You know alcoholism is a disease. It’s a disease that relies heavily on people giving a “helping hand” so that the alcoholic can continue to drink and feed his illness. It is not his fault. It’s the nature of the disease. Statistics show that an average of 8 people enable an alcoholic so that he continues to drink or use. 

What is enabling? 

Enabling is doing something for someone else that they can normally do for themselves under normal circumstances. For example, a normally functioning adult, under normal circumstances, can do his or her laundry. She can drive herself to her job. He can call his work if he’s sick. Do you get the picture? 

When you step in to do something for your alcoholic loved one that he should be doing for himself, you are enabling him to continue with his addiction. In order for him to get better, he must feel and experience each and every consequence of his actions. He cannot do this if you or anyone else is stepping in to remove his consequences. 

You’re a nice person and nice people do things for others right? 

That is true. However, alcoholism is a strange and baffling disease that is not only physical, emotional, and spiritual, but also behavioral and social. As long as someone else is doing something for him that he should do for himself, the disease will stay. It’s weird, but that’s the way this disease works. 

If you want a chance that he will sober up and get into recovery, when you stop enabling, it’s more likely to happen. 

Here are 10 ways to stop enabling:

  1. Do not lend or give him money at all, not even a dime. 
  2. Do not pour out his drinks.
  3. Do not buy her alcohol or drugs, never ever, never, never. 
  4. Do not make excuses for her behavior. It’s her behavior, not yours. 
  5. Do not call him in sick at work or lie to cover up his behavior. 
  6. Do not ridicule him, make fun of him or humiliate him. 
  7. Do not let him live at your place rent free. 
  8. Do not pick her up, clean her up, get her undressed or move her to a bed. Let her wake up in her own vomit, on the floor, or in the car. 
  9. Do not ever think or believe that this is your fault. 
  10. Set healthy boundaries and keep them. 

Finally, you are not punishing your alcoholic loved one. You are not being cruel. You are helping him realize the impact of his own actions. By stepping aside you are actually helping him get better. He may be angry but, “So what?” Anger comes when he sees his world unraveling before his eyes and that’s is what needs to happen as he’s hitting bottom. He needs to hit his bottom to get better. 

#alcoholism #enabling #health 

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Many myths and misconceptions surround the disease of alcoholism, one of which is that it’s not a disease. Rest assured, according to the medical definition of the word disease, it is most definitely categorized as a disease and has been recorded as such in American medical books since the 1800s. Let’s demystify alcoholism by these facts. Please share this with friends and family members who are skeptical about alcoholism. 

  1. Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive, and fatal disease

A chronic disease is defined as one, which is ongoing and doesn’t go away on its own. Examples of chronic diseases are diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and cancer. Alcoholism is a chronic disease that is progressive meaning, if left untreated, it will get worse over time. Finally, alcoholism is a fatal disease. The progression of alcoholism will lead to an untimely death. 

  1. Alcoholism does not discriminate between gender, religion, ethnicity, socio-economic status, level of education, or career choice. 

Anyone can become an alcoholic. Studies show that alcoholism hits harder with certain genetic predispositions and/ or certain ethnicities. Men seem to be more predisposed to alcoholism than women.  The Irish seem to be more predisposed than Asians. But all in all, no one group is completely excluded from being a victim to alcoholism. 

  1. You do not need to drink every day to be an alcoholic. 

Most often, drinking alcohol daily is not seen until late stage alcoholism (Stage 3 alcoholism). Binge drinking once weekly or even once monthly can qualify you as an alcoholic. Binge drinking means drinking more than 5 drinks in a period (a day or evening, for example) for a man or more than 4 drinks for a woman. One drink is a 12 oz glass of beer, 8-9 fluid ounces of malt liquor, a 5 fluid oz glass of wine or 1.5 oz of 80-proof distilled spirits. 

  1. You can have a job, have a home and pay your bills and still be an alcoholic. 

Many people think that in order to be qualified as an alcoholic they need to be homeless and eating out of trash cans. This is a common misconception. More often than not, alcoholics are high-functioning for a long time. 

  1. Alcohol misuse contributes to 88,000 deaths in the United States each year. And 1 in 10 deaths in all working adults are due to alcohol misuse (abuse). 

