Ayurveda and the Doshas

Wall and gate in Bithoor, India.


Ayurveda is a deep understanding of the relationship between health, the environment, and the mind. In Ayurveda, every individual is unique and there is no recommendation, diet or lifestyle routine that works for everyone in the same way.

The five elements are the cause of our physical body, the building blocks of our constitution and when they combined, it gives place to unique forces called Doshas. Dosha literally means ‘fault’ or ‘mistake,’ but the doshas are not at fault on their own.  They become a problem only when accumulate, overflow and migrate from their original reservoir to other parts of the body carrying with them toxicity.

Ayurveda is based on the principles of the three doshas. These energies make up every individual and perform different physiological functions in the body.

The Doshas

Vata Dosha

The energy that controls bodily functions associated with all movement in the body, including breathing, circulation of the blood, blinking of the eyes and your heartbeat is Vata Dosha, including the movement of your thoughts. In general, when Vata is in balance there is creativity and vitality and when out of balance Vata can produce anxiety and fear.

Vata individuals are light, excitable, and lively, with changeable moods. They are quick to learn and grasp knowledge and information, but also quick to forget. They are sensitive to the cold, with a tendency toward cold hands and feet and discomfort in cold climates.

Vatas have irregular daily routines. They are slim of build and tend to be very short or very tall. They generally have dry skin and dry hair and don’t perspire much. They respond to stress with fear, worry, and anxiety, especially when out of balance and often have rapid, rambling thoughts. There is a tendency to act impulsively. Vatas are very artistic and creative.

Pitta Dosha

Pitta is the energy that controls the body’s metabolic systems, including digestion, absorption, nutrition, and your body’s temperature. When in balance, Pitta leads to contentment and intelligence. An out of balance Pitta can cause ulcers, irritability, and anger.

Pitta type people are determined, of medium physique, strong, and well built. They have fair or reddish skin and may have freckles and sunburn easily. They may be uncomfortable in out in the sun or in hot weather and perspire easily. Their eyes can be sensitive to light. Pittas have strong digestion and appetite and may become irritated if they miss a meal.

They tend to be sharp of mind, have good concentration and focus. Pittas are assertive, self-confident, and entrepreneurial. They are good public speakers and leaders but can become authoritarian if unbalanced. When Pitta is balanced they are passionate, romantic and competitive.

Pittas become irritated and angry when out of balance. When under stress, they can be aggressive, demanding, and manipulative. Other signs of Pitta imbalance are early graying or loss of hair and debilitated eyesight

Common physical problems include acne, rashes or inflammations of the skin, boils, ulcers, heartburn, acid stomach, IBS and insomnia.

Kapha Dosha

The energy that controls growth in the body is Kapha. It supplies lubrication to all body parts, provides cushioning and moisture, and maintains the immune system. They have soft hair and supple skin and a tendency to have large and almond-shaped eyes and a low, soft voice.

Reliable and loyal, Kapha is physically strong with a good immune system and with a sturdy heavier body frame, having the most stamina of all constitutions They are slow of speech and reflective of thought. They can be slower to learn, but once something is learned they never forget.

Kaphas are easygoing, relaxed, patient, affectionate and loving. They are forgiving, compassionate, nonjudgmental and ready to listen.

When in balance they express love and forgiveness, stability and steadiness. Gentle and calm, Kaphas strive to maintain harmony and peace in their surroundings. They are not easily upset and can be a point of grounding for those around them.

When out of balance, Kapha can lead to insecurity, envy, and attachments. This can manifest as weight gain, possessiveness, and depression.

Kaphas don’t like cold, damp weather. Physical issues include colds and congestion, respiratory problems including asthma, allergies, sluggish digestion, and obesity.

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