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What Are the Doshas? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Jessica Gomes
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The practice of Ayurveda medicine has been around for over 5,000 years. It has been, and still is, a powerful healing method across many different cultures. Within Ayurveda, there is a system known as doshas, which refers to each person’s unique physical and mental makeup which affects their health and happiness.
 
Everyone has a dominant dosha or a combination of two dominant doshas. When you know and understand yours, it can provide insight on how to maintain balance within your mind, body and spirit.
 

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is an ancient medical practice created by the Saptarishis, or Sages, of India. Translated, “Ayur” means “life” and “Veda” means “science or knowledge,” which forms the connotation, “science of life.”
 

The ideology behind Ayurveda believes that the mind and body are powerfully connected, and there is nothing more capable of healing and transforming the body than the mind.

 
In Ayurveda, the most prescribed medication is meditation – while obtaining plenty of sleep, exercise, and eating nutrient-rich, whole foods. Ayurveda is broken down into three universal life energies known as the Tridosha theory. These energies, or doshas, live within us and control our physical and mental actions.
 

What Are Doshas?

The Sages of India created three doshas, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha to provide a clear understanding of Ayurveda principles. They illustrate what makes each of us unique through our characteristics and eccentricities. They are the powerful force behind our bodily processes.
 
Everyone has all three doshas within them, but there is typically a more dominant dosha or a cross between two doshas. The three doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) consist of the five elements and represent our physical processes, personality, and emotional traits.
 
Vata combines the elements of ether and air, representing the principle of movement. Pitta combines the elements of water and fire, representing the principle of energy. Kapha combines water and earth, representing the principle of structure.
 
Although our dominant dosha is solidified at conception, each dosha within us fluctuates depending on the environmental factors that surround us as we go through life.
 

Here’s everything you need to know to learn the basics about the doshas:

 

Vata Dosha

Vata controls movement within the body such as your circulation, walking, elimination, and breathing. It also activates your nervous system. Typical Vatas have a thin body type, are quick, flexible, and agile. They love excitement and experiencing new things, thrive on creativity, and produce short bursts of energy usually followed by fatigue.
 
Other characteristics include having dry skin, hair, and nails, cold extremities, being a light sleeper, and having a sensitive digestive system. When this dosha becomes imbalanced, it shows through symptoms of weight loss, worry, anxiousness, insomnia, constipation, hypertension, arthritis, weakness, restlessness, and digestion issues.
 

 

Pitta Dosha

Pitta controls transformation and takes charge of metabolism, digestion, and energy production. Those who have a dominant Pitta dosha have fiery qualities, run warm, sleep soundly, and have a high sex drive. They are smart, able to focus on projects effortlessly, are outspoken, and have boundless energy.
 
When this dosha becomes imbalanced, it shows through skin rashes, irritability, peptic ulcers, heartburn and excessive body heat.
 
 

Kapha Dosha

Kapha is the principle that forms the body’s necessary components, such as muscle, fat, and tissue providing structure and protection. Those who are Kapha dominant are typically calm, mindful, and affectionate. Their physical characteristics include large eyes, radiant skin and thick hair, incredible stamina, and a body that is visually strong. They love routines, enjoy life to the fullest, have normal digestion, sleep soundly, and are loyal, patient and supportive.
 
When this dosha becomes imbalanced, it shows through weight gain, depression, asthma, diabetes and oversleeping.
 

Find Equilibrium Through the Tridosha System

Ayurveda has influenced many medicinal practices for thousands of years. The Sages of India, who created Ayurveda, created the Tridosha system to assist in the understanding of the Ayurveda principles. These three doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha – are powerful energies found throughout the body and mind and are the force behind all our bodily processes.
 

It is important to understand your dosha in Ayurveda and yoga practice because once you do, you will understand how your everyday practices affect your equilibrium.

 
Each person has a unique dosha make-up which typically consists of all three doshas, with one being more dominant. The doshas are what makes each person different and provides a tool to assist you in the process of achieving balance throughout your body and mind.
 
Putting this knowledge to use in your daily life will amplify your mind-body connection and allow you to truly connect with your body.
 

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Jessica Gomes

Jessica Lynn Gomes is a twenty‐something creative writer and health enthusiast living in Laguna Beach, California. As an athlete, she develops her own workout routines and practices a clean eating lifestyle. She is constantly experimenting in the kitchen, creating new ways to cook for her gluten‐free lifestyle, without sacrificing taste and nutrition. To get to know more about Jessica, head over to her personal blog, The Naked Bohemian.

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