All philosophies or science streams are based on certain basic tenets. These tenets serve as a foundation for further research and knowledge building. Same is true for Ayurveda – roots of which go back to around to 6000 B.C.E.
If you are taking baby steps to understand and adopt Ayurveda, you would first need to comprehend the concept of doshas– the living being’s energy force. Understanding of doshas is fundamental in understanding the concept of Ayurveda. In Ayurveda, a person’s nature is determined by 3 types of doshas:
- Vata: which represents wind and space
- Pitta: which represents fire and earth
- Kapha: which represents water and earth
Vata, Pitta, and Kapha are each crucial to our physiology in some way or the other. Is any of the doshas better than the other? The answer is no. Each of the doshas has a very specific set of well-defined roles to play in the body. If any of these doshas are out of balance, they can inflict mayhem on a person’s health. However, before we handhold you and guide you to the specifics of these three doshas, it would be helpful for you to understand the composition of doshas and their role in nature.
As with any element in nature, all three of the doshas are there in everyone and everything, albeit in different proportions. In fact, the ratio of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha within everyone provides a blueprint for good health and has an important influence on an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional traits.
Some ayurvedic practitioners consider Vata as “the raja of doshas”. This is because Vata is the most important dosha as it regulates a being’s body and gives motion to Pitta and Kapha.
Every dosha plays two important roles in a human being – At the physical level and behavioural level.
- Role of Vata at Physical level: Vata, being the energy of movement is responsible for all involuntary and voluntary actions. For example, the beating of our heart, the movement of food through the intestinal tract, the blinking of our eye, muscle movement, tissue movement etc.
- Role of Vata at Behavioral level: As wind provides balance and movement a Vata person will also reflect qualities of air and space. Hence a Vata person will be quick thinking, fast-moving, outgoing and with a natural ability of to express themselves, but as the wind can also turn into a hurricane a Vata person can also suffer from anxiety, dry skin, and constipation
- Role of Pita at Physical level: Pitta is the energy of metabolism and digestion. Pitta is responsible for keeping our body at the right temperature. Pitta provides the body with the heat to break down the molecules into smaller particles.
- Role of Pita at Behavioral level: A person with a balanced pitta is blessed with being joyful and has a tremendous courage drive. But as pitta represents the fire, a person with an excess of pita can be outrageous and hot minded. Some characteristics of excess pitta can be anger, outrageous personality, and jealousy.
- Role of Kapha at Physical level: Kapha is the energy that provides the body with lubrication and ensures smooth functioning of all body parts. Kapha is responsible for giving bulk to our tissues and is also responsible for storing a person’s energy. An unbalanced Kapha may lead to weight gain, allergies, asthma, and diabetes.
- Role of Kapha at Behavioral level: A Kapha person shows the characteristics of love, affection, and calmness.
Hence as a first step to adopt Ayurveda in your daily lifestyle; go ahead and find what kind of dosha or set of dosha’s you are endowed with. This is a going to be a journey of self-discovery; a journey where you must talk to your body and mind. You may take help of ayurvedic practitioners to help you understand your predominant dosha. Once you have identified your dosha, the answers to all your physical and mental challenges will be much easier to find.