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FINDING BALANCE WITH THE
20 QUALITIES

(10 Pairs of Opposites)

Āyurveda utilizes a concept of the 20 Qualities (10 pairs of opposites) in order to find daily balance in one's life. 

The basic rule is that like increases like, and opposites decrease. That means if we find one of the pairs of opposites is excessive in one's body, one should apply the opposite quality to help decrease that quality and restore balance.

For example, if we live are feeling dry, the opposite quality is oily. Applying more oil either internally by eating healthy fats or externally applying oil to the skin (as in Abhyanga--Self-Massage with warm oil) will help to reduce the dryness. 

Here are the 10 pairs of opposites:

Heavy--Light

Slow/dull--Sharp

Cold--Hot

Oily--Dry (rough)

Smooth--Rough

Dense--Liquid

Soft--Hard

Static--Mobile

Subtle--Gross

Clear--Sticky

Substances tend to be on a spectrum. For example, a sweet potato is considered heavy, but would not be as heavy as meat. Or a chili pepper would be quite sharp, but ginger would be somewhere between that extreme sharp and dull/slow.

The 20 Qualities affect each of the three doṣas differently. 

Vāta is decreased by:

  • Heavy

  • Slow/dull

  • Hot

  • Oily

  • Smooth

  • Dense

  • Liquid

  • Soft

  • Static

  • Gross

  • Sticky


Pitta is decreased by:​

  • Heavy

  • Slow/dull

  • Cold

  • Dry/rough

  • Smooth

  • Dense

  • Static

  • Gross


Kapha is decreased by:

  • Light

  • Sharp

  • Hot

  • Dry/rough

  • Rough

  • Hard

  • Mobile

  • Subtle

  • Clear

 

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