Ayurveda is a holistic healing system that takes into account all aspects of your well-being – including the health of your mind. Below, learn more about Ayurveda and the mind, including what influences it and how different dosha types may experience different psychological disorders.

Ayurveda and the Mind

In our Western world, we often treat the body with herbs, medication, or natural remedies without paying too much attention to our mindset and the role that the mind and emotions play in the onset of symptoms. However, in the Ayurvedic tradition, the body-mind-spirit connection is taken into account in all steps of the treatment. This is because the mind cannot be set apart from the body.

Even in a typical daily Ayurvedic routine, there’s a focus on habits that build strong mental health, along with physical and emotional well-being. For instance, practicing pranayama in the morning will help cultivate a more positive mindset, while following a relaxing bedtime routine will put you in a better headspace to get a good night’s sleep.

What Influences the Mind?

Our mind is influenced by impressions:

  • The physical impressions are brought from foods, herbs, and exercise
  • The subtle impressions are brought through the five senses and our thoughts that reinforce those impressions (we perceive something, then think about what we perceive, giving power and energy to it)
  • The causal impressions are brought about by gunas (sattva, rajas, and tamas) that are the three primal subtle forces and energies behind everything

To illustrate the importance of the gunas, think about your relationships and who you hang out with. We are strongly influenced by the gunas of the people we are connected with at the heart level. When we spend too much time or care too much for somebody whose energy is too tamasic or rajastic, it will affect our peace of mind and our sattvic state of well-being. Learning how to be aware of that and reassess our relationships is often something that is overlooked, but it is utterly important for our mental well-being. Keep in mind that a lot of things affect the mind – positively or negatively! And since the mind “speaks” through our body via physical ailments or stuck energy in the body that can cause pain and other issues, we all need to try to keep our minds in a state of peace and harmony.

Ayurvedic Treatment Steps for the Mind

During a typical Ayurvedic psychology assessment and treatment, you can expect an Ayurvedic practitioner to:

  • Evaluate your birth constitution and current constitution, and point out any imbalances
  • Assess your life force reserves (Prana, Tejas, and Ojas)
  • Use impressions that will have the opposite qualities of the aggravated dosha (detox will be done prior to that)
  • Promote the correct function of consciousness with spiritual practices: devotion and self-knowledge

If you’re seeking other ways to improve your brain health and cognitive performance, then you might also consider taking an herbal supplement designed for this purpose. PIOR Living Mind contains multiple classes of organic and wild-harvested herbs to boost memory, concentration, mental acuity, and more.

Psychological Imbalances & Solutions for Each Dosha

Some doshas are more predisposed to psychological conditions than others. Let’s take a look at the most common imbalances for each dosha type, as well as treatment ideas.

Vata Psychological Disorders and Treatments

The Vata dosha is the most prone to psychological disturbances because its elements (Ether and Air) are the lightest and least grounded. Excess Air in the mind causes instability, agitation, excessive thinking, and worry. It leads to excessive reactions, imagination, delusions, and hearing voices. Vata easily experiences fear, anxiety, possible nervous breakdown, insomnia, palpitations, tremors, unrest, and quick shifts of mood.

Factors that increase Air: Mass media, too much technology, loud music or noise, drugs and stimulants, insufficient food, irregular eating, excessive or unnatural sexual activity

Predisposition: Neglect or abuse as a child 

Treatment of Vata Disorders = “TREAT LIKE A FLOWER”

  • NATURE: Sitting or walking peacefully by a garden, forest, river, lake, or ocean, especially when it is WARM and BRIGHT 
    • Sound: Calming music and chanting, classical, peaceful silence
    • Touch: Gentle and warming, warm oils like sesame or almond
    • Sight: Bright and calming colors like combinations of gold, orange, blue, green, and white
    • Taste: Rich and nourishing foods with sweet, salty, and sour tastes, moderate use of spices. Chyawanprash will be really nourishing for Vata’s mind.
    • Smell: Sweet, warm, calming, clearing like jasmine, rose, sandalwood, orange, vanilla, lavender
  • ACTIVITY: Gentle exercise, Hatha, Tai Chi, swimming, hot tubs, relaxation, more sleep 
  • EMOTIONAL: Cultivating peace, contentment, fearlessness, and patience. Support of good friends and regular social interaction.
  • MENTAL: “Ram” mantra, concentration exercises and brain exercises 
  • SPIRITUAL: Meditation on strong, happy, benefic deities like Rama and Krishna, and protective forms of the Divine Mother (like Durga or Tara), prayers for peace and protection, developing discrimination and insight

