Ayurveda Doshas Explained•
Posted on February 23 2023
Ayurveda has been practiced in India for almost all over 5000 years. The term Ayurveda is a combination of two Sanskrit words – Ayur meaning life and Veda meaning science. Hence, Ayurveda can be considered as the science of life. Over the years, Ayurveda has gained immense significance and the number of people retorting to the is holistic approach for treatment of various illnesses is increasing by the day.
The chief principles of Ayurveda are focused around three doshas comprising Kapha, Pitta and Vata. These three doshas are centred around the five elements of nature that are collectively known as Pancha Bhoota in local parlance. According to Ayurveda, an individual needs energy to lead a happy and healthy life. This energy is comprised in the five elements that manifest themselves as the three doshas. The general mood, energy level and health of a person are affected by the balance and imbalance of these three doshas.
Read on to know more about the three doshas and how the human body is associated with them.
Kapha Dosha: The Force of Stability
This dosha is associated with water and earth and is represented as the protector. Kapha helps to maintain the resistance of the body. The dosha is responsible for generation of new cells, cell repair, body building and anabolism. It is also responsible for lubrication and nourishment. The unofficial mascot is an elephant.
A person with Kapha dosha is steady, easy-going, calm, wise, patient, composed, mature and thoughtful. He/she is also loyal, loving, a good listener and/or counsellor and has a sweet personality. An individual dominated with Kapha dosha goes out of the way to make sure that everyone is fine at a social gathering and is naturally compassionate towards others. He/she takes time to do a job but ensures that it is well done. People with Kapha dosha are characterised by curvy bodies with a broad frame, mental and physical strength and strong bones. They also have thick lips, large eyes, a sweet voice and a lot of hair.
On the flip side, the dosha is imbalanced due to excessive food consumption. This makes people with Kapha dosha prone to oversleeping, headaches, sinus congestions, getting depressed easily and respiratory disorders. They gain weight, resist exercise, lose motivation, become stubborn and refuse to accept change. Kapha dosha can be balanced by increasing the intake of fluids, stimulating activities and indulging in gentle exercises.
The Kapha balance can be restored by means of food like ripe fruits, raw or steamed vegetables, honey, millets and grains like barley, rye and oats. Strong spices like turmeric, pepper, mustard, cardamom and cloves are good for this dosha. It is best to avoid food like dairy products, sweets, processed foods and heavy fatty foods that are not easy to digest.
Pitta Dosha: The Force of Transformation
This dosha is associated with fire and water with fire being predominant. Pitta assists in regulating the temperature of the human body by transforming the food chemically through activities like digestion, metabolism, nutrition, assimilation and absorption. This will in turn help him/her perceive what is going around him/her. The dosha enhances the appetite and vitality of an individual. The unofficial mascot is a lion.
A person with Pitta dosha is associated with high leadership qualities. He/she is determined and strong willed and communicates clearly. This individual demands attention, is powerful and protects his/her loved ones fiercely with true love and loyalty. People with Pitta dosha are characterised by compassion, power and an inspiration for other to attain their goals. They are also intelligent, sharp minded, quick learners and have strong eyesight, clear voices and warm skin.
On the flip side, the dosha is imbalanced due to excessive consumption of fermented, spicy, salty, fried and oily food as well as alcohol. This makes people with Pitta dosha engage in conflicts very easily and become impatient fast with their agitation and anger. They are always hungry, sensitive to hot weather and prone to inflammation, ulcers and acne. The imbalance additionally triggers jealousy and irritability. Pitta dosha can be balanced by massages, meditation and inhaling cooling and mild scents to relax the body.
The Vata balance can be restored by means of food like curry leaves, mint leaves, oats, barley, dairy products and sweet fruits. It is best to avoid tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, red meat and sour fruits.
Vata Dosha: The Force of Motion
This dosha is associated with space and air and is considered to be the most important of all three doshas. Vata is associated with regulating the physical and mental movements of different parts of the body. The dosha triggers breathing, the movement of arms and legs, heart beats, elimination of waste from the body and blinking of the eyes. The unofficial mascot is a butterfly or a humming bird.
A person with Vata dosha is highly energetic and lively and loves trying out new things or meeting new people. The individual is an original thinker also quite flexible and very good at multitasking. They get bored when confined to a place, find it difficult to put an end to their thoughts, keep analysing pointless situations continuously and even keep talking the same things over and over again to themselves. People with Vata dosha are characterised by a slim body profile and has a high level of creativity.
On the flip side, the dosha is imbalanced because of high consumption of astringent and spicy foods. This makes people with Vata dosha be forgetful, have regular mood swings based on the weather or gets easily distracted. They also suffer from problems like fear, insomnia, anxiety, cold and cough, rough and dry skin, wrinkles, premature ageing and dry hair, cracking joints and constipation. Vata dosha can be balanced by taking adequate rest and relaxing oneself.
The Vata balance can be restored by means of food like broccoli, leafy vegetables, rice, wheat, melons, berries, yoghurt and buttermilk. Cheese, seeds, nuts, whole milk, eggs, avocados and mild spices like ginger, cumin and cinnamon are also good for this dosha. It is best to avoid food like sweets, cold desserts, dried fruits, raw vegetables and other cold food.
Each of the above doshas have their own strengths as well as weaknesses that determine the traits and health of an individual. There is no specific dosha that can be said to be better than the other two types. One’s doshic balance is disrupted by four undesirable elements, namely, insufficient exercise, unhealthy diet, repressed emotions and stress.
A person need not always be associated with a single dosha. He/she can portray qualities associated with two doshas that make them feature dual constitutions. Such an individual will be associated with pitta-kapha, vata-pitta or vata-kapha dosha. In such cases, one dosha tends to at times over-dominate the other while at other times, the other dosha takes the upper hand.
An individual can have a tridoshic body type. In this case, all three doshas are in perfect balance and sync with each other. In other words, the three doshas are balanced equally. Such a person has a steady and adaptable mind and is blessed with overall good health. He/she adheres to a vata balancing diet and lifestyle in autumn while he/she follows a kapha balancing diet and lifestyle in winter. He/she retorts to a pitta balancing diet and lifestyle in summer.
Written by - Deepthi K