The Doshas in Ayurveda: Vata, Pitta and Kapha

The Pakruti or the personal constitution of each person has a very special meaning in Ayurveda.  The balance or imbalance of the three doshas ( pitta, kapha and vata) has a way of influencing the individual. Meanwhile, the balance differs in each individual because everyone has his/her own special set of challenges and attributes. Understanding the doshas would enable us to draw a map of well-being that helps us fight against diseases.


It is said that vata humor is made of Air and Ether and other elements. Vata is very similar to the wind because it is bright, cold, dry and movable; and people with this nature experience more of these qualities in their bodies.

Their bodies and bones tend to be light, and their skin and hair are dry. Often these people move and talk fast. When they are unbalanced, they can lose weight, suffer constipation and weakness in their immune and nervous systems.

These attributes are reflected in their personality. Those with a vata nature tend to talk a lot, be enthusiastic, creative, flexible and energetic. Although when they are unbalanced, they can easily become confused and anxious. They might also have difficulty in focusing or making decisions, and problems with sleep. This becomes more apparent when they are under stress, because they are frightened by cold emotions such as worry, fear and anxiety.

To balance vata, treatment programs are designed which emphasize the opposite qualities such as: hot, heavy (nutritious), moist and stable. Their diet can be replaced with the intake of cooked grains (such as rice) and cooked vegetables, as well as the intake of warm milk with spices. Spicy herbs like ginger increase the internal heat and nutritious herbs like Ashwagandha can balance it.


It is said that pitta humor is made of fire and water elements. In this constitution the fire is more predominant thus, pitta tends to be hot, sharp and penetrating; being more or less volatile and oily. The oily nature is related to the secondary component of water.

People with this constitution tend to feel very hot, have more or less oily skin, penetrating eyes and sharp facial features. They tend to be of moderate body weight and good musculature. When they are unbalanced, they tend to suffer diarrhea, infections, chafing on the skin, weakness in the liver, the vessel and the blood. 

These attributes are also reflected in their personality as they tend to be very focused, competitive, capable, courageous, energetic and with good communication that goes directly to the point. They like to solve problems, and when they are stressed, they tend to be stubborn. However, they can also become too intense and speak with a sharp tongue.

They make great friends, but when they are your enemies, they can be very brutal. On the emotional level, they are challenged by hot emotions such as anger, resentment and jealousy.

In order to balance pitta, the programs are designed to emphasize the opposite qualities like cold, heavy (nutritious) and dryness. Chilling spices, such as fennel, are recommended in the diet along with foods such as raw vegetables, rice and wheat, as well as most beans. Sweet herbs such as Shatavari are used to nourish the body, while bitter herbs such as dandelion moderate the fire.


In kapha dosha, there is a predominance of the elements water and earth. Like these elements, kapha tends to be cool and moist, stable and strong. These qualities manifest in the body as dense and heavy bones, smooth and shiny skin, slow metabolism, and a large and robust frame. In addition, those who have this nature tend to feel cold.

When they are out of balance, kapha people are prone to gain weight and tend to have deficiencies in their lungs and sinuses, where there is a buildup of mucus. People of kapha nature are also more prone to insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

The elements of water and earth also manifest in their stable personality that is not prone to rapid fluctuations. Those who have this nature handle stress very well and often do not even realize that it exists. They do not like change, they are generally conservative, and prefer to keep things the way they are.

Those who have a kapha nature also love comfort however, too much comfort, can lead to a lack of motivation and a feeling of being trapped. When they are out of balance, they experience heavy emotions such as depression and lethargy.

In order to bring balance to a kapha nature, the opposite qualities are recommended such as light, dry and hot. Grains such as quinoa and amaranth are recommended, as well as spicy spices such as cayenne pepper. Many vegetables and few nuts, and dairy products are prescribed. The herbs that purify like the guggul resin and the pungent ones like the clove bring balance.


Taking into account that in Ayurveda each of the doshas has a specific function to fulfill. Therefore, when the three doshas function in a coordinated and balanced way, they act as protective and immunological structures thus their imbalance translates into a disease. There are many who consider that the root of stress lies in the imbalance of these three energies.





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