Alcohol misuse is a contributor to over 350 diseases and disorders. 

  1. Approximately 21 million adults in the United States suffer from Alcoholism or medically referred to as alcohol misuse disorder. However, only 10% are receiving treatment for alcoholism. 

Take into account that these numbers include those who are diagnosed. There are many more who will never be diagnosed by a medical professional. Do you see that your loved one is not the only one? Alcoholism is a very common disease, though it still lurks in the darkness. 

  1. One-third of all alcoholics die by suicide each year.  

Other alcohol-related untimely deaths include: accidents and injuries, liver disease, cancers and heart attacks. 

  1. Abstinence is the only way to arrest the disease of alcoholism. 

Alcoholics who want to get better and enter recovery must stop alcohol consumption and must not consume any other mind-altering substance. If an alcoholic goes back to drinking or using after a period of abstinence, the disease often comes back faster and stronger than before. 

  1. Alcoholism does tend to run in families. 

There is hard scientific evidence of a genetic link to alcoholism. Environmental factors, such as growing up in an alcoholic home, seem to contribute to the behavioral factors in alcoholism. 

  1. Early intervention and prevention work to get people on the road to recovery. 

Education and awareness start with you. You can help lift the disease of alcoholism out of the darkness by helping others understand the nature of the disease. You can help them know that it’s not shameful or a moral failing but a disease that can be treated. 

#alcoholism #addiction #alcoholic #recovery #sobriety #AlcoholicsAnonymous #AlAnon #ACOA

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You see the devastation of the alcoholic in your life. You see him struggling with finances, his job and how he as a hard time keeping a place to live. You know he’s hanging around the wrong kind of people.

So you feel sorry for him. You know he’s caught up in his addiction. You love him after all. You want to help him. From time to time, you lend him money. You give him a ride or offer him a place to stay. After all, that’s what you would do for anyone else you love who’s struggling right?

Alcoholism is a strange anomaly. This disease is unlike most. The rules that apply to other diseases don’t work in alcoholism.

If your family member just had a heart attack, you would certainly stay over her house, cook her meals, take care of her kids and see to it that she got well enough to get back on her feet. Maybe you would take walks with her to help her get her heart healthy or buy her some organic fruits and vegetables to help her eat better.

Alcoholism, a multi-faceted disease, defies all logic. The prescription for healing in other diseases doesn’t work for alcoholism. In fact, the more you “help” your alcoholic loved one, the sicker he becomes. His disease will last longer with your helping hand.

It can seem completely counterintuitive for you as a loving person yourself.

Alcoholism is a physical disease. But it is also a mental, social and relationship-dependent disease. Alcoholics count on others to help them get large amounts of alcohol to keep the addiction going. Make no mistake, he is sick. But the only way he has a chance of surviving is if he feels all and every consequence of his drinking.

Statistics show that every alcoholic has an average of 8 people who enable him. The only way he will get well is if that number goes down to zero.

It’s like chemotherapy treatment for cancer. Chemotherapy attacks the bad cells and the good cells. In order for the bad cells to go away, some good cells must be destroyed as well. And until the pathologist sees the cancer cells hit zero, good cells will still be destroyed.

This is where you come in. If the alcoholic is your brother, sister, son, daughter, mother, father, lover or best friend, this is so hard to you. But as you stop enabling, you are helping him or her fight the disease. You are not fighting against your loved one. When you say, “No,” you are saying no to the alcohol. Remember that.

Stay strong and God Bless.

#addiction #alcoholic #alcoholism #ACOA #AlcoholicSpouse #AlcoholicHusband #recovery #sobriety

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In the last post, we talked about the three different of Ayurvedic mind types called: doshas. Even if you read the description of Vata dosha and found that it described you completely, there are a few things you need to know about the Ayurvedic mind body type.

