Every person is composed of 3 vital energies called “doshas”. In Sanscrit, these doshas are known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha. What differentiates each person is the way these energies are balanced in our bodies. Our bodies are guided by different degrees of these three doshas, among which one is predominant. A person’s particular balance is called “Prakruti” and is unique to each person. Prakruti is a determinant of a person’s physical, mental and emotional nature.
Prakruti can vary according to how one reacts with one’s environment. Things such as stress, bad diet, lack of exercise, or seasonal changes can all affect Prakruti. Your current balance is called “Vikruti”. When your Vikruti is identical to your Prakruti, then your health is considered excellent. This is your ideal state in Ayurveda.
The doshas are associated with different individual characteristics.
Vata – (Space and Air)
Vata Dosha is related to movement and is characteristically the most changeable and unpredictable. This Dosha is related to the nervous system.
A Vata’s skin is generally thin, dry, cold, and prone to eczema, dehydration. It has a tendency to show signs of aging more quickly and rarely perspires. A Vata’s hair tends to be thin and dry. They have thin, light, and svelte frames.
A Vata usually walks quickly and vivaciously. Their mood changes easily and they have a tendency to worry. They are nervous, irritable, sensitive, but also highly creative and artistic. They love to learn and discover, especially through touch. They learn very quickly, but forget just as easily. Also, they tend to start things and never finish them. Vatas are generous and happy people who are independent, playful and energetic when they are balanced. They love excitement and welcome change. Their mental and physical energy comes in bursts.
Vata sleep patterns are short and light. They can sometimes be agitated in their sleep. They tired easily after activity, but tend to have difficulty falling asleep. They are also prone to insomnia because of their restless thinking and worry.
Their eating patterns are irregular. Hunger can strike at any moment. Sometimes they lack appetite and are generally attracted to cold foods. Elimination is irregular and they tend to be constipated. Vatas are also the thinnest of the three Doshas. Most can eat anything without gaining weight; although weight gain may occur during middle age.
Vatas are prone to illness related to the nervous system, such as tremors, spasms, seizures and anxiety. They are also prone to rheumatism and joint pain.
Pitta – (water and fire)
Pitta Dosha is related to Motor energy and metabolism. Characteristically, Pittas are considered intense and heat is expressed everywhere.
Pitta skin is soft, light and warm. They are rather prone to acne and redness, and often have beauty marks or freckles. Their hair is fine, soft and usually straight. Hair is also more likely to whiten more quickly. The Pitta body is harmonious and pitas are often hot. They have warm hands and feet and are prone to burning sensations. They are more likely than the other doshas to perspire. A pitta’s movements are agitated, strong and powerful. Pittas are courageous, active and affectionate, but they also tend to be hypersensitive, jealous, short-tempered and prone to anger (stress will bring this up). Their mental thoughts are precise and logical. Pittas are highly intelligent and hungry for knowledge. Their memories are lively and clear and they have good powers of concentration. They tend to be neat and are able to manage their funds, their energy and their lives pretty well. They also have excellent leadership and public speaking qualities.
Pittas need moderate sleep. Their sleep is rather sound and restorative. Pittas like to eat at regular hours and they have a healthy appetite. They are attracted to salty foods. Their digestion is regular and have a particularly strong Agni (digestive fire), but they are sensitive to acidity and prone to acid reflux. The most common illnesses that affect pitas are infections and inflammation.
Kapha – (water and earth)
Kapha Dosha is related to stability and structure. Characteristically they are relaxed and have a strong health.
A Kapha’s skin is supple and smooth, yet thick, cold and oily as well. Their hair is thick, lustrous and shiny, often curly or wavy as well. A Kapha’s body is imposing, well-proportioned with strong shoulders and hips. Their movements are slow. Kaphas can be apathetic and sometimes even inert. They are prone to obesity when they are unbalanced.
But they are generally patient tender and seductive. However they can also be too attached and fear being abandoned. This is why Kaphas love to store things, whether it be money, possessions, energy or food. Kaphas have an excellent memory. They are very dependable people, as well as affectionate, caring and forgiving. Out of balanced Kaphas are lethargic, lazy, greedy and overattached.
Kaphas love to sleep and they sleep very deeply. They tend to find emotional comfort in eating. They eat slowly and appreciate what they are eating. Kaphas tend to be attracted to sugary and oily foods, as well as milk and cheese. Their digestion is slow and they often feel very heavy after eating. Kaphas are prone to respiratory illnesses such as asthma, chest colds, sinus congestions and excess mucus, but generally have a natural resistance to disease.