Tolerant.                                                                                                                                          C.£ Enthusiastic.
This questionnaire made me feel:
A.£ Indecisive.                                                                                                                                        B.£ Annoyed.                                                                                                                                           C.£ Sleepy.

Final Score:        A._____          B._____          C._____ 
                                   œ                      œ                      œ             
                                Vata                 Pitta              Kapha                         

The letter A corresponds to Vata
B corresponds to Pitta.  
C corresponds to Kapha.   
Your predominant dosha(s) determine your Ayurvedic constitution.  Some individuals have one predominant dosha (either vata, pitta, or kapha).  Some individuals have two equally predominant doshas (for example, pitta-vata or kapha-pitta).  Rarely, a few individuals will have equal proportions of all three doshas.  While not an exact tool, this questionnaire should give you a good idea of your unique Ayurvedic constitution.  A better and more exact determination of your constitution requires the insight and skill-set (including face, tongue, and pulse diagnosis) of a trained Ayurvedic practitioner.     

Ayurveda and the 3 doshas

Vata represents the biological elements of air and space.  It has the qualities of dry, cold, light, quick, erratic, rough, unstable, and moving.  Vata governs all movement in the mind and body.  It controls blood flow, elimination of wastes, breathing, and movement of thoughts across the mind.  Vata governs the other two doshas (pitta and kapha) and so it’s very important to keep Vata in good balance to ensure the other two doshas are not imbalanced.
Characteristics of Vata Type
-Light, thinner build                                                  -Quick to grasp new information
-Tendency for dry skin                                             -Quick to forget
-Aversion to cold weather                                        -Irregular hunger and digestion
-Tendency toward light and interrupted sleep      -Tendency toward constipation
Imbalanced Vata
Physical Manifestations                                        Psychological Manifestations
-Intolerance to wind and cold                                  -Overactivity of the mind
-Constipation                                                             - Anxiety, inability to relax
-Flatulence, intestinal gas                                         -Inability to concentrate
-Dry skin and chapped lips                                       -Worry
-Menstrual cramps                                                    -Restlessness
-Loss of energy or stamina                                       -Impatience
-Severe and acute pains                                            -Depression  
-Joint aches or arthrtitis                                           -Insomnia
-Back pain, especially low back pain                       -Fatigue
-Muscle spasms                                                         -Loss of appetite

Guidelines for Balancing Vata
-Get plenty of rest and quiet time (this is all-important for any Vata problem)
-Stay warm
-Eat a Vata-pacifying diet and eat regularly
-Drink lots of warm fluids
-Avoid cold food and drinks
-Use herbs and spices that are Vata-reducing
            -Heating spices
            -Ashwagandha, fresh ginger,   
            -Triphala (amla, bibhitaki, haritaki)
-Maintain a regular daily routine (mealtimes, bedtimes, etc.)
-Massage your body with sesame oil each morning
-Take a long, warm shower or bath in the morning
-Perform mild exercises (simple yoga stretches, walking, tai chi)
-Avoid mental strain or over-stimulation (loud music, violent movies, long hours of TV or computer, particularly in the evening)
-Make your surroundings light, bright, and cheerful
-Do not drink alcohol, or caffeine while trying to balance Vata
-Healing mantra: “slow down”

Pitta represents the biological elements of fire and water.  Pitta has the qualities of hot, moist, light, fluid, sour smelling, sharp, intense, and penetrating.  It governs all heat, metabolism, and transformation in the mind and body.  It controls how we digest foods, ideas, and sensory perceptions.  It governs the all-important digestive agni’s or fires in the body.
Characteristics of Pitta Type
-Moderate build/ muscular                                      -Tendency of irritability and anger
-Aversion to hot weather                                         -Good speaker
-Sharp hunger and digestion                                    -Enterprising, sharp in character
-Can’t skip meals                                                       -Tendency for reddish complexion,
                                                                                    hair, moles, and freckles
Imbalanced Pitta
Physical Manifestations                                        Psychological Manifestations
-Sharply increased hunger or thirst                        -Anger
-Increased acidity, heartburn, ulcers                      -Irritability
-Intolerance to heat                                                  -Hostile behavior
-Sunburn, sunstroke                                                 -Rage                                                 
-Skin inflammations and rashes                              -Impatience
-Hot flashes                                                                -Criticism (of self/others)
-Bloodshot eyes                                                         -Arrogant argumentation
-Acne                                                                          -Aggressive, domineering behavior
-Sour body odors
-Bad breath
-Rectal burning, hemorrhoids
-Dark yellow feces and urine

