While excited to begin my pursuit of an Ayurvedic hair care regimen, I wasn't sure what to expect during my first appointment with Ayurveda practitioner, Elena Irueta. Considering that my knowledge of the practice fell somewhere between shampooing your hair with herbs and healing blindness with an oily mixture poured into the eyes, I was a tad nervous to head into her office. I was immediately put at ease when I arrived at Elena's sunny and tranquil San Francisco office and she greeted me with a warm hug and had me sink into a comfortable chair.
She began by explaining the fundamental principles of Ayurveda of which there are three basic tiers:
- Elements: The foundation of all matter in the world. In Ayurveda these are believed to be Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth.
- Characteristics: These are the "feelings" associated with the various elements: cold/hot, moist/dry, mobile/static, heavy/light, dense/flowing, soft/hard, dull/sharp, smooth/rough, gross/subtle, cloudy/clear. These characteristics feed the next group of Ayurvedic principles: the doshas.
- Doshas: All people have a balance of the three doshas within in them. The three doshas are Vata (ether & air; cold, dry, light), Pitta (fire & water; hot, dry, sharp ) and Kapha (water & earth; cold, heavy). When one of these doshas is out of balance, illness occurs. The goal of ayurveda is to restore balance between these doshas.
Here, Elena explains the Doshas and how they work within our bodies.