In using Ayurveda it is important to have awareness of the qualities you experience and relate these to the qualities of the doshas. The many nuances in the qualities in your life will be overwhelming, so look initially for broad principles associated with each dosha. I’d like to bring attention to Vata since we are entering the fall/winter season. The qualities of a windy day sum up vata. The wind is erratic, moves in gusts, dries the wash, and cools you. It is not seen, but its effects are.
Vata is a combination of the air and ether elements, with air predominating. Vata can be described as light, cold, dry, rough, subtle, mobile, clear, dispersing, erratic, and astringent. Generally, vata characteristics tend to be extreme, irregular, small, light in weight, or dry. Vata skin is thin, dry, darkish, and cool, and vata hair is thin, dark, coarse, and either kinky or curly. The face is long and angular, often with and underdeveloped chin. The neck is thin and scrawny. The vata nose is small and narrow, and may be long, crooked, or asymmetrical. Vata eyes are small, narrow, or sunken, dark brown or gray in color, with a dull luster. The vata mouth is small, with thin, narrow, or tight lips. Teeth are irregular, protruding, or broken, set in receding gums. Vata physical build is light and delicate. The hips and shoulders are narrow. Musculature is slight with prominent tendons. Vata people are exceptionally short or tall (like a beanpole) and have difficulty putting on weight.
In Ayurveda, the mind also has a constitution and generally there is a close correlation with your physical constitution. Emotions, too, can be classified into Vata, Pitta, Kapha. Individuals have a natural tendency toward certain emotional traits, which will be influenced by their constitution. If you have a vata constitution, you are likely to be artistic and creative with a good imagination, though you may find it hard to put your ideas into practice, as new ideas continually catch your imagination. Your memory may not be very good. Creativity, enthusiasm, freedom, generosity, joy, and vitality are all characteristics of a vata mind.
When you recognize the qualities of the doshas in your body and the doshic qualities in your daily life, you will be able to use Ayurveda to maintain them in a healthy balance for you.