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Intro to Ayurveda - 3 Doshas

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

Let's begin with 2 definitions:

Ayurveda: one of the world's oldest holistic healing systems based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit [1].

Doshas: energies found throughout the human body and mind that govern all physical and mental processes and provide every living being with an individual blueprint for health and fulfillment [2].


According to Ayurvedic tradition, the doshas fall into three categories: Vata; Pitta; and Kapha. A person can be most aligned within one dosha or can resemble a combination.

The Vata dosha reflects the elements of space and air. This dosha welcomes change to keep pace with their creative energy. Vata energy is credited with movement in the body such as blood flow, elimination, and breath [3]. Additional Vata traits include cold, dry, and light.

The elements of the Pitta dosha are fire and water. This manifests in passionate and determined characteristics. The biological expression of Pitta includes the metabolic system, temperature, and appetite [4]. Pittas are strong willed, decisive, intense, and fiery.

The remaining dosha is Kapha, which is represented in the elements of water and earth. Qualities of Kaphas include calm, sensual, and supportive. Kapha energy supports wound and illness recovery and encourages new, healthy cell growth. Kapha is associated with damp and heavy representations in nature and is often associated with the winter season [5]. Kaphas are patient, grounded, and often stoic.

The doshas are categories used to identify an individual's constitution. This identification is useful in Ayurveda because treatments to balance a dosha vary depending on a person's nature. For instance, balancing Vatas requires different health treatments and diet suggestions than for Pittas. When a person is not in balance with their dosha, she will feel ill or face mental/physical strain.

Diet is a prominent factor in dosha balance optimization. Once one eats and behaves in accordance with their dosha, she will notice improved health and fitness as well as happiness with less angst. The dominant idea is that when one finds a harmonious balance of the doshas, she will notice the benefits in her everyday life. This balance can be different for each person, so it may take some experimentation to determine what makes you feel most aligned.

There are various quizzes and trait lists online that can help you to determine your dosha in order to learn how to maintain your optimal balance. I have personally found the following accessible and beneficial:




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