Pitta Psychological Disorders and Treatments

Pitta types are less prone to psychological disorders than Vata, because it is more grounded and made out of heavier elements (Fire and Water) that ground the mind in the body. Excess Fire in the mind causes aggressive behavior, hostility, and blame and seeks release in venting. It leads to excessive irritation and anger. Pitta can become domineering, authoritarian, or fanatic. Pitta can experience paranoid delusions, delusions of grandeur, and can become psychotic. 

Factors that disturb: Strong or bright colors and sensations, violence, overly hot and spicy foods, sexual frustration, excessive anger or ambition

Predisposition: Education too competitive or too much conflict in childhood 

Treatment of Pitta Disorders = “TREAT LIKE A FRIEND” 

  • NATURE: Sitting or walking by flowers, river, lake, or ocean, particularly when it is COOL. Walking at night, gazing at the night sky, moon, and stars 
    • Sound: Cooling, soft music like flute and sound of water
    • Touch: Cooling, soft and moderate touch. Massage with cooling or neutral oils like coconut oil, sunflower oil, or Ghruta ghee.
    • Sight: Cool colors like white, blue, and green
    • Taste: Food that is neither too heavy nor too light. Favor sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes; cooling herbs and spices like coriander, turmeric, and fennel. Chyawanprash will bring Pitta back to balance as well.
    • Smell: Cold and sweet fragrances like rose, sandalwood, vetiver, gardenia, jasmine, geranium, ylang ylang
  • ACTIVITY: Moderate walking, swimming, cooling asana like shoulder stand 
  • EMOTIONAL: Friendships, kindness, courtesy, peace, forgiveness, compassion, and devotion. Releasing anger, hatred, and conflict.
  • MENTAL: “Shrim” mantra, practicing non-judgment and acceptance, listening to other people’s points of view 
  • SPIRITUAL: Meditation on benefic and peaceful deities like Shiva (in his peaceful form), Vishnu, or benefic forms of the Divine Mother (like Lakshmi), prayers for universal peace, cultivating surrender and receptivity

Kapha Psychological Disorders and Treatments

Kapha types are the least prone to psychological disorders. They are made out of heavy elements (Water and Earth) and are very grounded. However, excess Water and Earth can cause dullness, congestion, poor perception, lack of motivation, depression, sorrow, and clinging. When disturbed, Kapha types tend to be passive and dependent. An imbalance can also show up as greed and possessiveness (they look upon people as their property).

Factors that disturb: Excess pleasures, attachments, too much sleep, lack of exercise

Predisposition: Being overly indulged or emotionally smothered as a child

Treatment for Kapha Disorders = “TREAT LIKE AN ENEMY” 

  • NATURE: Vigorous hiking in dry or desert regions, high mountains or during sunny and windy days in open areas 
    • Sound: Stimulating music, energizing sounds, singing
    • Touch: Strong, deep body massage with stimulating oils like mustard oil
    • Sight: Bright and stimulating colors like yellow, orange, gold, and red
    • Taste: Light diet with pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes with spices (include Chyawanprash in the diet to bring those tastes); occasionally fasting
    • Smell: Light, warm, stimulating like musk, citrus, cedar, myrrh, camphor, and eucalyptus
  • ACTIVITY: Strong aerobic, jogging, sunbathing, wind-bathing, dry sauna, reduce sleep 
  • EMOTIONAL: Cultivating detachment, service to others, and selfless love, releasing greed, attachment, and clinging 
  • MENTAL: “Hum” mantra, cultivating wakefulness, mental and strategic games like chess, breaking with past and tradition 
  • SPIRITUAL: Meditation on active or strong forms of the Divine Mother (like Kali) or Father (like Rudra), meditation on the Void or on the inner light 

You can resort to these “checklists” when you feel that one dosha is getting aggravated, especially in the mind and emotions! The more tools you use, the better, more efficient, and long-lasting the healing will be.


Cecile @cecileantoine_

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