First of all, we have all three doshas in our mind body constitution, but each of us has different proportions of the three. Secondly, most people have two dominant doshas with the third falling far behind. For example, a person may be a pitta-vata but their kapha score is twice as low as the pitta score. A small portion of the population is dominant in a single dosha and an even smaller portion is tridoshic, where all three doshas are more or less the same. So the possibilities for Ayurvedic mind body types are as follows:

Vata
Pitta
Kapha
Vata-Pitta
Vata-Kapha
Pitta-Vata
Pitta-Kapha
Kapha-Vata
Kapha-Pitta
Vata-Pitta-Kapha

Your Ayurvedic mind body type is your genetic lot in life. It was the deck of cards you were dealt with at conception. So let’s suppose you were born with a fiery personality. You tend to have redness in the skin, are prone to breakouts, get irritated quite easily and are extremely driven. You were born with a fair amount of Pitta or fire and water in your mind body constitution. But let’s suppose you also move very fast, have difficulty gaining weight and have a racing mind. This means that you may also have a fair amount of Vata in your Ayurvedic mind body constitution. So your Ayurvedic mind body type would be Pitta-Vata.

Your natural mind body type is called your Prakruti. This is your nature. You cannot change it. Oftentimes, I get clients who say they want to be more of one dosha or another. You can only stay in balance when you are true to your prakruti.

Not let’s suppose that you read the description of the doshas and you said, “Oh yes, that’s it, I’m a Kapha type.” You have a lot of extra weight, you are tired and lethargic. You move a lot slower than before. You crave sweets. While it does sound like a kapha type (out of balance in some respects), you need to search into your past. When searching for prakruti, we look to all the years of life, since the time of birth. If in childhood, you were skinny, could eat anything, were very nervous and active, you may have been born with more Vata in you. But look at the rule above. I stressed that you cannot change your Ayurvedic mind body type. Right?

The answer is “yes”. However, through improper diet, lifestyle, experience and life choices, we can get so out of balance that we no longer present ourselves as our true nature. That is called Vikruti or our current state. Vikruti or our state of imbalance can mask our prakruti, sometimes completely.

So how then, you might say, do I discover my prakruti?

Self-awareness is the key. When you learn about the doshas and take a trip down memory lane, there are some consistencies about you. An Ayurvedic practitioner can also help you to discover both the prakruti and vikruti.

In the next blog post, we’ll discuss what we can learn through our prakruti or Ayurvedic mind body type.

#ayurveda #vikruti #prakruti #doshas #vata #tridoshic

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Never before, have we led more busy and divided lives.

In the West, we strive to arrive. From the time we awake until the time we crash at night, constant demands are put upon us to do more, to acquire more, accomplish more, communicate more and be more.

It is no wonder that, according to Medco Health Solutions in 2011, one in five Americans have taken or are taking drugs for mental health. That is 20% of all Americans. Twenty percent! Can you imagine? Why can’t we cope today without medication?

The reason is simple. We don’t respect the natural rhythms of nature.

If we look at nature all around us, it unfolds with least effort day-to-day, minute-to-minute, and second-to-second. A tree doesn’t sit around worrying all winter if it will bud in the summer. Deer, even though they are constantly driven from their homes with deforestation, simply move on and find new food and shelter.

In case you haven’t noticed, we’re a part of nature. Our bodies change according to the rhythms of day and night, the changing of the seasons, the phases of the moon. The simple cycle of day and night equal a principle of rest and activity.

What we’ve succumbed to is a cycle of activity, activity, activity, crash.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell you that if you put batteries in a flashlight, keep it on 24/7, those batteries will die sooner than if you use it for a little while then turn it off. The same goes for us.

We have a notion that if we don’t go out there and try as hard as we can to get what we want, life will slip away from us. However, when we are so out of touch with ourselves, we often waste time worrying, being ineffective or doing activities which don’t really help us get to what we want.

Have you ever tried swimming up a river? I have. It’s pretty challenging. But if you turn around and let the current push you, you don’t have to do anything at all. You can simply enjoy the ride.

How much are you enjoying this ride, called life?

There is a yoga sutra, from a sacred Vedic text called The Bhagavad Gita, which is yogastah kuru karmani and translates to, “Established in being, perform action”.

What this means is, wait until you are established in yourself, in the calm place that is connected to nature and ultimately to the universe to perform your daily duties.

It’s no use running around ungrounded, ruffled and in a hurry if you are not established in self and connected.

