Introduction to the Doshas

In the Ayurvedic healing system there are three Doshas (biological humors) based on the qualities of the five elements.  Ayurveda is a very intricate science, but here’s a quick overview.

Vata is the constitution comprised of AIR and SPACE (aka ETHER).  Vata literally means “that which moves things” referring to the wind and how energy moves within our bodies.

Pitta is the constitution comprised of FIRE.  Pitta means “that which digests, heats, cooks, or transforms” referring to bile and our physical and emotional digestive functions.

Kapha is the constitution comprised of WATER and EARTH.  Kapha refers to phlegm and means “that which holds things together” our structure, growth and healing capacities.

We humans are all unique combinations of these three doshas.  Our Prakriti (constitution) is the name for the specific combination of these doshas within us at our moment of conception.  It is our personal biochemical recipe for optimal health and wellbeing.  Our Vikriti is our current state of dosha proportion at this moment. Our Vikriti (current state) may or may not closely match our original blueprint (Prakriti).  We know whether or not we are in balance by how we feel.  In balance we feel well, and out of balance, we experience physical, mental, and emotional problems.  Diet, lifestyle choices, age, environment, and stress management capacity all affect our current status, and thereby our health.

The goal of Ayurveda is not for each of us to have the same exact amounts of all three doshas, but rather to realign with our Prakriti by bringing what’s currently out of balance back into harmony with our own innate needs. Identifying which of the seven constitutional types best describes us can help us make choices to further support our balanced Whole Life Health.

If you haven’t already, take the Samana Wellness Dosha Quiz to help determine your constitutional type.  Once you have an idea, check out the suggestions below for diet and lifestyle strategies to support your health.

1. Vata

2. Pitta

3. Kapha

4. Vata-Pitta

5. Vata-Kapha

6. Pitta-Kapha

7. Vata-Pitta-Kapha

If you find your constitution a combination of more than one dosha, focus on the foods recommended on both (or all three) charts.  I’ll be making combination charts sometime soon, but for now, here are some helpful tips.

When Vata and Kapha are equally elevated, go for warming foods and beverages as both doshas are cold in nature, so avoid dairy and cold foods.

When Vata and Pitta are equally elevated, be mild with spices an include moderately sweet, hydrating foods like whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

When Kapha and Pitta are equally elevated, increase bitter greens and avoid dairy and hot spices.

When all three doshas are similar in elevation it is a delicate dance.  Work toward increasing the dosha that is lower without taking the others out of balance.

These are not strict rules, just guidelines.  So do your best and pay attention to the relationship between what you eat and do and how you feel.