We all know how tedious it can be to fill out paperwork when we visit a doctor for the first time, but one form Dr. Kavita Beri hands to you is probably different from any you’ve seen before. And, it’s definitely not boring! Instead of requesting your address and health insurance, this questionnaire–called a Dosha Quiz--wants to know lots about your personality and habits, from how you sleep (poor and disturbed; moderate but sound; heavy, prolonged and excessive) to how you walk (quick, light and hurried; medium paced and purposeful; slow steady and calm). It even questions your temperature preferences (craves warmth, dislikes cold and dry; loves coolness, dislikes heat and sun; dislikes cold and damp, prefers heat) and finances (poor, spends rapidly; moderate, buys luxuries; rich and thrifty).
Even though Dr. Beri does ask for your email and what medical plan covers you on another form, that information isn’t going to help her determine the best treatment she can provide for your skin. Your answers to her Dosha Quiz will. “Based on a science of ancient India called Ayurveda (the knowledge of life), Dosha gives us an understanding of our body’s constitution,” said Dr. Beri. Her next-generation “Regenerative” med spa, BE Mind/Body/Skin, “incorporates western, cutting-edge aesthetic treatments–such as laser rejuvenation and radio frequency skin tightening–with ancient eastern traditions–including yoga and Ayurveda–to detoxify the body for graceful aging,” Dr. Beri explained.
“This complete approach to rejuvenation, which heals the body from the inside, allows us to respond better to external skin treatments and laser procedures. You can have facials every month, but they won’t make a different unless you do your healing on the inside. We recognize the importance of spiritual harmony and well-being to our appearance,” says Dr. Beri, a board-certified physician and scientist in the field of regenerative medicine, not to mention a yoga teacher. “You can’t look good if you don’t feel good. You need to feel good about yourself, your place in the world, and how you interact with the world. We call this the Circle of Positivity.”
Ayurveda recognized what science confirmed thousands of years later– the inseparable connection between the mind and the body–and it “continues to be the world’s most sophisticated and powerful mind-body health systems,” writes Dr. Deepak Chopra, the famous author, speaker and advocate of alternative medicine. “Nothing has more power to heal and transform the body than the mind. Ayurveda offers a body of wisdom designed to help people stay vibrant and healthy while realizing their full human potential,” Dr.Chopra explains.
SO, WHAT’S A DOSHA?
Ayurveda asserts that every single thing in creation, from the trees to our bodies, contains five elements–ether, air, fire, water, and earth–and although all of us possess these elements, they show up in different proportions in each one of us, Dr. Beri says. That’s what gives every human being his or her unique personality. Your Dosha is one of three energies, or mind-body types, that defines your makeup. When Dr. Beri discovers your distinct Dosha, based on your answers to her Dosha Quiz, she can help you make the best lifestyle choices–from the food you eat and the exercises you perform, to the supplements you take–so you can live a healthier, more balanced life.
If you’re a Pitta Dosha, you’re fiery, fast and furious, according to Dr. Beri. You thrive on challenges, and express your opinions, anger, hate and jealousy. If you’re a Vata Dosha, you’re hyperactive, but tire easily. You’re imaginative and bored with routine, and tend to be anxious and nervous. Those of you who are Kapha Doshas are more relaxed and content. You’re good natured, easy going and reliable, but can be greedy. Our positive and negative habits come from our Dosha, so when we do things like eat six cookies in 10 minutes, or go to bed at 3 am, it could lead to the start of disease, Dr. Beri says. Once you know and appreciate your Dosha, it’s easier to take better care of yourself, because you’ll be better able to keep some bad tendencies in check.
Dr. Beri’s signature method of analyzing your constitution based on ancient Ayurvedic medicine allows her to approach your body’s aging in a personalized manner. She believes that beauty is not merely the surface of your body, but is “the outcome of a healing process that starts with your soul and your deep connection with the world around you.”
HOW YOUR DOSHA AFFECTS YOUR HEALTH
“You have a signature from the moment you’re born, which comes from your parents, the environment, and your own makeup. You can have a lot of Pitta and a little bit of Kapha, or a lot of Vata and a little Pitta,” Dr. Beri explains. It’s understood in Ayurveda that if there’s too much of one thing, it will overflow and could cause disease. If you have too much Pitta, for example, your anger could produce an inflammatory condition that starts in the gut, and shows up on your skin as excess sebum (oils) and breakouts. If you’re overloaded with Vata, you could develop eczema or atopic dermatitis because you’re stressed out and depressed, Dr. Beri notes. “Your mind is very powerful, and can control how your gut is working, as well as your overall experience is in life and your relationship to the environment. And, your gut is connected to your skin, liver, and kidneys. Everything is interrelated,” she adds.
You probably know about the trillions of good bacteria that we have in our gut, which can help protect us from disease, and about the foods that are good for our guts, but scientists now are discovering that millions of “very intelligent bacteria” sit on top of our skin and connect with our immune system to influence how our body is working, Dr. Beri asserts. “We always said ‘eat good food and your skin will glow.’ Now we know there’s a real connection. The ideal situation is for all the bacteria on the skin, in the gut and in the brain to be in harmony.”
BALANCING YOUR DOSHA
Dr. Beri gives each of her patients a “lifestyle card” after she evaluates her Dosha, which lists dietary choices, lifestyle recommendations and Yoga postures that incorporate the mind-body-skin connection and will be most beneficial. If you’re a Pitta, for instance, you should eat vegetables including Brussel sprouts, cucumbers and beets; fruits such as sweet apples, pears and watermelon, and dairy products such as cool whole milk and homemade cheese. Pitta personalities also should enjoy activities such as listening to pleasant music, moonlit walks, and the company of good friends. Pittas will do well with the cobra and camel poses when it comes to yoga.
Pitta women also tend to break down collagen quicker and age faster because they’re so fast and furious, Dr. Beri says. That’s why she often recommends a series of Alma’s Clear Lift regenerative laser treatments to them, which lower the Pitta. The doctor alternates chemical peels with the laser treatments to exfoliate the skin and help create a clearer and brighter complexion. “Most of my treatments are mild for your skin,” she adds. A glycolic peel, for instance, removes the top, dead layer of skin, which stimulates the collagen and cells beneath it so the new cells come to the top and the skin is more buoyant and tighter.
Although this skin exfoliation happens every four weeks on its own, the process slows down as we age, so peels can kickstart it. “By the third or fourth monthly chemical peel, your skin will be glowing,” Dr. Beri says. She also recommends microdermabrasion with infusion, another exfoliation treatment that uses a tool with an abrasive diamond or crystal tip to “sandpaper” your skin, after which the dead skin is suctioned out, and the new skin is infused with a blend of grape seed extract, green tea, and kojic acid.