The Three Ayurvedic Doshas
The Ayurvedic Doshas
In Ayurveda everything that exists in nature and all living beings are compromised of the five basic elements; ether, air, fire, water and earth. These natural elements combine to create the doshas, energy types or mind-body types known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha. In Sanskrit the word ‘dosha’ translates to ‘energy’, and can be thought of as an energetic rhythm rather than a a physical substance. The elements ether and air combine to create the Vata (air) dosha, fire and water combine to create Pitta (fire) dosha, and water and earth combine to give rise to the Kapha (water) dosha.
The doshas or three energy types Vata, Pitta and Kapha exist within everything within us and around us; our mind and body, the environments we live in and foods we consume. Every physical process, emotion, mental characteristic, environmental element and tangible form can all be related back to the doshas; it is essentially the language that can be used to describe everything within our internal and external world. The doshas govern our mental temperaments and physical processes, they are dynamic, fluid and constantly changing in response our environments, lifestyles, nutritional choices and emotions. They can be related to anything from our behaviour and personality traits to the seasons and time of day. The doshas each hold unique qualities, functions and locations in the body, so when analysing mental and physical imbalance, the dosha which has fallen out of balance can be detected and treated accordingly from the root.
The 5 Elements
Light, cold and light like the sky
Dry, rough, cold, always moving and full of motion like a tornado
Hot, sharp, dry, light and mobile like the sun
Cold, heavy, mobile, liquid and soft like the ocean
Heavy, solid, stable, cold and dry like the soil
Vata = Ether + Air
The Vata (air) dosha is dry, cold, light, mobile, rough and subtle. It is the principle that governs movement and regulates all bodily perceptions from speech, hearing, swallowing, chewing, blinking, breathing, muscle movements, elimination and menstruation. When Vata is out of balance any of these movements can be effected.
Pitta = Fire + Water
The Pitta (fire) dosha is hot, sharp, light, slightly oily, mobile and penetrating. Pittas principle is thermal dominant and responsible for all transformation, metabolic rates and heat in the body. Any time the body goes through a process of transformation Pitta is in action. It is in charge of digestion, metabolism, temperature regulation and intelligence. Pitta imbalance leads to inflammation and excess heat in the body.
Kapha = Water + Earth
The Kapha (water) dosha is heavy, cold, oily, dull, smooth, dense, soft and static and governs stability and structure. Kapha forms the human bodily from the bodily tissues, fatty molecules (lipids), various organs and the skeleton. An imbalance of Kapha can cause excess heaviness, dullness and density in the body.