Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Ayurveda and Dosha

Ayurveda or Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient health care system that comes from the Indian subcontinent. It is currently used on a day to day basis by millions of people in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and has a major influence on Unani, Chinese and Tibetan Medicine, in China, Tibet, and Pakistan. According to ayurveda, the five fundamental elements that make up the universe are space (akasha), air (vayu), fire (agni), water (apu) and earth (prithvi) and they also make up the human physiology. "Ayurveda" roughly translates as the "knowledge of life" and uses a concept of three doshas as the manifestations of elemental forces in the physical body. The 3 main doshas are (1) Vata which is a combination of the space and air elements, (2) Pitta which is analogous to the fire element, and (3) Kapha which is a combination of water and earth elements. In Ayurveda, all bodily processes are thought to be governed by a balance of the 3 doshas. The combination of the three doshas that you inherit at conception is called your prakriti or original constitution in ayurveda. Although it is not unheard of for people to have nearly equal proportions of the three doshas or just one very predominant dosha as their prakriti, most people have two doshas that are more or less equally dominant, with the remaining one less dominant. If all doshas are in balance then the person is normal and in good health. Whichever dosha appears to dominate a person's behavior and physique is called his constitution type. Each constitution type has particular strengths and susceptibilities.


People with more Vata in their constitutions tend to be thin, with a slender frame and prominent joints, delicate skin that is naturally dry, and dry voluminous hair. They are quick and lively in thought, speech and action, and make friends easily. There is an element of airiness to their step, a quality of lightness in their laughter. Change is usually their second name. They are light sleepers and gravitate towards warm environments. Creativity and enthusiasm are hallmarks of balanced Vata.


People with more Pitta in their constitutions tend to be of medium proportions, with a frame that is neither petite nor heavy, warm skin that is very fair or ruddy and may be sensitive, and fine hair that tends towards premature graying or thinning. They are sharp and determined in thought, speech and action. There is an element of purpose to their step, an intensity to their voice. Ambition is usually their second name. They are moderate sleepers and gravitate towards cooler environments. Self-confidence and an entrepreneurial spirit are hallmarks of balanced Pitta.


People with more Kapha in their constitutions tend to be of larger proportions, with a robust frame and padded joints, thick smooth skin that may tend towards oiliness, and rich, wavy hair. They are stable and calm in thought, speech and action, and are easy-going and supportive in relationships. There is an element of steadiness to their step, a quality of serenity in their smile. Loyalty is usually their second name. They are long, heavy sleepers and uncomfortable in damp, clammy environments. Calm and sweetness of disposition are hallmarks of balanced Kapha.

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