In Ayurveda, a dosha is a particular health type or functional energy that we possess. Individually, these doshas are known as Vata, Pitta or Kapha. In combination, they make up our innate constitution and have the ability to govern every function within the body-mind system.
While modern medicine is based on the structure of the body, “dis-ease” is not always evident in a body’s structure. Ayurveda is based on three energies that are functioning behind that structure or the “why” something is happening, its root cause.
Usually we have a combination type constitution – one with some Vata, Pitta and Kapha qualities. Most often the constitution is dual or consisting of two main doshas with one dosha being more predominant than the other. It’s rare to be made up of exclusively one dosha and it’s also rare to be equal parts of all doshas.
Your individual constitution is made up of a combination of doshas that will stay with you for as long as you live. Therefore, you should try to honor this composition by understanding its fundamental energies and tendencies.
Please keep in mind that there is no better or worse dosha. Each dosha combination has particular strengths and weaknesses that should not be confused with any chronic or short-term imbalance or disease.
In this post, I will be giving you the general characteristics of each dosha. If you would like more details and examples of how to balance the individual doshas, please listen to my latest podcast.
For Vata dosha, the key words are action, transportation and movement.
The nervous system is the main player here and can often be a source of imbalance. But all systems are regulated by Vata, naturally, and, therefore, are prone to disorder when Vata is out of equilibrium.
Vata is comprised of five subtle “winds” that move energy throughout the body and control virtually every organ of the body. Vata’s elements are space and air.
When balanced, Vata helps to reduce mucus/congestion, water retention and swelling. Its action makes the body light, reduces weight and provides energy creating enthusiasm and inspiration. It balances heat and reduces burning and excessive acidity.
As the principle mover, Vata is governed by the air element and is the moving force behind everything, including the other two doshas. Its motto is “the one that gives energy.”
For Pitta dosha, it is all about transformation, conversion and digestion. Digestion of thoughts as well as food/drink. Therefore, the mind’s health is as important as the health of the small intestine, liver and the lower part of the stomach.
Also, all parts of the eyes are connected to the Pitta dosha. Staying away from heat and wearing protective gear are crucial to keep the head and the eyes preserved for Pitta.
The skin may also be prone to inflammation if imbalance exists. Pitta’s main element is fire and it is known as “the one that produces heat or anger.”
When balanced, Pitta helps us to think, discriminate, be confident, have a clear vision, speak to the point, and see different things/colors, digest food, maintain body temperature and gives luster to the skin.
Kapha dosha is connected to the energy of construction, lubrication and nourishment. Kapha’s elements are water and earth.
Known as “the one that helps to connect or adhere,” Kapha’s main location is above the diaphragm in the stomach, lungs and throat as well as throughout the body’s lymphatic system. All of the areas related to stabilizing and sustaining are associated with this dosha – primarily the brain, mouth, lungs, stomach and the joints.
Watch for difficulties in swallowing, congestion, coughs and water retention to determine whether you may have an imbalance. Lethargy (feeling low in energy) and/or depression are also signs that too much Kapha may be present.
In nature, Kapha is like water which helps us to stay calm and content, notice the taste of our food, and nourish all of the organs and cells of the body. It protects the nervous system and is responsible for generating feelings of compassion, love and affection. Kapha predominant individuals are generally happy and connected to nature.
You can determine your dosha by taking this simple questionnaire or, if you would like to delve further into your Ayurvedic Constitution, you can connect with me via email to request a personal evaluation.
Knowing your dosha is crucial to balancing your tendencies because when we know our dosha combination, we know which qualities: hot/cold, light/heavy…etc that we are drawn to. Then we can go for the opposite quality to balance our daily habits. In this way, we can avoid future disease and maintain our functional balance!
Namasté, Kim. 🌱🕉