How can one Determine Prakruti and Vikruti?
Based on what I have learned in this course on diagnosis methods and skills of Ayurveda, I have learned some ways for us to determine our own prakriti and the prakriti of others. Prakriti is our original body constitution and our unique doshic balance upon conception and birth.
As we accumulate different doshic imbalances over time we call this vikriti. Vikriti is our accumulated doshic imbalance. It does not necessarily reflect prakriti. These imbalances are manifested due to our improper dietary habits and poor lifestyle choices. This includes improper food combining and eating at the inappropriate times. It also includes things like excessive or insufficient exercise, excessive or insufficient sleep, too much stress, not enough time in nature etc. These factors can affect our bodies balance and throw us in to a doshic imbalance that could be vata, pitta, or kapha regardless of our original constitution. To determine ones vikriti, you would check the tongue for obvious problems such as dryness, inflammation, congestion etc. You can also assess the condition of the skin, eyes, and weight. Are the eyes red? Is the skin dry? Are they over or under-weight? These are all signs of the person's vikriti. Finally, checking the pulse, especially the surface, will signal the person's vikriti.
Knowing our prakriti is important as it shows us how our body ideally functions. Determining prakriti is important for any practitioner in diagnosing a client. So how can we determine one's prakriti? To start, we can look at the client's body features. If the client has long and narrow features, we can determine these features are primarily vata. Such as long narrow nose or bones etc. If the features are sharp and angular, like a pointed tongue or pointy jaw line, then this can be determined as pitta features. Redness in the skin is also seen as Pitta. And if the body has roundness to it, like round ears and round face/cheeks and a round/heavy body then we can say these are kapha features. Oilyness in the skin also signifies Kapha. Looking at the tongue helps us as well. A long narrow tongue, with possible dry cracks or dark coating can signify Vata prakriti. A sharp/pointy tongue with redness can signify pitta prakriti. And a round/heavy tongue with whitish coating can signify Kapha prakriti. After seeing the features of the body, we can examine the pulse to get further confirmation of the person's prakriti. Prakriti is seen more in the deep pulse than surface. A weak/pecking pulse in the deep pulse is known as vata. A strong thudding like a jumping frog in the deep pulse is known as pitta. And a smooth flowing pulse like a swan swaying through water is known as kapha in the pulse. Using these diagnostic methods, we are able to determine a person's prakriti, or original body constitution.
In learning such complex and invaluable information in our Diagnostic Methods and Skills of Ayurveda course, I have been able to expand my view of the human body greatly. I am immensely grateful to our teacher Khabir, and his teacher Dr. Vikram of Planet Ayurveda, for passing on the wisdom of Ayurveda.
Sean Moran - Ventura, CA