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The 3 Constitutions (Doshas)


The 3 Constitutions, which we’ll be calling Doshas. From the five elements, three doshic body types are produced: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. You can think of these three doshas as three energies that circulate in the body and govern our physiology, as well as our mental and emotional tendencies. Every person is said to have a unique ratio of each dosha, usually with one, perhaps two, being dominant, but some people present with an equal amount of all three.

The first dosha - Vata, meaning “that which moves,” So we’re combination the qualities of Ether and Air). Qualities: Dry, rough, light, cold, subtle and mobile.


Pitta, meaning “that which transforms,” (combination of Fire and Water). Qualities: Hot, sharp, oily, light, moving and liquid.


Kapha, meaning “that which brings cohesion,” (combination of Earth and Water). Qualities: Moist, cold, heavy, dull, soft, sticky and static.


To recap, there are three doshas, and all are present in each of us. They are essentially groups of energies with the qualities of the elements.


Here’s the part that might seem a little backwards about doshas… the literal meaning of dosha is "that which has the potential to vitiate” or “that which can cause problem or lead to disease.”


So, whether you’re Vata, Pitta or Kapha… Ayurveda provides the knowledge to understanding how we are most likely to fall out of balance. Does that make sense? Our dosha tells us how we are more inclined to do develop dis-ease or imbalance.


Need some big picture clarification?

We’ve got the five elements from which everything is derived – all substance. Remember, the elements are essentially a grouping of qualities, like Ether being clear, light, subtle, soft, and immeasurable. Now, we’re combining the qualities of the two elements, for example, combining ether and air, and we have a dosha, a human constitution, called Vata. Vata has its own qualities derived from the qualities of ether and air. Vata’s qualities are dry, rough, light, cold, subtle and mobile.


Pitta is the combination of the fire and water elements, and Kapha is the combination of the water and earth element. So, the qualities associated with each element are being combined to form a dosha.


A dosha- Vata, Pitta and Kapha- determines your physiology, and your mental and emotional tendencies. It does this by telling you how you are likely to develop disease.


Before we go too far into doshas, I’d like you to learn about the gunas, or qualities. This will help you understand why it’s important to understand the qualities of the elements and the doshas. See my next blog titled “The 20 Qualities (Gunas).”


After that, go to the next post on the doshas to learn how they function in our physiology! Look for "The Doshas and Related Parts of the Body."

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