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Ayurveda: The Three Doshas



This is a different kind of blog. This is the blog where I share exactly what I learn. And so, we jump straight into Ayurveda. The word itself translates to "science of life", and that is what it actually is. This post will give you an overview of the three doshas (bodily humours) or central energies in Ayurvedic philosophy.


The doshas circulate throughout the body (and the subtle body too). They govern the physical, mental and emotional characteristics of every individual. Every individual has a dominant dosha or at least a combination of two doshas. It is very rare (but still the case) that some individuals have a complete balance of the three doshas.


But you'll probably ask, what's my dosha? There are a number of online quizzes that you can take which will help you determine your unique constitution. I think it is best to seek the guidance of an Ayurvedic professional to gain an accurate idea of your constitution, but still, it is useful to begin with/


The three doshas are known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These doshas are a combined energy of the five elements: ether, air, fire, water and earth. Vata is constructed from ether and air, Pitta from fire and water, and Kapha is a combination of both water and earth. From the time of conception, from multiple factors (such as genetics, parent's health, environment, etc.), each of us develop our individual prakruti which is your unique genetic blueprint in how you experience your physical and mental body. Remember, we have all three doshas within us, but just in varying ratios. This can be seen in literally every area of your self, from how we digest food, to the colour of your eyes, and even your personality traits.


Some of us can be Vata-Pitta, or Pitta-Kapha, or even Vata-Pitta-Kapha in equal measure. When our natural balance is disrupted, a condition known as vikruti emerges, often due to various factors. Vikruti signifies the onset of disease, indicating an imbalance of doshas. Achieving optimal health and well-being entails recognizing your prakruti (natural constitution), assessing your vikruti (imbalance), and implementing informed, holistic approaches to restore dosha equilibrium. By addressing the root cause and rebalancing the doshas, long-term symptom alleviation is achieved, underscoring the fundamental Ayurvedic principle: understanding the origin is essential for treating any state of discomfort. Restoring dosha harmony eliminates illness, reinstating wellness.


Vata

Vata, comprised of the air and ether elements, governs movement and propulsion within the mind and body. Due to its association with the lightest elements, Vata can be easily provoked by speed and force, necessitating prompt and effective pacification.


Characterised by movement and adaptability, individuals with a dominant Vata constitution are typically energetic, creative, and constantly on the move. In a balanced state, they exhibit a lean physique and exude enthusiasm.


Various factors can disrupt Vata, including exposure to cold, windy, and dry environments, consumption of cold, raw, and dry foods, excessive exercise, lack of adequate rest and routine, as well as trauma, stress, and certain health conditions.


Imbalances in Vata manifest throughout the body, resulting in symptoms such as bloating, constipation, flatulence, dry skin, hypertension, and high cholesterol. Additionally, conditions like osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, slipped discs, pinched nerves, sciatica, and weakened bones and joints are linked to an imbalanced Vata dosha. Fatigue, malabsorption, deficiencies, and irregularities in bodily functions such as sleep and elimination processes are also common. Furthermore, an aggravated Vata dosha can compromise reproductive health, libido, and overall immune function.


In the realm of the mind, imbalanced Vata may lead to heightened levels of tension, racing thoughts, anxiety, fear, stress, and mood swings. Individuals may also experience difficulties with concentration, mental clarity, and memory retention.


Pitta

Pitta, composed of the fire and water elements, governs transformation and metabolic processes within the body. It orchestrates the conversion of food, water, and air into tissues, waste products, and energy, while also regulating body temperature, hunger, thirst, and emotions. Pitta oversees crucial functions such as digestion, bile production, enzyme activity, metabolism, as well as the endocrine, ocular, and integumentary systems.


Individuals with a predominant Pitta constitution typically exhibit a medium build and weight. In a state of balance, Pittas boast a radiant complexion, optimal digestion, abundant energy, muscularity, mental acuity, strong work ethic, vigorous sexual drive, sound sleep patterns, and robust appetite.


Pitta dosha becomes aggravated by excessive consumption of pungent, sour, and salty foods, as well as by the overindulgence in alcohol and caffeine. Irregular daily routines and prolonged exposure to hot environments, including sunlight, disrupt Pitta equilibrium. Any condition involving inflammation, infection, toxins, or acidity is indicative of Pitta imbalance.


Signs of a Pitta imbalance include a preference for cooling foods, environments, and clothing, along with symptoms like excessive salivation, thirst, hunger, bodily heat, and sweating. Skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, or infections may occur, alongside gastrointestinal issues like hyperacidity, heartburn, ulcers, or irritable bowel syndrome. Menstrual irregularities, hormonal imbalances, eye ailments like conjunctivitis, and inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or acute injuries like sprains are also associated with imbalanced Pitta. Psychological manifestations include anger, perfectionism, self and others criticism, irritability, short temper, jealousy, and argumentativeness. Aggravated Pitta individuals may display domineering tendencies and a desire for control.


Kapha

Kapha is made up of the water and earth elements and is responsible for the function of preservation and strength. Kapha drives growth, immunity, flexibility, sustenance, and lubrication within the body. It fills the intercellular spaces of the body, protecting and minimising destruction and wear and tear of tissues due to friction created by the movement of Vata. In short, Kapha is the opposite dosha to Vata.


The primary function of Kapha is protection, growth, strength, and renewal. Kapha body types are usually of a strong build and have excellent stamina. When in balance, Kapha individuals have large, soft eyes; smooth, radiant skin; thick hair, strong sleeping patterns, a regular appetite, and are calm, loyal, thoughtful, and loving by nature.


Kapha can become aggravated with a diet too heavy in sweet, sour, and salty tastes. Foods that are overly sweet, processed, and heavy will vitiate Kapha. Overeating, excess sleep, daytime napping, cold, damp environments, and a sedentary lifestyle all increase Kapha. A disruption to the immune system, an increase in fat tissue, and excess fluid in the body will affect the Kapha dosha.


Excess Kapha may cause digestive disorders such as loss of appetite, nausea, heaviness in the stomach, a sluggish digestive system, and excess weight. Swollen joints, oedema, feeling cold, and any condition affecting the lymph system are linked to the Kapha dosha. Excess mucus, congestion, swollen glands, hay fever, allergies, and any itching conditions are Kapha-dominated. Any immune disorders, conditions of the mouth, and reproductive conditions such as PCOS stem from Kapha vitiation. In the mind, you may feel a need for excessive sleep, feel lethargic, and have a lack of concentration and motivation. You may feel emotionally heavy and at times depressed.


Information Overload?

So, that's quite a lot to digest, isn't it? But don't worry, we're not leaving you hanging! In our coming posts, we'll be diving into each dosha, unpacking what they mean for you, and how our products can be your sidekick in creating a wholesome skincare, self-care, and internal care routine. Get ready for a journey of discovery and wellness tailored just for you! Stay tuned for some exciting insights and tips to help you thrive.

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