According to Ayurveda, in every biological organism, there exist three psycho-physiological forces, known as “doshas,” a Sanskrit word literally meaning “stain” or “lesion” but in effect conveying chiefly the notion of “something that can be injured or imbalanced.” These doshas are given the names kapha, pitta and vata. All three doshas are present in every cell and every tissue of every organism, in varied proportions.
What are doshas?
Just as everyone has a unique fingerprint, each person has a particular pattern of energy—an individual combination of physical, mental and emotional characteristics—which comprises their own constitution. This constitution is determined at conception by a number of factors and remains the same throughout one’s life.
Ayurveda tells us that we are made up of the five elements and individual consciousness. These five elements are Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space and the combination of these elements give rise to three doshas of kapha, pitta and vata. Though everyone has some of each, most people tend to have an abundance of one or two of the doshas. This unique combination is determined at the moment of conception and is your own personal blueprint, or prakriti (nature). As you move through life, the proportion of each of the three doshas constantly fluctuates according to your environment, your diet, the seasons, the climate, your age, and many other factors. As they move into and out of balance, the doshas can affect your health, energy level, and general mood.
What are doshas made of?
- Vata—Ether (space) and air
- Pitta—Fire and water
- Kapha—Water and earth
What do each of these doshas do?
Vata: space & air
It controls all movement in the mind and body. It controls such things as blood flow, elimination of wastes, breathing and the movement of thoughts across the mind. Since Pitta and Kapha cannot move without it, Vata is considered the leader of the three Ayurvedic principles in the body.
Pitta: fire & water
It governs digestion, absorption, assimilation, nutrition, metabolism, body temperature, skin coloration, the luster of the eyes, intelligence, and understanding. (Digestion is the fire-like transformation of complex substances into simpler ones easily utilizable by the body for energy, on both the gross (gastrointestinal system) and cellular (molecular) levels. It promotes appetite, vitality, and the efficiency of mental processes and discrimination, metabolism, body temperature, skin coloration, and the luster of the eyes. Pitta also governs the “digestion” of sensory stimuli by the body into simple signals cognizable by the brain.
Kapha: earth & water
It governs the structure and cohesion of the organism. It is responsible for biological resistance (immunity), tissue formation, and a cohesive body structure. It also governs the “insulation” of mind and body, protecting these from hostile outside agencies. It controls weight, growth, lubrication for the joints and lungs, and formation of all the seven tissues: nutritive fluids (plasma), blood, fat, muscles, bones, marrow and reproductive tissues. Because of the denseness of kapha dosha, individuals with this as their dominant dosha tend to be most resistant to disease, although they do exhibit a proneness to cancer, respiratory conditions characterized by tissue overgrowth, edema and mucous congestion.
Why doshas matter?
Vata, Pitta, and Kapha govern the body functions when healthy and cause diseases when out of harmony. Identification of a dosha disharmony in terms of its deficit, excess or qualitative disturbance, and then its re-correction to its original state is requited to restore health. For every person, this state of harmony is unique which is their very own Prakriti. Now you know why your dosha matters.
Why your dosha can’t be determined by a generic quiz
Ayurveda uses a customized approach of analysis, diagnosis, and healing. Taking a quiz about your personality and imbalances might seem like fun but might not give you accurate results. And, you won’t know what to do what with that information. If you book an Ayurvedic consultation with me, we can determine your dosha and create a customized plan to enhance your overall well-being.