What is balance?
It’s a great question.
On the surface, that question, which we will rephrase as “What is a 100% healthy person?”, might seem simple, and summed up in one sentence:
“uh…someone who’s not sick?”
But the reality is, when we dig deeper, we have to ask a lot more questions.
If we were to draw up someone who was supposedly 100% healthy, meaning free of disease, what would that person look like? How would their body function? How would their thoughts and actions be?
As we start peeling back the layers, it gets much more complex. In truth, there is no one answer.
That’s right, there is no one definition of a healthy person. So I can’t make a chart for you, or draw a picture, or map out a plan for everyone in general that leads them to some ultimate, final, absolute definition of pure health. It just doesn’t exist.
Ayurveda continues to teach me everyday that each and every person is unique. So what’s healthy for one person will not be healthy for another. From the moment we are conceived and growing in the womb, our genetics start to map out who we will become. I’m not arguing that we all are born a certain way and have no free will and can’t change who we are. What I’m saying is that we are all born with a constitution. This constitution (our prakruti) determines our tendencies (samskaras). Tendencies are merely the way our body is predisposed to reacting and behaving. Some like it hot, as it were.
We’ve come to know these tendencies through the doshas of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. And for each person, they will have a unique combination of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha qualities within them. Each and every person will be completely different. Therefore, being healthy and balanced will be completely different for each person.
It’s true that in general, we all want to be symptom free. But it’s normal for a Pitta type to run hot. They are never going to be able to be ice cold. But we don’t want them to be too hot. We want them to be comfortable, finding a moderate level of warmth. Similarly, a Vata type will run cold. They are never going to be burning hot. We want them to find a moderate level of cool to warm. Each person will be different.
To provide another example, it’s normal for a Vata female to have light menstrual flow. But too light and it will be irregular and cause cramping. Pitta’s and Kapha’s will have heavier flow and a longer duration of flow respectively. Those things won’t change, but we want to make sure they are not too heavy or lasting too long. We want to bring them into balance respectively within their own confines as it were.
We are complex organisms with a huge amount of processes happening simultaneously. As the doshas move through those systems, they cause our disease. But the doshas are always moving, and this can’t be stopped. It is the natural way of things. Our goal is to manage those doshas, at each individual level and as a whole body/mind system to help find the right balance for us.
This is why there is no one answer, one magic definition of a healthy person. We all have to discover what makes us tick, and keep ourselves in check, until that balance becomes effortless habit.