Get to know your body type

We all are different. Each and everyone of us, nearly 8 billion, has a unique DNA (except of course when you are identical twins). Looking around you, you will see large, small, somewhat thinner or somewhat heavier people. People with narrow faces, long bones and thin hair or slightly rounder people with heavier bone structures and a full head of hair. 

People differ not only in physique, but also in temperament, mood, energy and metabolism. In summary, you can call this the constitution: the complex of physical and mental properties that determine how you function and respond to various influences. 

Yet from all those people with different characteristics, you can distinguish 3 main constitution types. In Ayurveda, the 5000 year old Indian medicine, these constitutions are explained according to 3 doshas (basic powers): Vata, Pitta and Kapha. In order to better understand these types, Marijke de Waal Malefijt, a Dutch natural dietician, has selected 3 animals that symbolise these different constitutions *1):

  • The Deer or, the Vata type with a sensitive metabolism
  • The Tiger or the Pitta type with a strong metabolism
  • The Elephant or the Kapha type with a slow metabolism

It is very interesting to delve further into this and it can certainly help you, when you recognize your own constitutional type, to adapt your lifestyle to your type. However, in this short blog we will limit ourselves to a number of properties that characterise the different types.

The deer

The Deer types are often narrowly built with small, light-sensitive eyes. They can easily be cold with a low body temperature and dry skin, nails and hair. They are very mobile, talk quickly and are idealistic by nature. They have abundant ideas that they spread with great enthusiasm. In terms of work, they feel most at home in a positive environment: they express tension through anxiety and insomnia combined with vivid dreams and/or nightmares. For a life in balance, it is important for these types of people to take good care of themselves and to apply the following in their lives: listen to (classical) music, walk in nature, seek sufficient relaxation through breathing exercises, take warm baths, live organised, go to bed on time and seek balance in physical and mental work. In terms of food, the sensitive digestion of the deer is not always served by raw vegetables; e.g. it is better to cook or blanch vegetables. Fasting doesn’t always agree with them and neither does eating too much or hastily.

The Tiger

The tiger has a normal build with often reddish, firm skin with moles, freckles and possibly some acne. Determined and strong-willed by nature, he strives for success with a sharp intellect, great commitment and ambition. The Tiger enjoys making new plans, especially his own, but he likes to leave the execution to someone else. He is proud of his achievements and prefers to be in a luxurious environment. Tigers have a brisk step and enjoy physical activity, especially when a competitive element is added. They have a strong digestive system and like good food with protein-rich foods such as meat, chicken, egg and beans, preferably accompanied by a good sip of wine. Their body temperature is good and warm; however, too much sunlight can cause the tiger to become overheated because he already has so much fire in himself. When Tigers are out of balance, they typically get complaints, such as inflammation, headache, high blood pressure and problems with liver and gall bladder. By exercising, relaxing with friends, going to the movies, limiting stimulants and eating healthy, he can easily restore his balance.

The Elephant

The elephant has a sturdy to large build and is blessed with strength, endurance and perseverance. He can act in a balanced way, has a calming personality and a good memory. They are open to other peoples ideas and are friendly and sincere to their fellow man. They take time to make decisions, but once they have, they are very tenacious. The elephant has a slow metabolism, likes to sleep for a long time and to eat well and a lot, which can lead to obesity and sugar level disorders. Physical activity is necessary to maintain a correct weight, but they often don’t feel like it. The elephants pitfalls are eating too much and exercise too little. Nutritionally, they would do well to avoid too much dairy and carbohydrates. Spiritually, it is difficult for them to accept certain feelings such as loneliness, envy and disappointment: mindfulness and taking time to reflect can help them to accept these feelings more easily

*1) De Waal Malefijt, M: Ik heb er mijn buik van vol, 2011. p. 17-26

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