What are Doshas?

The three principal doshas, or mind-body types, are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. According to Ayurveda, the first requirement for healing oneself and others is a clear understand for the three dosha. The Vata principle (pronounce VAH-ta) is composed of the elements space and air. “Space” means the vast open space, or ether, but also the space in a room, the space in a box, or a space between your cells. In order for air to move and circulate, it needs space. So these two elements work harmoniously together. The Pitta principle (pronounced PIT-ta) is composed of the elements fire and water, which together have transformational qualities. And the Kapha principle (pronounced KAF-fa) is composed of water and earth. These elements exist everywhere on our planet and in the universe, in different quantities. Since, we are part of the planet and universe, the elements exist within each of us too. According to Ayurveda, the first requirement for healing oneself and others is a clear understanding of the three dosha.


A balance among the tridosha is necessary for health. For example, the air principle kindles the bodily fire, but water is necessary to control fire, otherwise the bodily fire would burn the tissues. Vata moves kapha and pitta, since kapha and pitta are immobile. Together, the tridosha governas all metabolic activities: anabolism (kapha), catabolism (vata), and metabolism (pitta). When vata is out of balance, the metabolism will be disturbed, resulting in excess catabolism, which is the breakdown or deterioration process in the body. When anabolism is greater than catabolism, there is an increased rate of growth and repair of the organs and tissues. Excess pitta disturbs metabolism, excess kapha increases the rate of anabolism and excess vata creates emaciation (catabolism).


What is Vata Dosha?

Vata is a principle of movement. That which moves is called vata. Therefore, vata may be translated as the bodily air principle. However, the element of Air in the external atmosphere is not the same as the air in the body. Bodily air, or vata, may be characterized as the subtle energy that govern biological movement. This biological principle of movement engenders all subtle changes in the metabolism. Vata is formed from the two elements Ether (“akasha”) and Air.


Vata governs breathing, blinking of the eyelids, movements in the muscles and tissues, pulsations in the heart: all expansion and contraction, the movements of cytoplasm and the cell membranes and the movement of the single impluses in nerve cells. Vata also governs such feelings and emotions as freshness, nervousness fear, anxiety, pain, tremors and spasms. The large intestine, pelvic cavity, bones, skin, ears and thighs are the seats of vata. If the body develops an excess of vata, it will accumulate in these areas.


What is Pitta Dosha?

Pitta is translated as fire, although the term does not literally mean “fire.” The fire of a candle or the fire in a fireplace may be manifests as metabolism is not visible in this way. Pitta governs digestion, absorption, assimilation, nutrition, metabolism, body temperature, skin coloration, the luster of the eyes; and also intelligence and understanding. Psychologically, pitta arouses anger, hate and jealousy. The small intestine, stomach, sweat glands, blood, fat, eyes and skin are the seats of pitta. Pitta is formed from the two elements Fire and Water. 

What is Kapha Dosha?


The translation of kapha is biological water,a nd this bodily principle is formed from the two elements- Earth and Water. Kapha cements the elements in the body, providing the material for physical structure. This dosha maintains body resistance. Water is the main constituent of kapha, and this bodily water is responsible physiologically for biological strength and a natural tissue resistance in the body. Kapha lubricate the joints; provides moisture to the skin; helps to heal wounds; fills the space in the body; gives biological strength, vigor and stability; supports memory retention; gives energy to the heart and lungs and maintains immunity. Kapha is present in the chest, throat, head, sinuses, nose, mouth, stomach, joints, cytoplasm, plasma and liquid secretions of the body such as mucus. Psychologically, kapha is responsible for emotions of attachment, greed and long-standing envy; it is also expressed in the tendencies towards calmness, forgiveness and love. The chest is the seat of kapha. 

Each person has all three doshas in his or her mind-body contitution. But the proportion of these doshas is different in everyone. General trends in doshic makeup usually exist in families, since genes are shared. But sometimes that's not the case, since environment, geographical location, date, time and season of birth ofen influence a person's prakruti (constitution), or true natue.