Ayurveda is a Nature-based medical system centered on the conviction that physicians don’t heal the patient, Nature heals the patient. Ayurvedic physicians learn to tap into the ancient texts, recall wisdom passed down from their teachers’ teachers, cultivate a strong connection to their intuition, and experiment with plants, herbs, and foods before using them as medicine or suggesting them to others. Nothing in the natural world is labeled as good or bad in the world of Ayurveda, everything has the potential to be medicinal in the right dosage, and one person’s medicine is another person’s poison.

The philosophy of Ayurveda acknowledges each person as a soul, a one-of-a-kind expression of the divine. It is also believed that from the moment you are conceived, your unchanging Prakriti (yogic version of fixed DNA) is established. Despite the fact that we are all unique beings, we are each composed of the same maha bhutas (five elements: ether, air, fire, water, and earth). The elements will be arranged differently for each person, depending upon unique conditions like the physical health and well-being of your mother when you were conceived, and the karmas you’ve carried over from past lives into this life.

The more familiar you are with your Prakriti, the more you can prepare yourself for the physical and mental health issues that typically affect people with your constitution. For example, if your constitution is composed predominantly of ether and air, you would typically see health issues related to anxiety, nerve disorders, joint issues, or constipation. Knowing these strengths and weaknesses based on the elements, you might consider drinking less caffeine, consuming less sugar, eating more fiber, and booking regular massages to ward off the typical imbalances related to ether and air.

Prakritis with strong affiliation to fire and water will often experience heat-related imbalances such as skin rashes, diarrhea, digestive disorders, or high blood pressure. To help manage the fire and water elements, you might consider decreasing hot and spicy foods, meditating, and avoiding being outside in the hottest part of the day.

Earth- and water-based constitutions often discover swelling, depression, excess mucus, or challenges managing their weight and metabolism with a base Prakriti rooted in the heavy, wet elements. Often proper diet, nutrition, and exercise will keep the earth- and water-based constitutions healthy. Knowing your Prakriti and your physical and mental patterns—something you can learn by a consultation with an Ayurvedic practitioner—might inspire you to cultivate a more holistic lifestyle, one connected to Nature and her five elements.