Life is a dance of energy, from birth to death and everything in between we are constantly, consistently shifting and changing our physical form as well as our psychological and emotional states. In Ayurveda we view this process by using the five elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether. Amongst other things these elements make up our bodymind constitutions and this constitution is called your dosha.
When you are born you have a particular balance of elements that makes up your kind of blueprint dosha for this life time, This is called your Prakruti. This determines your overall constitution and disease tendencies throughout your life and comes from your parents doshas (at conception and birth) as well as the time and place of your birth. As we journey through life we experience all kinds of different stressors, foods, climates, relationships and much more. These experiences and our reactions to them shift the balance of the elements and therefore our doshas and then our constitutional state can shift and change. This state we are in as we go though life is called our Vikruti. In Ayurveda it is important to know both of these states, our underlying tendencies and the way we are today. Now I’ll explain a bit about each dosha. When the doshas are in balance their qualities are very helpful for us, when out of balance (in excess) they can create disease.
Kapha. This is made of the earth and water elements. It is heavy, grounding. It is our need to feel a sense of belonging, to be comforted, cared for and loved. When in balance Kapha dominant people are loving and reassuringly calm and grounded. Kapha is also responsible for lubrication in the body, especially with mucus. When Kapha is in an excess it creates too much moisture in the body, this then show up as excess mucus, often in the chest area which is said the be the seat of Kapha in the physical body. People who are dominant in Kapha tend to be more solid in their body type, they can gain weight more easily and be prone to depression and feeling lethargic.
Pitta. This is the water and fire elements in the body. Pitta is quick, sharp and hot. It creates a sense of purposefulness, direction and clarity. When in balance Pitta is super organised, creative and intelligent. Pitta is responsible for transformation in the body and the seat of Pitta is the solar plexus, around the stomach, small intestine and liver. Pitta people tend to have strong digestion. When in excess Pitta can exhibit anger, frustration, be overly controlling and have physical inflammation such as skin rashes, spots, redness and gut inflammation. Pitta people tend to be very driven and athletic in their body type, and pink in their complexion. They are often intense personalities with strong opinions!
Vata. This is the energy of Air and Ether. Vata is cold, dry and light. It feeds our creativity, imagination and thought processes. When in balance Vata is super creative and imaginative, producing projects such as great art and writing. Vata is responsible for movement and the seat of Vata in in the lower abdomen large intestine area. When in excess Vata creates feelings of ungroundedness, anxiety, insomnia. Physically it can manifest as IBS symptoms, bloating and lack of appetite. Vata people tend to be slender, can loose weight easily (especially as they miss mealtimes without realising), have dry skin , hair and nails and feel cold especially in the hands and feet.
The above is a very basic overview of each Dosha. We are usually an interesting and eclectic combination of all 3 in varying amounts throughout our lifetime. In future articles I will explain more about the disease tendencies, influences, combinations, dietary recommendations, recommended practices and much more. As always feel free to contact me to ask or discuss anything at all.