Guidelines for Balancing Pitta
-Seek coolness in all forms (through diet, herbs, being in nature, keeping thermostat below 70 degrees when you sleep, not lingering in the hot bath too long, etc)  
-Eat a Pitta-reducing diet
-Eat whenever hungry
-Use herbs and spices that are Pitta-reducing
            -Cooling spices
            -Gentian root, mint leaves, mild laxatives (psyllium seed or flax seed)
            -Triphala (amla, bibhitaki, haritaki)
-Be attentive to taking in only pure food, water, and air (since Pitta is especially sensitive to impurities of any kind)
 -Avoid alcohol and artificial stimulants (both of which are like throwing kerosene on a fire)
-Avoid strenuous physical exercise or overheating yourself outdoors
-Take time to wind down from activity; alternating rest and activity is the basic rhythm of life
-Try cooling breathing exercises
            1. Open your mouth to form an “O” shape.
2. With your mouth in this position, form a funnel with your tongue and place it between your lips.
3. Slowly inhale through your tongue, swallow the breath, and feel the
breath in your heart.
4. Relax your tongue and mouth, then exhale through your mouth.
5. Repeat this exercise for three minutes, twice daily.
-Healing mantra: “let go”

Kapha represents the biological elements of water and earth.  Kapha has the qualities of heavy, cold, wet, slow, steady, soft, smooth, oily, and sweet.  It governs all structure and lubrication in the mind and body.  It controls weight, growth, lubrication for the joints and lungs, and formation of all seven tissues in the body.
Characteristics of Kapha Type
-Solid, heavier build                                                  -Tranquil, steady personality
-Great strength and endurance                               -Slow to grasp new information
-Slow, methodical in activity                                    -Slow to forget (good memory)
-Oily, smooth skin                                                      -Sleep is heavy and long
Imbalanced Kapha
Physical Manifestations                                        Psychological Manifestations
-Congested sinuses, nose, throat                             -Lethargy
-Cough with mucus                                                   -Dullness
-Sore throat with runny nose                                   -Mental inertia
-Frequent colds                                                         -Oversleeping
-Intolerance to cold and damp                                 -Daytime drowsiness
-Allergies, asthma                                                      -Depression
-Obesity and high cholesterol                                  -Lack of motivation
-Diabetes                                                                    -Procrastination
-Edema and fluid retention                                      -Over-attachment
-Bloating, nausea, indigestion                                  -Greed
-Pale and cold skin                                                    -Possessiveness
-Cysts and other growths

Guidelines for Balancing Kapha
-Stay warm
-Avoid cold and damp (consider using a dry sauna or doing Bikram yoga)
-Eat a Kapha-reducing diet
-favor warm, light, dry, spicy foods
-favor bitter, pungent, astringent tastes
-reduce oily, cold, heavy foods
-reduce sweet, salty, and sour tastes
-it is particularly important to reduce sweetness (irrespective of  calories, Kaphas will gain weight and go out of balance when eating sweet foods)
-prepare fresh meals, avoid leftovers
-avoid eating early in morning  (before 10am) or late at night (after 7pm)
-it is important not to overeat if you are a Kapha type
-Learn the joy of fasting (seasonally or one day per week)
-Use herbs and spices that are Kapha-reducing
            -Heating spices
            -Trikatu (dry ginger, black pepper, pipilli)
            -Triphala (amla, bibhitaki, haritaki)
            -Honey (but no more than 2 tablespoons per day)
            -Stimulants: green tea, yerba mate’, coffee and black tea (all in moderation)
-Drink only warm fluids and warming herbal teas, in moderation
-Perform a full-body dry massage each morning to stimulate circulation (using gloves or dry loofah)
-Try right nostril breathing exercises (close your left nostril with your index and middle fingers, breathe in and out of the right nostril slowly) (this is heating to the body and raises digestive fire and increases metabolism)
-Engage in regular and vigorous exercise, preferably everyday
-Avoid excessive sleeping and napping during the day
-Break free from old habits, seek variety in life, and accept motivating challenges

-Healing Mantra: “move your body”

12 Ways to Dodge Dementia

Did you know that your brain starts to deteriorate 30 to 50 years before you have any symptoms? Losing your memory or developing brain fog in your 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, or even 80s is not normal—it’s a sign of trouble. By adopting these brain healthy strategies, you can outsmart your genes, put the brakes on aging, and even reverse the aging process so that you look and feel younger in a short period of time!
 1. Drink water. Your brain is 80% water, so anything that dehydrates it (such as too much caffeine or alcohol) should be avoided. How much water should you drink? ½ your body weight in ounces is best. Example: if you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water each day.
2. Get enough sleep – at least 7-8 hours per night.
3. Move your body! Studies show that exercise will help prevent Alzheimer’s and boost your energy, mood, metabolism, and the ability to create new brain cells. Exercise truly is the closest thing to a happiness pill that you will ever find!
4. Protect yourself from brain injuries… period.
5. Embrace your sense of meaning and purpose, and keep a gratitude journal.
6. Eat breakfast and keep your blood sugar balanced so that you can make great decisions about how to care for your brain and body. Try this Groovy Smoothie!
7. Maintain a healthy weight. Studies show that as your weight goes up, the size and function of your brain goes down. Don’t know your BMI? Use this calculator.
8. Free yourself from toxins:
·         Limited alcohol: no more than 2-4 glasses a week.
·         If you smoke, quit!
·         Eat lots of antioxidants and super-nutrient foods to gain protection from brain-damaging free radicals.
9. Become a lifelong learner. In a way, your brain is like a muscle—the more you use it, the stronger it gets!
10. Practice effective stress/anxiety management techniques, such as meditation, ANT therapy and online brain games that are designed to boost emotional control and stress resilience.
·         Take a multiple vitamin/mineral supplement
·         Take an Omega-3 supplement
·         Optimize your Vitamin D level
12. Learn about the health of your brain and continuously strive to improve it.

