Balance your body with Yoga and an Ayurvedic Diet

A lot of people in the world today are unhappy and/or over-weight. This is most often as a direct result of a poor diet resulting in an imbalance within the body. It’s a diet that is commonly driven predominantly by three of the six tastes (rasas); sweet, salty and sour. Pungent, bitter and astringent are often omitted.

According to Ayurvedic (Ayur=life, veda=science) principles, established by the sages of India thousands of years’ ago, each taste is associated with one or more of three doshas (vata, pitta, kapha). Doshas are made up of a combination of the five elements in the universe: 

  1. Vayu (air)
  2. Agni (fire)
  3. Jala (water)
  4. Prithvi (earth)
  5. Akasha (ether)

Ayurvedic principles state that the three doshas should be in balance in order to maintain a healthy, balanced body.

The three doshas are: 

  1. Vata is made up of Air & Ether and is called the “King of doshas”. It is responsible for movement and flow. Vata types are prone to nervousness.
  2. Pitta is made up of Fire & Water and is responsible for heat, metabolism, digestion and emotion. Pitta types are prone to tempers.
  3. Kapha is made up of Water & Earth and is responsible for bodily substances, such as the lymphatic and immune systems. Kapha types are prone to weight gain.

From a Western medical point of view we have six hormones that are associated with the six tastes and they should also be in balance. The list below shows each hormone and their associated function: 

  1. Ghrelin – hunger stimulation
  2. Cortisol – deals with stress
  3. Adiponectin – breaks down fat
  4. Adrenaline – fight or flight
  5. Leptin – inhibits appetite
  6. Insulin – regulates carbohydrate and fat metabolism

By simply incorporating all six tastes into our diet we can aim to keep not only our doshas but also our hormones in balance resulting in happier, healthier lives.

The table below shows the association of each taste with the doshas and hormones as well as some guide as to what foods fall under each taste: 






Vata & Pitta


Fruit, grain, dairy, nuts, chicken, fish




Rock salt, sea salt, salty snacks, sea vegetables




Citrus fruit, yoghurt, cheese, wine, vinegar, soy sauce




Chillies, radishes, garlic, onions, black pepper, ginger


Pitta & Kapha


Spinach, cabbage, brinjal, turmeric, fenugreek, coffee, tea, grapefruit, olives


Pitta & Kapha


Legumes, cranberries, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, rye, quinoa, marjoram

Ultimately, you should aim not only to have these six tastes present in every meal but also to adjust the amounts in line with your dosha type. This will go further to help balance your body. 

A churna, an equal blend of six tastes, can be bought or easily made and used as a base for a curry or sprinkled over food. Finely grind; 5 tsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp fenugreek seeds, 1 large bay leaf, ½ tsp cumin seeds, ½ tsp mustard seeds, 1½” cinnamon stick and 5 cloves in a coffee grinder and add 2 tsp turmeric powder.

It is also recommended that breakfast contain easy to digest foods, such as oatmeal, cereal or fruit. Lunch should be the largest meal with the heaviest foods and dinner should be the smallest and lightest meal, such as soups or cooked vegetables, eaten before 7pm. This follows the strength of your digestive fire and ensures that the food you eat is properly digested.

Furthermore, performing yoga asanas and pranayama are very effective ways to cool/heat the body, stimulate the thyroid gland (metabolism), lymphatic, digestive and other body systems and these should be used in conjunction with the above to get the best results.



Jean-Paul Lassale (200hr Jan-May 2014)