If you have little knowledge about Ayurveda then you may hear the word like doshas or three doshas( Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) and you start to think many questions like what they mean by doshas? what are the three doshas, exactly? how they affect our lifestyle? why they are so important in Ayurveda? Well in this article, we discuss it and try to clear all doubts about doshas. Let start.
The word Doshas is a Sanskrit word which means Fault or disease. It is an energetic force of nature which helps us to better understand ourselves and the world around us. According to Ayurveda, the universal life force are manifest as three different energies – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each person has a unique combination of these three doshas which determines their own individual blueprint, or Prakriti (nature).
The quantity and quality of three doshas constantly fluctuate according to your environment, your diet, the seasons, the climate, your age, and many other factors. When any one of them gets out of balance, the doshas can affect your health, energy level, mental condition, and general mood.
THE THREE DOSHAS AND THE ELEMENTS
As you know our world is made by the composition of five elements, which are – Air, Ether (Space), Fire, Water, and Earth. Each element has its own property :
Air– Movement or instability.
Space– Space occupied by the material.
Fire– Heat or warmth.
Earth– Mass, and inertia.
When the Earth element (solid food we consume) interact with the Water element ( water or some other fluid we drink) forms Kapha in our body. Similarly, when the Fire element (heat of the body) interact with the Water element of our body it forms Pitta in our body and the interaction of Air element with the Space element forms Vata in our body.
Dosha and Interaction of Elements
Vata = Air + Ether
Pitta = Fire + Water
Kapha = Water + Earth
Properties of Three Doshas
Each dosha has it’s unique and different properties:
The Vata dosha is a combination of Air and Space (Ether) element, that means the properties of Vata is very similar to these two elements like cool, dry, mobile. Also in the ancient text of Ayurveda, Asthanga Hridayam describes the property of Vata as follows:
Vata Dry, Rough, Light, Cold, Subtle, Mobile.
Vata controls all movement in the mind and body such as blood flow, elimination of wastes, breathing and the movement of thoughts across the mind, etc. It also gives motion to Kapha and Pitta.
Quality and Personality
Qualities of Vata nature people: Feeling cold, dry hair and skin, their bodies tend to be light, their bones thin, and their skin. They often move and speak quickly.
Personalities of Vata nature people: They tend to be talkative, enthusiastic, creative, flexible, and energetic. Yet, when out of balance they may also become easily confused and overwhelmed, have difficulty focusing and making decisions and have trouble sleeping. This becomes more apparent when they are under stress. Emotionally they are challenged by cool emotions like worry, fear, and anxiety.
The Pitta dosha is a combination of water and fire element, but the fire is more predominant. That’s why the properties of Pitta is very similar to fire like hot, sharp, and penetrating. It also has oily and volatile property because of its secondary element, Water. In Asthanga Hridayam, the property of Pitta describes as follows:
Pitta Hot, Sharp, Light, Mobile, Fluid, Odorous, Oily, Absorbent
Pitta controls all heat, metabolism, and transformation in the mind and body. It is the energy of metabolism and digestion of our body that works through carrier substances such as hormones, organic acids, enzymes, and bile. Pitta governs the important digestive “Agnis” or fires of the body.
Quality and Personality
Qualities of Pitta nature people: Feeling warm, having oily skin, penetrating eyes, less hair, and sharp features. People with Pitta nature have moderate weights and good musculature
Personalities of Pitta nature people: They tend to be highly focused, competitive, capable, courageous, energetic and clear communicators who get right to the point. They like to solve problems. Also, they become overly intense and speak with a sharp tongue. They make great friends but feared enemies. Emotionally they are challenged by the heated emotions of anger, resentment, and jealousy.
The Kapha dosha is the combination of water and earth elements, that’s why the properties of Kapha tend to be cool, moist, stable and heavy like water and earth. In Asthanga Hridayam, the property of Kapha describes as follows:
Kapha Heavy, Slimmy, Cold, Oily, Smooth, Viscous, Immobile, Dense, Soft
Kapha controls all structure and lubrication in the mind and body. It is responsible for the formation of all the seven tissues — nutritive fluids, blood, fat, muscles, bones, marrow and reproductive tissues. This energy is essential for the structure, physical form, and the smooth functioning of all parts of your body.
Quality and Personality
Qualities of Kapha nature people: Dense, heavy bones, lustrous, supple skin, low metabolism, and large, stocky frames. Also feeling cold but not cold as Vata nature people.
Personalities of Kapha nature people: They have a stable personality which is not prone to quick fluctuations. They can handle stress very well, often not even noticing that it exists. People of Kapha don’t like changes, they are generally conservative and would prefer to keep things just the way they are. They are also comfort seekers. However, too much comfort can lead to a lack of motivation and feeling of becoming stuck. Emotionally they are challenged by heavy emotions like depression and lethargy result.
Understanding Imbalances in the Doshas
In Ayurveda, health defines as a balance among these three doshas or energies. However, the dominance or weakness of any one of these doshas over the rest leads to imbalances in the body due to which diseases occur.
The imbalance in doshas is generally caused by climate changes, unsupportive diet, lifestyle choices, stress, emotional trauma, etc. These disturbances tend to upset the natural state of internal equilibrium represented by one’s constitution. When the doshas become aggravated, each one of them disrupts your body in its own unique way.
If you are just becoming familiar with how the doshas affect your health or everyday life, this awareness can be very helpful.
When Vata gets out of balance, it causes anxiety, fear, isolation, exhaustion, and loneliness. It can lead to both physical and energetic depletion, disrupt proper communication, and cause all sorts of abnormal movements in the body, such as muscle spasms, tics, and tremors.
When Pitta gets out of balance, it causes frustration, anger, jealousy, criticism, and other regressive emotions. Imbalance in Pitta is usually at the root of inflammatory disorders, which can influence organs and tissues throughout the body. Also that person sweat more.
When Vata gets out of balance, it triggers emotions like attachment, greed, possessiveness, stubbornness, laziness, inactivity and resistance to change. Physically, imbalance in Kapha leads to stagnation and blockage in organs and tissues throughout the body—including the mind.
How to balance three doshas
When any one of these energies or doshas gets imbalance you can easily notice the symptoms. You can also go to the nearest Ayurveda center for a checkup, so you can know what is the problem and which doshas get out of balance. After that, you can proceed for further treatment according to your problem.
If we know which dosha is aggravated, then we can easily return it to balance by reducing the impact of that dosha’s qualities and support their opposites.
The imbalance in doshas cannot be cured, it fluctuates according to the seasons, time of day, diet, lifestyle and several other factors. All you need to keep them in balance by taking proper diet, exercise/yoga or ayurvedic herbs which help you to keep your body at utmost ease and free from disease.
All of these three fundamental energies have a specific task to perform in our bodies on the physical and emotional levels. Everybody has the unique combination of these three energies/doshas which is responsible for there unique characteristics and structure.
In Ayurveda, the fusion of these three energies (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) in a particular ratio provides us a blueprint of our optimal health and our individual physical, mental, and emotional characteristics—as well as our unique strengths and vulnerabilities.