The way you can achieve this is by honoring least effort through meditation, prayer, contemplation, and/or silence daily. Take time to reconnect with nature and its rhythms. Make a vow to yourself to sit in silence some time each day. Take a class to learn meditation. Practice meditative movement like hatha yoga, Tai Chi or Qi Gong. Once you do this, then perform action, your life will be smooth sailing. Like a beautiful flower, each thing you desire will unfold effortlessly and easily.

#yoga #yogasutras #hathayoga #meditation #mentalhealth #lifestyle

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When I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 28, my first question to the doctor was, “Why did I get this?” And his answer was, “We simply don’t know why cancer occurs.”

Intuitively, this was not an answer for me. I knew, in my heart, that couldn’t be an answer.

I began to do a lot of research and soul searching. When I came upon Ayurvedic medicine, it made so much sense to me. Ayurveda works on the basis of balance versus imbalance. A big part of Ayurvedic medicine is going to the root cause of illness to see where it originated. Ayurveda believes you cannot cure a disease unless you know the etiology or cause of it.

The simple answer would be an imbalance in the doshas, or Ayurvedic mind body types. An imbalance is most certainly the reason you’re experiencing symptoms or full-blown illness but it’s likely that it’s not the root cause.

The root cause goes much deeper. Sometimes it’s a weakness in the body, which starts the doshic imbalance. Often it’s an unprocessed emotion or an accumulation of unprocessed food or substance in the body.

Western or allopathic medicine works on the basis of pathology. Typically, you don’t go to the doctor unless something is wrong. You aren’t feeling yourself or you have the manifestation of symptoms. Your healthcare provider makes an assessment of your current state of health including symptoms and strives to provide you with some relief. The relief may be medication of some form, blood or urine testing to rule out various illnesses, or in the event that it’s necessary, a surgical procedure. At any rate, the idea is to rid you of symptoms so you feel normal again. At best, it’s a Band-Aid approach and one faceted. When you mask symptoms or force them to go away through medication, oftentimes, other symptoms or problems arise because you haven’t gone to the root cause of a problem.

Ayurveda is a multifaceted approach. Not only does an Ayurvedic practitioner take into account the symptoms a person is experiencing, but he seeks to find which dosha is most out of balance. In advanced, stages of disease, this can be tricky. However, that is only one piece of the puzzle. The Ayurvedic practitioner will ask the client about her lifestyle, family life, job, marriage, financial situation, eating and sleeping habits, current medications, herbs and vitamin intake. He will observe the client’s mannerisms while speaking, her tone of voice, and demeanor. The Ayurvedic practitioner will gather all these clues to determine the best course of treatment for the client. Often, in taking the time to listen to the client, the Ayurvedic practitioner finds that her fears is subsided and as a consequence, so do some of the symptoms.

Finding the etiology or cause is not always 100% foolproof. We must understand that some disease is just left up to the powers that be.

As for my diagnosis, I went over every aspect of my life in search of the root cause. In the end, I did find it. Let’s suffice it to say that it was mostly emotional, personality and family-life based. It wasn’t easy to correct but I’ve strived to correct it ever since. And I think 18 years post diagnosis, I’ve been successful.

And now, I’ve dedicated my life’s work to helping others discover how to live in balance with the practice of Ayurvedic medicine.

#westernmedicine #allopathicmedicine #doshicimbalance 

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Earlier this month a report came out that first the first time since 1993, the U.S. death rate rose. That means that the overall life expectancy dropped. If you look at the numbers, it doesn’t appear significant but researchers say there is reason to be alarmed because life expectancy typically does not drop, especially in people under the age of 65, which is the case in this study.

Deaths were up for heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s and also from unintentional injuries and suicide. Robert Anderson, chief of the mortality statistics branch at the National Center for Health Statistics, believes that some of the reasons for these results are because of the obesity epidemic in the U.S. as well as the national crisis of prescription opioid abuse and misuse.

Let’s look at the leading causes of death in the U.S.

1. Heart disease
2. Cancer
3. Chronic lower respiratory diseases
4. Unintentional injuries
5. Stroke
6. Alzheimer’s disease
7. Diabetes
8. Influenza and pneumonia
9. Kidney disease
10. Suicide

Most of the diseases listed are chronic lifestyle diseases. Lifestyle diseases are those, which are directly affected by one’s actions, behaviors, the ability to manage stress and emotions. When a person is able to modify his or her behavior with a chronic lifestyle illness, his or her chances of living a longer and living a more productive and healthy life increase immensely.

