What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a holistic knowledge of wellness that originated in India around five thousand years ago. Ayurveda states that every person is unique and requires their own unique guidance on how to maintain proper physical and emotional health, with a focus on preventive medicine. Visit our getting started guide for more in-depth information about Ayurveda.
What are the Three Dosha in Ayurveda?
According to Ayurveda everybody and everything is composed of five elements: space, air, fire, water and earth. Every person is born with the same fundamental elements. However, every individual has their own specific combination that determines their unique and personal features such as skin type, mental and physical health.
Different combinations of these five elements give rise to biological forces known as doshas. There are three distinct Ayurvedic doshas that create each individual and are responsible for all key functions in the body. Space and air create the Vata dosha, fire and water create the Pitta dosha, while water and earth create the Kapha dosha. Your unique combination, or formula, that shows the natural relationship of your doshas is called Prakrti (or Prakṛti). Our Prakṛti is the unique proportion of each dosha in our body that we were born with.
Vata Dosha – controls functions of the body associated with motions such as breathing, heartbeats and blood circulation.
Vata, just as the wind, never stays still and brings cool, refreshing air that drives away humidity. Similarly, a Vata dominant person is fast and changeable. She is imaginative, creative and approaches new things with great enthusiasm, even though her attention span may not last too long. When balanced she is a full of joy and enthusiasm. A Vata’s body build is usually tall and slender, does not gain weight easily but can lose it quickly. Vata skin is thin with no visible pores and generally has a cool and dry complexion. Hair tends to be dark, dry, thin and often frizzy and curly.
A person with an imbalanced Vata is nervous and tends to have insomnia. A Lack of sleep leads to an irregular routine which could lead to a loss of appetite and constipation. Skin complexion becomes very dry with visible fine lines. Due to the added stress and natural thinness of her skin, she ages faster.
Vata personalities generally have cold hands and feet and despise noisy and cold environments. This is why salads and raw vegetables are not the best for Vata. Instead, they prefer a bowl of hot soup or freshly made bread straight from the oven. Read more about the Vata Dosha and how you can treat symptoms such as dry skin.
Pitta Dosha – manages metabolic systems such as digestion, absorption, nutrition and temperature regulation of the body.
Pitta is sharp and fierce and is best symbolized by fire or flames. A Pitta dominant person generally has piercing green, gray or blue eyes. She will be very passionate, knows what she wants and generally manages to get it as well. When balanced, she’s happy and delightful. Generally, Pittas have good management and leadership capabilities, but can also tend to be authoritarian. The Pitta body build is medium and proportionate. Just as with Vata, she can easily gain and lose weight. Pitta skin is warm, soft and lustrous with larger pores in T-Zone and quite often have freckles or beauty spots. The face is usually sharply contoured, whereas hair tends to be straight and in golden blond, sandy brown or blazing red colors.
When Pitta is imbalanced or under pressure, she can get irritable, angry, impatient and impulsive. She can use her intellect and criticism against others. Her body has a tendency toward ulcers, hypertension and heart disease. An imbalanced Pitta’s skin erupts with rashes, acne and inflammations.
Pitta hates hot weather and spicy food that can feed her inner fire. Salads, cool drinks and ice-creams are best suited to tame Pitta. See how to tame the inner fire of Pitta Dosha and treat symptoms of sensitive skin.
Kapha Dosha – responsible for the growth in the body. It moisturizes the skin and maintains the immune system.
To visualize Kapha just imagine a soft, wet clay or earth after the rain. She is cautious, wise, honest and steady. When balanced she is forgiving, compassionate and faithful. Kapha is very well-mannered with a deep understanding and empathy for others. She takes her time to learn but has an outstanding long-term memory. Kapha possesses a full-figure body, gains weight very fast and requires sustained efforts to lose it. Kapha’s skin type is soft with visibly large pores and is rather oily. Because of that her skin ages slower and will develop visible wrinkles much later in life. Her hair is thick, wavy and curly.
When Kapha is imbalanced she can easily become lazy and has great difficulty moving on after disappointments. Kapha Dosha tends to become depressed easily and sometimes attachment can turn into a feeling of possessiveness. The skin of an imbalanced Kapha develops cystic acne, blackheads and scarring.
Kapha Dosha needs a bit of warmth because of its earth and water attributes. Hot and spicy foods are perfect for Kapha, but she should carefully monitor the amount and quality of her food intake to avoid unintentional weight gain. It is best to avoid cold and oily dishes, even with olive oil, since they can create an imbalance in the “clay-ish” Kapha. Control the oily skin of the Kopha Dosha using our guide.
Which Dosha is Dominant with You?
It is important to make a point about Ayurvedic doshas here. It is that very rarely we can meet a person that identifies purely with one dosha. Most people have a combination of two doshas, though one dosha is generally dominant over the other. It is important to know your body and listen to your symptoms, and choose the right treatments for you and your doshas. Take our quick quiz and see which dosha dominates your body.