The Pancha Mahabhuta or the five elements work together in different ways to create physical energies, termed as Dosha in individuals. These three govern the creation, maintenance, and destruction of bodily tissues Dhatus as well as the assimilation and elimination.
- Earth + Water → Kapha Dosha corresponding to structure and all of the oily factors of our body such as fat tissue, lubricating fluids like synovial fluid in joints, the mucous secretions in the digestive system and respiratory system. Qualities – heaviness, slow movement, oiliness, liquidity, thickness, and density.
- Air + Fire → Pitta Dosha corresponding to digestion, bio-transformation of the digested food, and the factors responsible for our metabolism. The seats of Pitta are in the digestive system, skin, eyes, brain, lymph, liver, spleen and blood. The presence of Pitta is evident through our body temperature. Qualities – hotness, sharpness, lightness, liquidity, sourness, oiliness and fast-spreading nature.
- Air + Space → Vata Dosha corresponding to movements of our body and inside our body. These include movements of the muscles, movement of food through our digestive tract and movement of the blood through the blood vessels. Qualities – dryness, roughness, coldness, mobility, clarity and astringent taste.
Ayurvedic principles – Prakriti and Dosha
Each person is born with a unique combination of these “Dosha” which decides their temperament or body type and is termed as “Prakruti”. Understanding of each person’s Prakruti for deciding their personal diet and exercise pattern, supplements and medicinal herbs, cleansing and rebuilding therapies that are right for them are among the chief methods, Ayurveda employs for the maintenance and restoration of health.
Physical features of an individual can also be utilized to understand the Prakruti of the person, shown below:
How is an individual related to Doshas?
Every individual would have all three Doshas present in their most balanced state. However, the proportion of these Doshas varies from one individual to another making every person unique.
Your Dosha would determine how your body would respond to various internal and external factors such as environment, food, and situations that it is exposed to on a daily basis. The most dominant proportion is generally described to guide a person’s Dosha, for example, one can be described as “Pitta” Dosha if they have Pitta Dosha say at 55%, while Vata at 30% and Kapha at 15%.
Prakriti or Initial Body Constitution
The most natural composition of a person’s guiding physical energies is their innate nature, or potential or “Prakruti”. A person’s Prakruti is highly dependent on their parent’s Prakruti and can also be described as the basic constituent of all three Doshas when he or she was born.
Vikriti is an unbalanced state of Dosha
Since Doshas are dynamic energies guiding the functioning of our body and mind, the proportion keeps on changing. At any specific time, the proportion of a person’s Doshas is known as “Vikriti”.
An imbalance in Doshas can result in large gaps between their present state Dosha composition, which is “Vikriti” and their innate nature, which is “Prakruti”. This is also the “ill” state of body and mind.
Balance is the key!
Ayurveda’s healing philosophy is based on maintaining your innate nature or balance of Dosha’s. Hence, the way of life, which would further translate into activities, environment, and food intake is defined for different “Doshas”, would help one to achieve their balanced state. This is also a happy state of body and mind.
Identifying your Prakruti or body type leads to a deeper understanding of how your body is structured and hence find ways to maintain your best state of health.