Look at the experiment done by Dr. Dean Ornish who proved in his book, Program for Reversing Heart Disease, in 1995 that you could actually reverse heart disease by changing your diet, exercise regime and your outlook on life.

The prescription of our modern medical system in the United States is to prescribe medications to lower cholesterol, liquefy the blood through blood thinners, lower blood pressure, kill pain, improve the mood, etc.

All of the prescription medications have many side effects, which in turn, make the patient more ill. We are literally medicating patients to death.

Alternative medical systems, like Ayurveda, assist the patient in taking charge of his or her own health, by making healthy changes to enhance wellbeing. Ayurveda has been around for over 5,000-years and has withstood the test of time.

If death percentages are not enough, maybe look at the cost of medical care. Healthcare costs are rising and keep rising for the individual. When I spoke to a physician, with 25 years in practice, he said to me, “Michelle, health insurance is no longer for people with ill health. It’s just a security blanket for major medical emergencies, but cannot be relied on.” While the Affordable Healthcare Act, insured 20 million Americans who were previously uninsured (including the writer), we have all seen the monthly costs increase yearly for the past few years. Insurance companies have gotten smart and realized that payouts for so many sick people is costing them more. So they’ve raised their rates and increased deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses for the consumer.

Making lifestyle changes or teaching patients simple but transformative techniques and rewarding them for those changes is where our health care must go. If health insurance companies are smart, they will reimburse more for services like health classes, personal training sessions and consultations, massage, yoga, tai chi, acupuncture and even for vitamins and herbal medicines, such as turmeric pills, which are known to help with a whole host of symptoms.

A single set of chemotherapy treatments costs around $30,000
Heart bypass surgery costs between $70,000 to $200,000
To treat one person with diabetes, it costs around $10,000 annually.

Can you imagine if there was a menu of items where a patient could choose 20-40 treatments throughout the year, through their health insurance where they could select lifestyle change services?

Let’s say a patient chooses:

10 lifestyle or health consultations at $175 each
10 personal training sessions at $50 each
20 sessions of yoga at $15 per class
1 gym membership at $35/ month (I understand that many health insurance companies are already doing this.)
A selection of vitamins and herb capsules at $50/ month

We are talking about $3,570 per patient versus tens of thousands of dollars in payouts for medical expenses.

Even if we don’t get that far in our lifetime, think about your personal finances. Isn’t a few thousand dollars per year worth your life, your health, and your quality of life?

Our current medical system is not giving us the answers we need to get and stay healthy. It can no longer be a trusted model. It’s time we expand and look to other ways to regain and maintain our health and wellbeing.

Wishing you perfect health always,

Michelle

#wellness #lifestyle #well-being #healthy

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In 2005, I was deep into my study of Ayurveda. It wasn’t formal training at that time, but I was reading everything I could about health, wellness, and this deeply detailed medical system. I had seen the results in my life and wondered if there was a way I could help others who might be fed up and frustrated with the current medical system.

My opportunity to help wasn’t far off. My husband (at the time) came to me with a plea. His father had been diagnosed with almost certain kidney failure. His creatinine levels were high and the doctors feared he would be on kidney dialysis within a short amount of time. My husband asked me if I would put together a program and talk to his father to help him change his lifestyle.

I was a bit embarrassed and bothered, firstly because I didn’t have a really close relationship with my father-in-law and secondly, because I didn’t have any degrees or certifications, at the time, in Ayurveda or alternative health. Still, I agreed to help. I made a booklet, over the course of a few days, outlining his new lifestyle plan based on the principles of Ayurveda.

We met and I sat with him for a couple of hours explaining how he could start to heal naturally. The amazing part was that he actually sat and listened. (I think the possibility of being handed a life sentence was a motivating factor.) The next amazing part is that for the next 30 days, he followed the plan.

In those 30 days, he lost 30 pounds due to the mostly plant-based diet I had suggested he start. I also had him drinking a ton of water at room temperature to help flush out his kidneys. He began walking for 10-15 minutes after every meal. I had him replace coffee with some herbal and green teas. The best part of all is that in 30 days his creatinine levels had gone down, something the doctors had said was impossible for his health condition.

