What are Doshas?


Via Sundari

The ancient Indian “science of life” called Ayurveda explains that human beings, like the Universe, are made up of each of the five elements (air, space, fire, water and earth) and the Soul. Therefore, our bodies are a microcosm of the Universe within itself.

Ayurveda’s concept of the Doshas is unique to medical science. Ayurveda says the body is made up of tissues (dhatus), waste products (malas), and Doshas (loosely translated to Energetic Forces). It is the Doshas’ job to assist with the creation of all of the various tissues and to remove any unnecessary waste products from the body. It is also the Doshas that influence all movement, all transformation, all sensory functions, and many of the other activities in the human body and mind.

These elements expressed in our bodies as Air-inhaled during breathing, it pumps the blood through our system to keep us alive. Space-in the hollow cavities of the body, and we require space to move around. Fire-a part of our digestive system that helps to break down the food we eat and burn the calories needed for energy. Water-composes about two-thirds of our body, and we need water to survive. Earth-in our bones and our vital minerals that keep us healthy.

These elements, in their biological form, are known as doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata is made up of a combination of Air and Space. Pitta is a combination of Fire and Water. Kapha is made up of a combination of Earth and Water. The term Dosha translates as “what breaks us down.” You can think of Dosha as your genetic predisposition.

Every activity and function of our mind and body is dependent upon the balanced or unbalanced state of our doshas.

Because we are all comprised of all five elements, we all have each of the doshas as well. However every one of us is born with a unique, individual distribution of these doshas. So, no two of us are alike! The foundation of health and balance is in determining our own special combination of doshas, and then to utilize the tools provided by ayurveda and yoga to keep in balance. This insures that we stay beautifully radiant, mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Click here to take a quiz to determine your Dosha.

Vata – Air and Ether

Usually have a a small body frame, can be nervous, concerned or cautious. Hair is usually dark and coarse or rough in texture tending to curls, kinks and tangles. They tan easily and love the sun, and hate the cold. Vata nature is cold and dry. The dullness that can characterise Vata complexion is caused by poor circulation, which makes the skin cold to touch. Skin is generally dry, prone to early wrinkling and has a tendency to chap and crack. Vata needs warmth and nourishment.


Pitta: Fire and water
Strong, sharp memory, goal orientated, good organisers, strong sharp appetite, dislike the heat, sunburns easily, impatient, irritable, generally aggravated by heat – hot food, hot weather, alcohol. Skin: Very sensitive fine skin and scalp, prone towards inflammations, rashes, itching. Premature wrinkling and balding, discolouration of natural pigmentation, oily T-zone, blackheads, whiteheads, general excessive oiliness. Pitta needs to be cooled.


Kapha: Earth and Water
Kapha gives structure and solidity. They are calm and relaxed. In an imbalanced state they can be sluggish and prone to congestion and slow metabolism. Their skin is characterised by being smooth and unctuous, cool to touch. Seldom get rashes or infections, and when out of balance will suffer from acne, blackheads, general oiliness of the skin and scalp, and gain weight easily. Their hair is usually thick and glossy. Kapha needs stimulating herbs.

Generally we are a combination of two doshas.

Be aware of the seasons that govern the doshas

Summer: Pitta

Spring and Autumn: Vata

Winter: Kapha.





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