Updated: Sep 29, 2019
The following information will give you an overview of the 3 body types, characteristics or Doshas found in Ayurveda. Your dominant Dosha is what makes up your natural physical and broader constitution or Prakriti. There are a number of online quizzes that you can take which will help you to determine which body constitution you are. However, it is best advised that you seek the guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner to gain the best results for your health and well-being.
Everyone and everything has a combination of all 3 Doshas. The 3 Doshas are made up of a combination of the 5 elements, ether, air, fire, water and earth. However, from the moment of conception, we have our own Prakriti which is a state of natural balance throughout our body of either one or even two of the doshas. When this natural constitution is out of balance it is called Vikriti and often manifests as disease and illness. Our doshas have certain characteristics within all aspects of our lives and we have written below some information below on all three.
A quick overview
Vata is constructed of the air and ether elements, which within our mind and body is responsible for movement and propulsion. As Vata comes from the lightest two elements, it can become aggravated with speed and force, thus it is important to pacify Vata quickly and efficiently.
Some typical Vata characteristics:
Movement and change are the predominant characteristics of Vata, and by nature, a Vata dominant individual is always on the go, energetic and creative (Chopra, n.d.). When a Vata is in balance, the individual has a lean body and can be lively and enthusiastic.
Possible causes of aggravated Vata:
Vata can be vitiated through exposure to cold, windy and dry environments, dietary factors such as consuming cold, raw and dry foods, excessive exercise, a lack of proper rest/sleep and routine, trauma and stress, injury, virus and degenerative conditions.
Some of the potential complications you may experience when there is a Vata imbalance:
Throughout the body, you may have bloating, constipation, burping/flatulence, hiccups, dry skin, hypertension and high cholesterol. Conditions such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, spondylosis, a slipped disk, pinched nerves, sciatica, weak bones and painful joints, tendons and ligaments are connected to an unbalanced Vata dosha. Any manifestation of pain, clicking, cracking, breaks and break injury is Vata connected. Due to high levels of activity in the body that Vata generates, it is also common to feel fatigued, experience malabsorption or deficiencies and suffer from interrupted, erratic and sporadic daily functions such as sleep, and elimination processes. An aggravated Vata dosha also reduces reproductive strength, libido and overall immune health.
In the mind, you may feel excessive levels of tension, constant and racing thoughts, anxiety, fear, stress, worry, catastrophizing, and mood swings. You may also experience loss of concentration, clarity of mind or memory.
A quick overview
Pitta is constructed of the fire and water elements and is responsible for transformation and conversion in the body. Pitta is responsible for the formation of tissues, waste products and energy from the food, water and air we consume. Pitta regulates body temperature, hunger, thirst and emotions. Your digestive fire, bile, digestive enzymes and the metabolism are controlled by Pitta. In addition, the endocrine system, eye system and skin system.
Some typical Pitta characteristics:
Pitta body types are usually of a medium size and weight. When in balance, Pittas have a lustrous complexion, perfect digestion, abundant energy, are muscular and lean, have a quick wit, intelligence, have a strong work ethic, strong sexual drive, good sleep habits and a strong appetite.
Possible causes of aggravated Pitta:
The Pitta dosha is aggravated through excessive amounts of the pungent/chilli, sour and salty tastes. Excessive alcohol and caffeine significantly increases and aggravates Pitta. Irregular daily routine i.e. shift work, and excess exposure to hot environments (including the sun) will disturb Pitta. Any inflammatory, bacterial, toxin/poison or acidic condition is due to a vitiation in Pitta.
.Some of the potential complications you may experience when there is a Pitta imbalance:
When experiencing a Pitta imbalance, you may have a desire for cooling foods, cool environment and cool clothing. You might experience excess salivation, excess thirst and hunger, burning sensations in the body, and general excessive body heat and/or sweat. With excess Pitta, you may experience skin condition like eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, cellulitis, fungal or bacterial infections. You may suffer from hyper acidity, heartburn, ulcers, IBS, bleeding conditions, menstrual or hormonal imbalances, or eye conditions such as conjunctivitis. In addition, Pitta is connected to any form of inflammation such as rheumatoid arthritis or an acute injury like a sprain. Psychological effects include anger, perfectionism, being judgemental/critical of yourself and others, irritability, having short temper, feeling jealous, and being argumentative. An aggravated Pitta individual may be domineering and like to control things.
A quick overview
Kapha is constructed of the water and earth elements and is responsible for function of preservation and strength. Kapha is responsible for the growth, immunity, flexibility, sustenance and lubrication of 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.
Some typical Kapha characteristics:
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, regular appetite and are calm, loyal, thoughtful and loving by nature.
Possible causes of aggravated Kapha:
Kapha can become aggravated a diet too heavy in sweet, sour and salty tastes. Foods that are overly sweet, processed and heavy will vitiate Kapha. Over eating, excess sleep, daytime napping, cold, damp environments and a sedentary lifestyle all increase Kapha. A disruption to the immune system, a increase to the fat tissue and excess fluid in the body will affect the Kapha dosha.
.Some of the potential complications you may experience when there is a Kapha imbalance:
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 effecting the lymph system is linked to the Kapha dosha. Excess mucous, 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.
With light and love,