There is no debating the fact that no two individuals are alike. What causes these differences though? Genetics offers some answers but stop short of explaining the unique idiosyncrasies that characterize individuals. Ayurveda, the ancient science of biology explains the differences using the 3 doshas of body – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, – which form the basis of this science of the sages.
Ayurveda claims that the ways the three biological energies – or doshas – unite and work together define the unique characteristics of an individual. Any change in the sync pattern can cause an imbalance, which we perceive as an illness.
What are the 3 doshas of body?
The doshas are simply a manifestation of the properties of the five basic elements present in the body. Each dosha is a manifestation of one or more elements –
Vata – Space and air
Pitta – Fire
Kapha – Earth and Water
A perfect balance of doshas means a perfect balance of the five elements. This, in turn, means perfectly good health.
The Ayurvedic Concept of Doshas
Ayurveda claims that the perception of health and well-being is based on the presence, proportion, and action of the three doshas in the body. This does not necessarily mean that the doshas are not static. Their balance keeps shifting constantly depending on our environment, diet, lifestyle, and other factors. Growth occurs as a result of this shifting balance. The disease is a condition where the balance is not “optimal”.
The Human Body
Every human being possesses all the three doshas in varying combinations that make them unique. Every individual has a predominance of one dosha – and this is called his prakriti or nature.
What Dosha are you?
Every dosha has certain predominant traits that define an individual. Ayurvedic practitioners determine the dominant dosha by reading the pulse of the individual and observing individual traits which may point to a particular dosha. Some predominant traits of each dosha include –
A vata personality is an anxious individual full of nervous energy. He shows symptoms of dehydration, constipation, tremors, dizziness, restless sleep, and a general inability to “settle down”. Physically he may experience constipation, joint pains, muscular cramps, and other similar conditions.
A pitta personality is sharp, judgemental, and angers easily. Physically he will experience symptoms such as hypertension, acidity, hot flushes, body odour, and other similar symptoms.
An individual with a predominance of Kapha is lethargic, depressed, and prone to cold cough and congestion. He is sleepy most to the time. He is prone to feelings of loneliness, greed, and possessiveness. Kapha manifests as obesity, water retention, frequent respiratory tract disease, and bloating.
How the Doshas work
Each dosha has both positive and negative properties. Ayurveda uses these properties to maintain a balance within the body. An individual is defined by his predominant dosha – accordingly, an individual may be of vata, pitta, or kapha temperament. Just like our individuality, our ayurvedic temperament is a result of years of habit, lifestyle, and diet that create a unique pattern of doshas and build our constitution.
Striking a Balance
An excess – or deficiency – of a particular dosha can manifest into the symptoms of disease and illness. The science of Ayurveda treats diseases by restoring the balance of the the 3 doshas of body. Balancing of the three doshas is the key to good health. An imbalance will manifest as a mental or physical symptom
signifying an unbalanced constitution. Learning to maintain the perfect balance of the 3 doshas of body helps improve the mental and physical composition of the body – resulting in good health.
According to WHO, good health is not merely an absence of disease. It is a condition of complete physical and mental well-being. Ayurveda and the 3 doshas of body help maintain this condition.