Once he got the good news, my father-in-law fell back into his old patterns, which of course worsened his condition. But the proof was in the pudding. 30-days on an Ayurvedic lifestyle diet worked to start reversing a condition that the doctors said was irreversible.

It was that family experiment that got me on my path to teaching others about Ayurveda. I was convinced that it does work and not just for myself but for others too.

And it can and will work for you and your loved ones.

As a healer, we are not about prescribing pills or doling out herbal remedies. We’re about investing in people and getting to the bottom of why they are sick in the first place. Through this investment, I felt my father-in-law and I got closer. We had this little bond we never had had before.

Ultimately, my father-in-law passed away in January of 2015. It had been several years since I had seen him after my divorce and living across the Atlantic. But after he passed, I had a dream about him, where he was visiting me and I saw Angel come and take him to heaven. I felt, in a strange way, that was God’s way of saying that he was O.K. after all those years, and that vision was my thank you for helping him.

#lifestyle #herbalmedicine #ayurveda #health

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Instinctively, over 5,000 years ago, practitioners of Ayurveda observed nature, including humans, and realized we are not all built the same. We are, however, made up of the building blocks of nature but we simply have different proportions of these elements in our bodies, minds and personalities.

In other words, before the concept of genes was discovered, Ayurvedic medicine understood we have different bodies, minds and personalities from the moment of our conception.

These Ayurvedic mind body types are called doshas. They are composed of the five elements: space, air, fire, water and earth.

The first Ayurvedic mind body type is called Vata and is made up of space and air. Vata types are usually thin with angular features. They are quick to move and ever changing. They enjoy new things, and often change jobs, careers, interests or relationships. A Vata type is most often the life of the party and friendly. When a Vata type is in balance, they have burst of energy, walk fast and talk fast, are creative and communicative. A Vata out of balance becomes anxious, worried or even neurotic. They tend to have cold hands, feet and have delicate digestion. Do you know someone who paces while they talk on the phone? Or maybe, someone who resists routine and is unpredictable? It’s likely that person has a fair amount of Vata in his or her Ayurvedic mind body type.

Pitta is the second Ayurvedic mind body type. It is comprised of the elements of fire and water. Just like the primary element indicates, Pitta types are fiery, passionate, driven. They tend to be goal oriented, good leaders, enjoy education and factual knowledge. Pitta body types are mesomorphic or medium build. They have beautiful eyes and a warm gaze. Pitta types need to eat on time or they get cranky. When in balance, Pitta types are warm, intellectual, interesting, and attractive. An out of balance Pitta can be quite scary to the receiver of the imbalance. They get angry, critical, or judgmental. Do you know someone whose skin is very warm to the touch? Does that person have eyes that melt your heart by a simple gaze or is completely goal oriented? You probably have someone with a majority of Pitta in his or her Ayurvedic mind body type.

The third Ayurvedic mind body type is called Kapha. No one likes to be a Kapha when they read what a Kapha type is, but Kapha types have many great qualities. Kapha is comprised of water and earth. Needless to say, Kapha types are earthy and stable. Since water and earth make mud, Kapha types are grounded, more heavy physically than Vata and Pitta types, and are slow movers. Kapha types have great physical stamina. They almost never get sick. Everything about them is slow. They eat and walk slowly. They adore routine. Kapha types are probably the most trustworthy friends you will ever meet. A Kapha friend might say, “I can look at a piece of cake and gain 10 pounds.” In balance a Kapha type is kind, trustworthy, affectionate and reliable. Out of balance, a Kapha type gains weight, can get depressed, can become possessive or become inert. Do you know someone who has struggled with his or her weight since birth? Does this person hold a record for being the most reliable person in your life? Does he or she prefer to stay at home and read a good book rather than go out? If so, you may know a Kapha type.

We have all three of the doshas or Ayurvedic mind body types within each of us since we are all made up of space, air, fire, water and earth. We simply have different proportions of each. In the next blog post, we’ll discuss what it means to know your Ayurvedic mind body type.

#ayurveda #ayurvedic #AyurvedicDosha #doshas #vata #pitta #kapha

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