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Advanced Yoga Study ( By Swami Dharmananda
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Physical Constitution (Prakriti - Body Type)

A knowledge of our body-mind constitution is the key to find balance, healing and perfect health. Our constitution is formed from the doshas. At the time of conception each person's combination of vata, pitta and kapha is determined by the combination present in the parents. The unique combination at conception is called 'Prakriti'. This prakriti do not change during a person's life time. At the time of birth our constitution is made up of these doshas in a particular ratio. That ratio is more or less a fixed mold in which our constitution is shaped. That mold is fixed and does not change through out life. This mold differs from person to person and gives each personality his own inherent characteristics. Nature's purpose is to create variety, these different molds provides the variety. Each variety has its own beauty and charm and serve a good purpose in nature's plans. Although the mold remains fixed, the doshas that constitutes it are always in a state of flux, i.e. constantly changing. Sometimes they get aggravated and sometimes depleted. Our thoughts, emotions and activities constantly affect the doshas. Finding the right balance in life means to keep the doshas as close to the mold as possible neither allowing them to be aggravated nor depleted, and making the best use of the inherent qualities of the doshas.

People generally think that balancing the doshas means, having equal amounts of vata, pitta and kapha. This is wrong. One cannot change the ratio of the doshas with which one is born. That ratio is our prakriti our nature. We cannot push our doshas into a ratio that is better than the one we are born with. By trying to do so we only distance ourselves from our nature. This ratio is the ideal balance for the three doshas during the whole of one's life. Everything that we do, see, feel, taste or smell affects the doshas and changes the ratio. After the change the doshas must fall back to the normal ideal balance. If this returning to the balance point is not achieved for a prolonged period then a state called vikriti is created. This means we have deviated from our nature or prakriti. This deviation will sooner o later manifest as a disease. Knowledge of our body-mind constitution or prakriti will help us to ensure that this deviation is kept to its minimum. The following is a test to determine our body-type.

Ayurveda Body-Type Test
The following quiz is divided into three sections. For the first 18 questions, which apply to vata dosha, read each statement and mark, from 1 to 6, as it applies to you.

 

1-2       =          applies very little
3-4       =          applies to me somewhat (or some of the time)
5-6       =          applies to me very much (or nearly all of the time)


At the end of the section, write down your total vata score. For example, if you mark a 6 for the first question, a 3 for the second and a 2 for the third, your total up to that point would be 6+3+2=11. Total the entire section in this way, and you arrive at your final vata score. Proceed to the 12 questions for pitta and 13 questions for kapha. When your are finished, you will have three separate scores. Comparing these will determine your body-type.

For fairly objective physical traits, your choice will usually be obvious. For mental traits and behavior, which are more subjective, you should answer according to how you have felt and acted most of your life, or at least for the past few years.

 

   
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The COMPLETE 'Advanced Yoga Study' Book also includes exhaustive chapter on Hatha Yoga practices and Asanas AND Objective Tests to help you evaluate your body composition.

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