Are You at Risk For Osteoporosis?

As many as 54 million Americans have low bone density and many of them don’t even know it. Ten million of them have such low bone density they actually have osteoporosis.

You could be at risk for low bone density and osteoporosis if you:
  • Are a woman – especially if you’ve had a hysterectomy or are peri- or postmenopausal
  • Are over 50 years old (although you start losing more bone than you create by age 30 or 35)
  • Have an inactive lifestyle
  • Have amenorrhea because of extreme exercise
  • Are a heavy user of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, sugar, or carbonated beverages
  • Have a chronic health condition such as diabetes, malabsorption, celiac disease, or hyperthyroidism
  • Are small-boned and consistently below normal weight for someone your size
  • Are taking certain prescription medications long-term, such as steroids or anticonvulsants
  • Are deficient in certain key nutrients, including vitamin D and vitamin K and the minerals calcium and magnesium*
  • Don’t get enough exposure to the sun because you live in a high latitude, you don’t get outside enough, or your skin is always covered when you’re outside
  • Have a low level of testosterone – even if you are a woman
  • Are of Anglo-Saxon or Asian descent
  • Have a family history of osteoporosis

How do you know if you have osteoporosis?
Both osteopenia (characterized by low bone mineral density [BMD] that is not extreme enough to be called osteoporosis) and early-to-middle stages of osteoporosis are silent diseases because they have no symptoms.

Hence, low bone mineral density can go undetected until a bone is broken – often resulting from a situation that should not have caused a fracture. A diagnosis of osteoporosis is often found accidentally, such as when a bone is being x-rayed to determine the existence of a fracture.

Typically, when low bone mass shows up on an x-ray, as much as one-third of the person’s bone mass has already been lost.

The only way to detect the bone loss associated with osteopenia is with a bone scan – most commonly a low-radiation DXA scan (Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry) of the hip and spine. A bone scan can detect even small changes in a person’s bone density.

On the other hand, advanced osteoporosis will usually present with symptoms such as bone pain, backache, curvature of the upper spine presenting as a hump, and loss of height from vertebral compression fractures.

Some good options
This advice can’t be offered enough – bank bone early in life! It’s never too early to begin worrying about the state of your bone health. You can start by getting regular exercise. Go outside in the sunshine and do something you like so it’s not a chore.

Eat a bone-healthy diet, such as:

  • Green leafy vegetables like kale, bok choy, broccoli, and cabbage, which are sources of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin K (but avoid spinach as a source of calcium, because it is high in oxalates that bind calcium)
  • Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt, which are good sources of calcium, vitamin K, and vitamin D (most milk in the U.S. and all milk in Canada is fortified with vitamin D)
  • Fish, such as sardines with small, edible bones that are a good source of calcium; oily fish, especially wild-caught salmon, which provide a good source of vitamin D
  • Soy products, which are sources of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin K (fermented soy)
  • Almonds and sesame seeds/sesame butter, which are good sources of calcium and magnesium
  • Beans and other legumes, which are a good source of calcium and magnesium
  • Avocadoes, which provide a good source of magnesium
  • And, yes, dark chocolate, which is high in magnesium

Nutrient content of foods can vary widely
Although eating 
bone-healthy foods that are high in vitamin D, vitamin K, calcium, and magnesium should be encouraged, it can be difficult to get the ideal amounts of these nutrients from your diet alone. Particularly because the amounts of these nutrients in foods can vary widely.

For example, a study of the vitamin D content of farmed salmon found they had only 25 percent of the amount of vitamin D as wild-caught salmon.
1 The study found an average of 988 IU vitamin D3 in 3.5 ounces of wild-caught salmon compared to an average of 240 IU vitamin D3 in farm-raised salmon.
I work with my patients to getting to the cause of their bone loss which can include nutritional & vitamin & mineral deficiencies and hormonal deficiencies. I have had eighty year old patients who have reversed their osteoporosis.