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The Three Doshas Explained

Discover your Unique Mind/Body Constitution



If you’re new to Ayurveda you may appreciate learning about the three doshas and how they work. In Ayurveda, the five elements - earth, water, fire, air and ether- are the building blocks of life. We can see the qualities of the elements at play in our mind and body. Each of the three doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha, are each comprised of two elements. #Vata Dosha is composed of the qualities of air and ether. #Pitta Dosha is composed of fire and water qualities. And #Kapha Dosha is made up of earth and water elements.


The Three Doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha are energies that pervade our mind & body and give us specific tendencies and traits. See my blog post explaining what a dosha is here. We all have all three of the doshas in us, and they are necessary for living. They appear in different amounts in each person, and your unique combination of the doshas in you makes you unique. The ideal state for you is in the proportions of the doshas that nature gave you when you were born; your unique proportion of dosha at birth is called your Prakruti in Sanskrit.


Since we know an element by its qualities, we can understand each dosha by its specific elemental qualities.


The positive side of the elements will give you the superpowers of the qualities. The negative side will make you feel unwell if you are out of balance.




Ether & Air combine to form Vata Dosha- The nature of Vata is air (wind) or that which moves things and cold, dry, mobile qualities characterize it. It governs the nervous system and all movement in the body. For example, respiration, blood flow, circulation, and elimination.


Ether element qualities are light, subtle, formless, open, and expanding. Air Qualities: Mobile Dry, erratic, light, and rough. The balanced side of Vata (the superpowers) are creativity, highly energetic, lean, expansive, available, flexible, and a quick mind. Do you identify with any of these vata superpowers?

The unbalanced side of Vata dosha is ungrounded, constipated, poor circulation, muscle tremors, anxiety and a scattered mind.


Vata types will benefit from slowing down, meditation, warmth, and grounding their energy.


Fire and Water combine to form Pitta Dosha- The nature of Pitta is fire (transformation) or that which digests things. Sharp, mobile, oily qualities characterize it. Fire governs all transformations in the body and is responsible for appetite, digestion, hormones, brilliance, and luminosity. People with a lot of pitta in their constitution have a sharp mind.


Fire qualities are hot, intense, sharp, light, subtle, and dry. Water qualities are heavy, liquid, flowing, cleansing, and oily. The positive sides of Pitta are strong digestion, lustrous hair and skin and eyes, and a focused and joyful disposition. People with many pitta qualities in their constitution are determined, strong-willed, and passionate. The unbalanced side of Pitta appears as heat in the body (inflammatory skin condition, indigestion, heartburn, and fever) or heat in the mind (heated emotions like jealousy, anger, being critical).


Do any of the superpowers or shadow side of Pitta resonate with you?


Pitta types are helped with cooling foods and practices.


Earth and Water combine to form Kapha Dosha- The nature of Kapha is earth (stability, cohesion) that which holds things together, and it is characterized by slow, stable, dense, loving qualities. Kapha is responsible for all cohesion in the body, and it is the force that holds everything together and gives it structure. It governs the immune system, muscle growth, strength, and stability, and Kapha in the personality often looks like a loving nature.


Water qualities are heavy, cool, liquid, flowing, cleansing, nourishing and slow. Earth qualities are heavy, gross, stable, cool, slow, dry, and reliable.



Kapha superpowers are strength, stamina, endurance, groundedness, and being calm and fluid. Kapha people are usually very reliable and good are relationships. Unbalanced Kapha looks like obesity, lethargy, depression, hoarding, sinus congestion, and a foggy mind.


Kapha is balanced with food, movement, and lifestyle choices that are light and mobile.


Do the qualities of Kapha echo true with you?



Each dosha has corresponding qualities expressed in one's mental, emotional, and physical being. Which dosha resonates with you most?


In Ayurveda, you are totally unique!


Each person has a unique elemental proportion. Everyone has all 5 elements and all three doshas. They are what give function and structure to your body/mind. Your unique balance of elemental energies is called your Prakruti in Sanskrit.


Understanding your original doshic constitution can be helpful to inform choices for igniting balance in your life and understanding why you are the way you are. Since the doshas are constantly in flux (as they are influenced by the season, the climate you are in, the stage of life you are in, and any stresses), understanding how the doshas are currently presenting is important for healing current imbalances or diseases. Working with an Ayurvedic practitioner can be beneficial for guidance on what your dosha is and how to make adjustments in your life based on your dosha.


Addressing your needs according to your dosha can help you prevent imbalance and disease and add quality to your life-reach out today!


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