Corie Hengst is a New York-based associate editor at American Salon with several years of experience in print and online media. Always active in her passion, she has tackled writing projects over the years ranging from business books to greeting cards. Before joining American Salon, she was editor at a finance magazine. In her current role, she reports on a variety of topics in the professional beauty industry including salon services and hair and nail trends.
Discovering My Dosha: Travels in India
In March, I was very fortunate to go on a trip to India with Aveda. The farthest I had ever traveled was Europe, so I had no idea what to expect but I knew it would be an exciting experience. I learned many things during our week overseas, among them how Aveda sources its ingredients and also helps the remote village of Umbari— near Satara, India—access clean water (see our story in the May issue of American Salon).
In addition to learning about the culture of the country, I discovered some helpful things about myself during the journey—namely my Ayurvedic Dosha and how to best balance my body. Dosha, in Ayurvedic medicine, is each of the three energies believed to define your mind and body type. The three types are Vatas, who love new experiences and have physical characteristics such as dry skin and a light frame; Pittas, who are good at concentrating and have a warm body temperature; and Kaphas, who are calm and have a strong build.
During one of our days in India, Aveda invited us to learn our Dosha type by taking a quiz and then discussing the results with Drs. Vinod and Kusum Upadhyay, who I was honored to speak with, as their relationship with Aveda began as far back as 1978. The pair is globally sought for their expertise in Ayurvedic medicine, pharmacology, botanical research and aromatherapy. As it turned out, I am a very strong Vata type, with only a few characteristics in the other two categories (I’m a very heavy sleeper with no problems falling asleep, for instance).
As I listened to the suggestions about how to balance my Dosha, I realized I have been committing a critical no-no of a Vata. I drink ice water all day and night; I chug a glass of ice water first thing in the morning, and I bring one to bed with me at night. This, I learned, only fuels the anxious fire of Vatas—who have a cold body temperature by nature—and this is also very bad for digestion. Although I am yet to give up my morning iced coffee, I have stopped drinking ice water (even though I still think it tastes better). And I must say I do notice a difference in my level of calm.
Other suggestions for balancing my Dosha included eating ginger and black pepper, as well as meditating daily. The good news is I love pepper and ginger, and I am striving to increase my meditation—even if it’s only for five minutes a day on my train ride home!
For more about Aveda in India, don’t forget to check out our May issue of American Salon!
(Photo credit: Courtesy of Aveda, Drs. Vinod and Kusum Upadhyay)