• Ayurveda ~ Introduction to Doshas

    Posted on 3 December 2011 by Varsha Khatri in Ayurveda, Health.

    Ayu is the Sanskrit word for life and Veda is the Sanskrit word for knowledge. Therefore, Ayurveda is the total knowledge of life. Ayurveda is natural, preventative based medicine originating from India.

    The foundation of Ayurveda emerges from the five elements of space, air, fire, water, and earth. In turn, these five elements dynamically interact to form doshas, or bodily humors. There are three doshas, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each dosha has its own functions, influences and qualities that can be seen both in the human physiology and in the environment.

    Vata is comprised of air and space and its functions include movement, communication, and transportation throughout the physiology. Vata qualities are dry, rough, cold, light, subtle, moving, clear, and brittle. The blood flow through the arteries and veins, the nervous system communication and the transportation of nutrients are just a couple examples of how Vata works in the physiology.


    Pitta is comprised of fire and water and its main functions include digestion, transformation, and metabolism in the human physiology. Some of the qualities of Pitta are heat, sharp, flowing, sour, pungent, and slightly oily. Everything the body intakes, whether it’s tangible as food or intangible, such as experience, our bodies have to process it. This is where Pitta works. Its job is to metabolize everything so that we are able to extract the most nourishment.

    Kapha is comprised of water and earth and therefore, its main functions include structure, cohesion, and lubrication. Kapha qualities are heavy, cold, soft, sweet, oily, stable, steady, and sticky. Many of our favorite desserts, such as ice cream, cake, and pies are Kapha increasing foods. Kapha provides the support and structure, along with lubrication for our muscles and tissues throughout the physiology.

    Although the three doshas have individual functions and qualities, they cannot work alone. For maximum body efficiency, all three doshas have to be working together in a balanced state. In Charak Samhita, the main Ayurvedic text, states, “Doshas are three: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. In their balanced state they maintain the body. When imbalanced they afflict the body with imbalances and diseases.” (Charak Samhita, Vimanasthan, 1.5).

    Happy balancing!!

    ~ Varsha

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4 Responsesso far.

  1. [...] best and why. Also, during the description, I will refer to the doshas, vata, pitta, and kapha. Click here for more information about these three energies according to [...]

  2. [...] Depending on your dominant dosha constitution, you’re body will behave in a certain way. You can read more about the doshas here. When attempting to manage and lose weight, working against the doshas is also not healthy because [...]

  3. […] body is maintained in a healthy state. Their wrong use results in the vitiation (impairment) of the Doshas.” – Charak Samhita, Vimanasthan, […]

  4. Tessa says:

    I hope you write more about Ayurveda. There is so much info on the net I don’t know what to believe. My husband and I took a trip to India a little over 1 year ago and we are in love with the food, culture, and the way of living. When we returned from India we maintained the veg diet for some time, until we succumbed to Western ways again. I would like to begin to follow an Ayurveda lifestyle to optimize health. I hope you have something in the works about Ayurveda.

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