Doshas: the three key energies
Doshas, according to ancient Ayurvedic medicine, are said to be the three energies that govern the body. These energies are made of the five elements, earth, space, fire, water and air. The names of the three Doshas are Kapha, Pitta and Vata. We will explore each of these below.
What are Doshas?
Doshas are kind energies that according to Ayurveda are believed to circulate in your body. They are related to your unique mental and physical constitution, which will have its influence in your well-being.
The five basic elements of nature, space, air, fire, earth and water, as principles of Ayurveda aim at the balance of the mental and physical body. These elements are called pancha-mahabhutas and are applied in the form of doshas, that is, biological moods that define the person as a whole.
To study the influences of the elements of nature on the human being, Ayurveda unites the elements two by two. Both are acting in our physiology and in the formation of psychophysical imbalances. If you find your regent dosha, it will help discover what might unbalance you. So let us find out more about each of the doshas.
The three energies that govern the body
Kapha energy is composed of earth and water. Should this energy dominate your system, you will have a noticeably calm temperament and a solid body shape, which is reflective of the elements that form the basis of this energy
Pitta energy is composed of fire and water. Expect individuals to display this physically, through a feisty personality or skin that is excessively oily.
Vata energy is made up of space and air. Think of those individuals in your life with a slim frame and quick thinking wit, they have a dominant Vata energy in their body.
What if you don’t fall into the above?
You may have read the above and felt unable to relate, it could be that while you consider yourself sharp thinking, you may struggle to maintain a small frame. This implies that you have more than one Dosha dominating your system also known as a “dual doshic state”.
How do we use this information to help us live our best life?
Once we understand which Doshas predominates our system, we can then work to balance it through diet, lifestyle changes and exercise. By maintaining this fine balance, we are able to live a vibrant life, full of joy, good health and strength.
So, what is your Dosha constitution?
Take the quick test below to find out! Make a note of responses, answers below!
1. What is the size of my body frame?
A. Solid, possibly overweight.
B. Thin or lanky.
C. Symmetrically balanced with lean muscle.
2. How do you react to stress?
A. Withdrawn and quiet.
B. Anxiety and worry.
C. Irritability or aggression.
3. What is your skin like?
A. Smooth and moist.
B. Dry and thin.
C. Fair or reddish, prone to irritation.
4. What is your hair like?
A. Thick, healthy or oily.
B. Frizzy or dry.
C. Prone to greys, thinning or balding.
5. What is your regular sleep pattern?
A. Deep sleeper that needs a lot of sleep and often feels tired.
B. Light sleeper that wakes easily.
C. Sound sleeper, needs 8 hours or less.
6. Ideal temperature?
A. Can cope with different temperatures, but doesn’t like being cold or wet.
B. Often hands and feet are cold, regardless of temperature. Enjoys warm weather.
C. Tends to always feel warm and perspires a lot. Prefer cool environments.
7. How would you describe your joints?
A. Inflexible and padded.
B. Strong but flexible.
C. Weak and brittle.
Answer mostly A’s
Kapha dominates. Know more about Kapha here >>
Answer mostly B’s
Vata dominates. Know more about Vata here >>
Answer mostly C’s
Pitta dominates. Know more about Pitta here >>
It may that your results put two energy states as dominating. This is actually much more common than having a very clear single dominant energy.
Also remember, Doshas like energy are fluid and the dominating force will change throughout your life due to life events, environmental changes and age. You might find yourself spending your early years working hard to stay grounded, but then your later years feeling lethargic. Adjust your food and exercise accordingly to maintain a constant state of internal equilibrium
Now you are armed with knowledge of your Dosha, flick through our three part Dosha series to find out how you can optimize vitality and well being in your body!
More characteristics of each dosha
When the proportion of the elements Space and Air are in greater quantity in the constitution of an organism in relation to the other elements, the biotype is denominated Vata.
Body of lightweight and long-term body structure, unstable metabolism and hunger, tend to lose weight easily. Externally, they have skin, mucous and dry hair, and can develop early wrinkles. They also feel pretty cold.
Psychologically they are adaptable as air and creative as space. Vata people are inspiring, and have a strong artistic vein and they can also become lovers of the arts and spiritual practices due to their sensitivity. They tend to do many things at the same time, becoming often kind of superficial as they don’t go deep into subjects and only know little of many different topics.
They also tend to suddenly vary in mood, have quick, confused, and often incoherent speech. Despite they have a cheerful spirit, their mood may be unstable, which often makes them suspicious and reserved.
When in imbalance, Vata have anxiety and depression. It is very common for people under this dosha to report insomnia, constipation, and body aches, especially in the spine. They have a tendency for diseases such as fibromyalgia, neurological diseases, memory loss, scoliosis, and joint stiffness. Energetically, their bodies and minds work in sudden explosions, and this is the reason why they easily get tired.
Pitta is the dosha when the proportion of the elements of fire and water is greater in the organism in relation to space, air, and earth.
People under the Pitta dosha have a medium body structure and good musculature. They also have rapid metabolism, excessive thirst and a lot of hunger, losing and gaining weight with ease. It is common to have bright eyes, lose hair early and have oily and freckled skin or spots.
Psychologically they are just like fire. The people of this constitution are warm, they have a strong personal magnetism, intense and passionate. They are entrepreneurs, intolerant and competitive. Due to their intense temperament, they tend to have feelings like anger which bring to organic inflammatory imbalances. They react to the world through vision, and they value much about how things look like to the others.
They are always questioning everything and they tend to argue a lot, which is why they like a good discussion with a keen intelligence.
Pitta dosha people develop inflammatory and heat-related diseases like gastritis, burning, psoriasis, acne, hepatitis and arthritis. It is very common to report frequent diarrhea, strong odor in sweat, irritability when not eating for a long time and intolerance to very fatty or spicy foods.
Kapha’s dominant body can be represented by the weight of wet clay, pure and strong matter for all imaginable structures. Although resilient, they are slow but constant in their activities and enjoy the pleasures of life, especially those related to eating.
Of all the three doshas, Kapha is the one with the stronger and more solid constitution. Externally, they have well developed musculature, soft and often oily skin, strong thick hair, nails and teeth and may accumulate fat in the belly, butt and thighs when the Dosha is out of balance, since they are solid.
Psychologically Kapha people have kind of a sweet look, they are loving, patient and they appear very friendly. They fall asleep quickly, going into deep, long sleep easily. They have a calm and quiet personality. Of low but constant appetite, they usually seek emotional comfort in food, especially in sweets and this is why they tend to gain weight easily by becoming lazy and sleepy.
Having an unbalanced Kapha is related to diseases like obesity, atherosclerosis, diabetes, edema and excess mucus in the lungs.
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