Introduction to the Ayurvedic Doshas: Qualities, Imbalances, Treatment and Diet

As per Ayurveda, the world is made up of five elements of nature, namely space/ether (Akash), air (Vayu), fire (Agni), water (Jala) and earth (Prithivi). Popularly known as the 'Panchamahabhutas' in the ancient Sanskrit texts, these elements are also present in the human body and mind in the form of Dosha: Vata (ether, air), Pitta (fire, water) and Kapha (water, earth).

These three Doshas or humors are decided at conception and influence everything from physical characteristics to mental abilities, emotional regulation, and more. Each Dosha has five sub-doshas making it a total of 15 sub-doshas. An imbalance in one or more Doshas or sub-doshas in the body can lead to serious health issues and concerns. Ayurveda recommends following a lifestyle that syncs with the body type and dominant Dosha, including diets, lifestyle practices and more.

Wondering what your Dosha type is? Take our Dosha Quiz today.

What are the Ayurvedic Doshas?

Vata Dosha

The Vata Dosha is made up of a combination of air (Vayu) and ether or space (Akash). It constitutes vitality and governs all movements, like the blinking of your eyes and lifting of your arms. Vata is the only active element in the body, and the other two Doshas - Pitta and Kapha, along with the Dhatus (tissues) and Mala (excreta) are monitored by Vata. It is also responsible for internal processes like circulation, respiration, and the normal functioning of the nervous system.

If the Vata Dosha is balanced in our body, it is also easier to balance Pitta and Kapha Dosha.

Read in detail about the Vata Dosha here. 

Pitta Dosha

The Pitta Dosha is an elemental combination of fire (Agni) and water (Jal). Generally attributed to its digestibility quality, this Dosha is responsible for our ability to mentally absorb information in our mind and digest and assimilate food in our body. Pitta Dosha is associated with chemical and metabolism transformation in the body.

Per the classic Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita, the Pitta Dosha is balanced when the blood is healthy, and the acid secretions in the intestines and stomach are optimal for digestion as per their Prakruti or Body Constitution. Sound judgment and discernment are expressive of a balanced Pitta. Pitta Dosha governs our ability to perceive bodily sensations like seeing, touching, smelling and hearing.

Read in detail about the Pitta Dosha here. 

Kapha Dosha

The Kapha Dosha combines nature's earth (Prithvi) and water (Jal) elements. The qualities of Kapha Dosha are slow, steady, moist, smooth, oily, cool, and heavy. Persons with Kapha dominant personalities have a robust build and frame and are likelier to have a radiant complexion, large eyes, and thick, lustrous hair.

Kapha-type persons are usually friendly and compassionate and easy to be with. They can also be lazy, and their heavy qualities sometimes make them sluggish and lethargic. Kapha additionally hydrates all cells and frameworks, lubricates the joints, saturates the skin, maintains immunity and safeguards the tissues. Kapha is often associated with water energy and with love and compassion.  Kapha in the body influences the mind-body connection and embodies structure, lubrication, and stability.

Read in detail about Kapha Dosha here. 

What happens when the Doshas are imbalanced?

1. A Vata imbalance can cause fear, anxiety, physical and emotional constriction, ungroundedness, poor circulation, constipation, dry skin, cracking joints, emaciation, insomnia, twitches, tremors, and other abnormal movements.
2. A Pitta imbalance can cause anger, jealousy, inflammation, excessive heat, heartburn, loose stools, migraines, rashes, bruising, bleeding disorders, sharp hunger, an overactive metabolism, and difficulty sleeping.
3. A Kapha imbalance can cause attachment, greed, resistance to change, lack of motivation, heaviness in the mind and body, excessive sleep, depression, a sluggish metabolism, congestion, water retention, hardening of the arteries, and the formation of masses and tumours.
4. It is also possible for more than one dosha to be out of balance at a given time or for all three doshas to be imbalanced.

Also read: Six Ayurvedic Tips to Stay Healthy

Ayurvedic Lifestyle Tips

1. Follow a dosha-balancing diet. 
2. Create a routine and stick to it. 
3. Eat warm, freshly cooked food with seasonal ingredients.
4. Drink plenty of water in small sips throughout the day while sitting down. 
5. Practice self-massage or Abhyanga to lubricate your body.
6. Incorporate healthy fats like cow ghee into your diet.
7. Follow the circadian rhythm: early to bed and early to rise.
8. Include all six tastes in every meal. 
9. Avoid sugary, carbonated drinks. Switch to herbal tea and hot drinks instead. 
10. Incorporate 30 minutes of physical movement in the form of sports.

Determine your Dosha with our Dosha Quiz today!

Consult an Ayurveda Doctor

Imbalances are unique to each person and require customised treatment plans to fully curb the issue from the root cause. We recommend consulting our Ayurveda Doctors at Amrutam.Global who take a collaborative approach to work on your health and wellness with specialised treatment options. Book your consultation here today.



RELATED ARTICLES

Talk to an Ayurvedic Expert!

Imbalances are unique to each person and require customised treatment plans to curb the issue from the root cause fully. We recommend consulting our Ayurveda Doctors at Amrutam.Global who take a collaborative approach to work on your health and wellness with specialised treatment options. Book your consultation at amrutam.global today.

Learn all about Ayurvedic Lifestyle