Everyday we are bombarded with news of the latest diets and supplements that promise greater health. It can start to feel that if you’re not taking a pill and special oils or cutting certain foods from your diet that your health may be at risk – or at least less than optimal. This seems quite overwhelming! And often, very expensive.
What if it didn’t need to be so confusing? Simplicity can be found in Ayurveda and, specifically through the examination of the Dhatus.
What are the Dhatus?
Dhatu is an Ayurvedic term that refers to the vital tissue layers of the human body. Dhatu is a Sanskrit word, the root dha means “to support”. There are 7 main dhatus in all (plasma, blood, muscle, fat, bone, nerve tissue/marrow and reproductive tissue) and every part of our body is made up of these tissues. Plasma as the first tissue is the foundation of all the dhatus. Through the digestive process, each tissue undergoes a process of refinement and is responsible for the development and nourishment of the subsequent tissue. This is a continuous cycle with each dhatu becomes increasingly more concentrated or subtle.
The Dhatus are the Key to Optimal Health 🗝
Each dhatu plays a role in the functioning of our body – and they work together to support good health! Specifically;
- Plasma carries nutrients.
- Blood circulates and energizes.
- Muscles uphold strength and create shape.
- Fat cushions and lubricates.
- Bones provide structure and form.
- Nerve tissue and marrow fill the spaces and carry impulses.
- Reproductive tissue holds the creative potential for new life.
As each tissue layer is created from the one previous, you begin to see that there is a dependency of each tissue upon the others. A deficiency or imbalance in one tissue creates a subsequent problem in the next…and so on. When each tissue is healthy, the body is strong and functioning optimally. From this perspective it is said that plasma nourishes from the outside-in, and the reproductive tissue upholds from the inside-out. This is the key to building immunity!
The Dhatus Uphold Immunity 💪
The health of our tissues rests on the ongoing flow of nutrition they receive. This flow is dependent on two things;
- Your digestive capacity (Agni)
- Nourishment from food/beverage choices
Your digestive capacity is critical to building health and immunity. Quite simply, if you’re not able to digest your food properly itdoesn’t matter how good your food choices are, the nutrients will not be able to reach your tissues. If your tissues are not adequately nourished, they cannot support you. A balanced digestive fire (Agni) is important to good health because it allows for the appropriate absorption of nutrients and elimination of waste.
The next consideration is your food choices. There are very specific foods that nourish each tissue. A rough rule of thumb is that a dhatu is nourished by foods that are like in nature. For example; milk is nutritive and flowing and is ideal for nourishing plasma, fats and oils support our fat tissue and lean meat can build muscle. Incorrect food choices will fail to nourish the tissues and your immunity becomes compromised.
To me, this is a game-changer when considering our food choices! If you want a healthy body, you need to choose foods that nourish each of the tissues of your body!
“In Ayurveda, good health can be maintained in two ways;
- by supporting and replenishing the vital tissue (dhatus) as they need it, through proper diet and regimen.
- by cleansing and removing any obstacles to the clear functioning of the system”
Amadea Morningstar, The Ayurvedic Cookbook
You and Your Dhatus 🍃
Ayurveda gives us the knowledge to nourish, build, cleanse and protect our tissues. This is a powerful recipe for health and immunity which is simple and profoundly effective.
Ready to give it a try?
- Consider the state of your digestion. If it’s too fast or sluggish, it’s a good indication that the nutrients in your diet are not reaching your tissues adequately.
- Take a look as well at the foods you favour or avoid. This will give you insight into which tissues may need a little TLC. Remember, a balanced diet supports the cycle of nourishment of the tissues whereas a diet heavy in one type of food vs another can create an excess or blockage in the flow.
This wisdom isn’t found in a pill! Nature provides everything we need, and it’s up to us to make appropriate daily choices that optimize our digestion and nourish our tissues adequately. The key to your health and immunity cannot be found in a supplement! It rests on a foundation of well nourished dhatus!
Ready to learn more about your dhatus?
A decade ago, Kim began her journey of Yoga. What began as introducing movement, peace and calm in her busy life started the process of seeking a way to live with greater integrity and harmony. It is said that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. This was certainly the case for Kim as, five years ago, she discovered AT THE CORE and The American Institute of Vedic Studies. With the blessing, guidance and support of her new teachers, Kim began her in- depth study of Yoga and Ayurveda.
Kim is a certified Yoga and Ayurveda Wellness Consultant, Ayurvedic Life-Style Consultant and Ayurvedic Yoga Educator. She is based in London, Ontario.