Vata, Pitta, Kapha – doshas in Ayurveda
Everything you need to know about Vata, Pitta, and Kapha
In Ayurveda, Vata, Pitta and Kapha are known as the three doshas, or regulating forces of nature. Ayurvedic wisdom holds that equilibrium or balance of these three doshas is extremely important.
Exactly what are these doshas? Ayurveda describes the doshas as three fundamental principles operating in outer nature, but also penetrating our human nature and thus regulating all physiological processes.
The human being in terms of dosha balance
The individual distribution of the three doshas determines our constitution and our Ayurveda type. It describes our spiritual and physical predispositions: our physical build, nutritional needs and metabolism as well as the different features of our personality, our temperament, our likes and dislikes, our strengths and weaknesses.
Depending on which dosha or doshas are dominant, Ayurveda distinguishes between different constitution or ayurvedic types: Vata, Pitta and Kapha types as well as a number of mixed types.
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Vata, Pitta, Kapha – the way doshas shape us
Vata – the principle of movement
Vata is responsible for the nervous system, breathing and all kinds of movement in the body. The elements of space and air are associated with the Vata dosha. Balanced Vata makes you feel full of energy, happy, enthusiastic and creative; the mind is calm, clear and alert.
Pitta – the principle of metabolism
Pitta governs – among other things – digestion and body temperature. In the area of the mind, it stands for a sharp intellect and emotions. Pitta primarily consists of the fire element. When in balance, Pitta bestows contentment, energy, fluency in speech, good digestive power, correct body temperature and a clear mind.
Kapha – the principle of structure
Kapha provides the body with firmness and stability and maintains the body's fluid balance. The elements of earth and water are associated with Kapha. A balanced Kapha gives strength, stamina, a good immune system, patience and mental stability.
Distribution of Vata, Pitta & Kapha in the body
Although all three doshas are present everywhere in the body, the ancient Vedic texts describe a "home location" for each of the doshas. In the Ashtanga Hridayam, Sutrasthan 1:7 it says:"Vata is mainly found below the navel, Pitta mainly between navel and heart, and Kapha above the heart."
Maintaining inner balance
If the three doshas are in their individual balance, this means that all physical functions can perform smoothly– according to Ayurveda we are then in perfect health and feel completely comfortable in our own body. However, if the dosha combination is out of balance, for example because one dosha exerts undue influence over the others, then this can lead to ill health in the long run.
This is why ayurvedic texts explain which simple measures can be taken at an early stage to gently restore a dosha to its natural balance. Thus the body's own natural self-healing powers are strengthened.
Wisdom from ancient texts –enjoying a healthy dosha balance
The traditional source text of Ayurvedic literature, Charak Samhita, explains the importance of balanced doshas:"The body of every living being is always the residence of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. One should know whether they are in a natural (balanced) or unnatural (unbalanced) state." – (Charak Samhita, Sutrasthan, 18.48)
Subsequently, the effect of balanced doshas is then described in detail. For example, a balanced Vata dosha expresses itself, among other things, as enthusiasm, smoothe functioning tissue metabolism and balanced elimination.
A balanced Pitta dosha is expressed as good digestion and eyesight, a balanced body temperature, balanced hunger and thirst and abundant charisma, happiness and intelligence.
In Charak Samhita, Sutrasthan, 18:49-51 balanced Kapha is described as expressing strength, forbearance, patience, and the absence of greed.
Ojas – the secret to vitality & strength
Life is only lived fully when the doshas are in balance. Because, then the body is healthy and according to Ayurveda produces Ojas, the finest end product of digestion. Ojas has an exceedingly fine structure such that it is still material and yet also consciousness.
Ojas is the totality of all the three doshas. Its characteristics are described in detail in the classical texts of Ayurveda: Ojas brings strength and vitality, good health, maintains digestion and metabolism, and youthfulness, makes us think positively and gives us a proportionally balanced view of problems.
A person with a lot of Ojas feels perfectly blissful and radiates happiness. Externally, for example, Ojas is seen as healthy, shiny skin and bright eyes.
What can we do to maintain or regain the balance of the doshas in order to produce Ojas?
The uniqueness of Maharishi Ayurveda® is that formerly lost fragments of the old authentic Ayurvedic wisdom have been reassembled into a whole body of knowledge. Maharishi Ayurveda® knows 20 holistic approaches to maintain or restore balanced doshas.