What are the 3 Ayurveda Doshas? Vata, Pitta, and Kapha

ayurveda doshas

Ayurveda has an established understanding of the structure and nature of every person. Every person in the world is made up of the elements of the cosmos. These elements are ether, air, fire, water and earth. When broken down, not every person has all elements. And most people have a combination of the elements.

In Ayurveda these combinations are known as doshas. And while the modern world may consider the Ayurvedic science to be something “oh-so-strange”, there is nothing strange about it. It was not strange in 10000 BCE, and neither is it now.

Related: Learn about the history of Ayurveda

The doshas you have at birth is your perfect blueprint, prakruti, or “constitution”. Ever since your birth, there have been life situations, foods, and thoughts that you have taken in. The impressions you have taken in through any or all of your five senses, whether food or thought, have made an impact on you.They have taken you away from your original “makeup”.

When this happens, dis-ease happens too. And while the goal of Ayurveda is to get you to a place of perfect health, it cannot do this without first understanding your original blueprint. Understanding this means, understanding your perfect dosha combination with which you entered this world.

What are the 3 Types of Doshas?

There are three main doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha. You can be a combination of two or three of these doshas. In very very rare instances, you may be just one dosha. However, that may not be entirely true.

Only your Ayurvedic doctor will be able to work on figuring that one out. And unlike conventional medicine, which focuses on healing symptoms, Ayurveda works on root cause analysis. Ayurveda targets the problem not the manifestation of the problem.

Let’s look at the doshas from a very basic understanding. These are in no way meant for you to diagnose yourself. If you are interested in learning more about your constitution or would like to work with a Ayurvedic Health Counselor or Ayurvedic Doctor, send me a note here, and I can put you in touch with someone in the Ayurveda health association.

1. Vata

The Vata dosha is made up of 2 of the 5 elements, ether and air. These 2 elements are described in terms of their inherent qualities. These are, cold, light, unstable, flowing, subtle, clear, mobile, sharp, rough, and hard.

In the body, air and ether represent movement and space. These are represented in both in the body and the mind. A person who is more inclined to be a Vata type will exude similar qualities in both their physical form and their mental abilities.

They generally tend to be people who may have a lot of creative ideas, but will bounce around from idea to idea without seeing it come to fruition. Vata people could also be lanky in stature, have drier hands and skin. They may not have a steady appetite and also do not tend to gain much weight. Possible mind related symptoms are anxiety and poor memory.

2. Pitta

The Pitta dosha is also made up of 2 of the 5 elements, fire and water. The qualities of Pitta are hot, moist, light, subtle, unstable, flowing, sharp, hard, rough, and clear. In the body, fire and water represent heat and transformation.

It is the nature of transformation that allows anything to change in the body. A person who is more Pitta will tend to be super focused, angry, have strong words, and have a hard personality too. These are the people in life that will focus on one thing and get it done.

They have the detailed nature needed to block out most disturbances and get something to completion. However, due to the volatile nature of “unstable fire”, they can have a volatile nature too.

These are the people who have a crazy large appetite but their body uses and burns away the food, and the rest of us don’t know where the food went. They have stable body weight due to the fiery nature of their digestion.

3. Kapha

Pronounced “Ka” – “paa” and not “Ka”- “fa”. The Kapha dosha is made up of two of the five elements too. This time, those elements are water and earth. The qualities of Kapha are cold, moist, dense, gross, heavy, soft, dense, smooth, stable, and cloudy.

In the body, water and earth represent stability and structure. The nature of a Kapha type person is that of stability. They can be stable in their thoughts as well.

A Kapha person may have symptoms of being sluggish or not reacting fast. They tend to gain weight even with a low appetite. This is because they don’t have much of the digestive fire (agni) needed to transform the food as fast as a Pitta person.

In the mind, they tend to be gung-ho about decisions and are not open to change much. They have a softer temperament though.

How Do I Know if I am Vata, Pitta, or Kapha?

It must be noted that no one is ever one dosha. We all have two if not all three doshas in our Prakruti. And doing an online quiz to find out what your prakruti is, can be the worst thing you do to yourself.

You will see sites that offer up a quiz. While that is not entirely wrong, it is wrong to believe that a 10-minute quiz can determine your Prakruti/Constitution.

It takes Ayurvedic Doctors weeks if not months to understand who you truly are. So while it is okay to get a head start by taking one of those quizzes, do not be fooled by them. They are just giving you a pigeonhole look into your prakruti.

If you do have a serious condition that you are trying to pinpoint, I suggest seeking out a certified Ayurvedic practitioner.

In Conclusion

While anyone looking at these may start to think they are doomed with the doshas they were given, this is not the case. The original constitution or prakruti that is uniquely yours is actually perfect for you.

It would be the disturbances or the vikruti that cause your doshas to go out of your original constitution that cause the imbalance in your doshas.

While your goal is to understand your prakruti and get your body back to that perfect balance, you also need to understand your vikruti. By understating your vikruti, you then learn what it takes to get back to your perfect blueprint/constitution/prakruti.

What to learn more about your dosha? Leave me a note below.

Featured photo courtesy of unsplash.com

Last updated on April 5th, 2022

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