The Enneagram is an amazing tool for personal growth. But the Enneagram is only one system, and increasingly, we’ve been exploring other tools that complement it.
We’ve found Ayurveda, an ancient Indian system of holistic healing that focuses on maintaining health rather than curing illness, to be especially useful. It’s a tradition that’s been around for over 5000 years, and with its amazing specificity and individualized approach, remains one of the most popular systems of alternative medicine in the world. Ayurveda describes three basic doshas, or constitutions, with distinct lifestyle needs, and prescribes ways to balance the energy of each one. Most people have a dominant dosha, with some having a combination of two or three. In a nutshell:
Vata (air) people are creative, quick-moving, and erratic. They benefit from nourishing and routine.
Pitta (fire) people are sharp, driven, and irritable. They benefit from calming and moderation.
Kapha (earth) people are generous, steady, and possessive. They benefit from stimulation and expression.
We love the agency that Ayurveda fosters–the commonsense ideas that we know our own bodies best, that all aspects of our being (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual…) matter, and that every choice of food or daily routine contributes to our health. Ayurvedic treatments include everything from exercise to nutritional supplements prescribed by a licensed Ayurvedic practitioner to changes in habits. A mainstay is Ayurvedic cooking, which can range from the traditional (yogurt lassis) to the novel (seaweed salad). Ayurveda values harmony with the natural elements, as well as balance in individual energy–this translates into nourishing, natural food which leaves us feeling great!
Many Enneagram teachers (including us!) encourage people to maintain a daily practice, and Ayurveda’s practical approach to lifestyle and eating is both workable and fun. We eat every day, and there’s no need to invest in expensive retreats or equipment to try Ayurveda out. Much like observing our own Enneagram type patterns, folllowing Ayurvedic guidelines requires self-kindness and attention.
In April, we presented about the Enneagram and Ayurveda at the European IEA. We had a wonderful time sharing and learning with Enneagram practitioners from around the world. One thing we learned is that people are interested in connections between the two systems. Which types correlates with which doshas? We decided to find out.
We’ll be presenting our preliminary research on correlations between the Enneagram and Ayurveda at the Global International Enneagram Conference next week! We currently have over 60 survey participants from around the world, and we’d love to have more. You can take our survey here to find out your most likely dosha and get recipes tailored toward it. (Note: the survey was closed in December 2014. Thank you to all our participants!)
We’d love to hear about your experiences using the Enneagram with other systems to develop a daily practice!