Have you ever looked at yourself and then looked at the people around you and seen how different you are to some, or how much you resemble others? We can see that there are great variations among us, both physically and psychologically. These aspects must be considered for health and happiness, and treatment in Ayurveda is based upon understanding the individual constitution involved – called our Dosha.
The Doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha
7 types of constitutions (mind/body combinations) can be formed based upon the 3 doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Vata Constitution: Air
As Vata is primarily ‘Air’ it has the qualities of lightness, quickness, dryness and mobility, so a Vata person reflects these qualities in their mind and body. When a Vata person is in balance, they are joyous, great communicators, very creative, sensitive, quick minded and spontaneous. They are vivacious, full of life and do well in the arts.
Physically, Vata people tend to either be very short, or tall, with thin bodily frames and visible ligaments. Vata’s have short bouts of energy, so will need to rest often and eat small meals regularly to keep up their energy. They constantly like to be on the go and multi-task well when in balance, but tend to burn up their energy easily. Because of this they tend to have low bodily strength, find it hard to keep on weight and have poor endurance.
Their appetite is variable and they are prone to suffer from flatulence and constipation. They tend to have an excess of dryness in the body, which results in dry hair, skin and brittle nails. This dryness also occurs internally, especially in the spaces of the body, which can create bone disorders such as osteoporosis and joint stiffness or arthritis. As Vata governs the nervous system, their temperament is nervous and sensitive. They tend to suffer from stress, worry, fear and anxiety more easily than other Doshas, and this is their main area of weakness that needs to be watched and nurtured.
Famous Vata’s are Cameron Diaz and Mick Jagger.
Pitta Constitution: Fire
Pitta, being the ‘fire’ energy, has the qualities of being hot, sharp and intense, so people with a Pitta constitution reflect these qualities.
Physically they typically have a moderate body frame, defined muscles and good circulation. As Pitta governs digestion, they have strong appetites, which can enable them to consume and digest a wide range of foods.
Pitta people are very intelligent, courageous, perceptive, and are natural leaders. They have a strong drive, like to excel in their field and have high ambitions so are often seen in business or politics. As Pittas have a strong internal fire, they are very passionate, motivated, and competitive. When out of balance they are hot tempered and can quickly become angry, frustrated and irritable if things don’t go their way. They also can become quite judgmental, critical and get a sharp tongue. Not only to others but also to themselves.
Skin disorders, rashes, acidity (reflux, heart burn) and inflammation are the conditions Pittas are most susceptible too.
Famous Pitta’s are Madonna and Donald Trump.
Kapha Constitution: Earth
Kapha is the main ‘earth’ element and has the qualities of being cool, damp and stable (think of when water and earth combine, they make mud or clay).
Kapha’s are strong, grounded, wise and serene people.
Physically Kapha people tend to possess more robust frames, as Kapha is an inward and building energy, as opposed to Vata, which is an outward and ever moving energy. Their flesh, bone, hair and teeth are well developed and they naturally have good strength, vitality and immunity. Their digestion and metabolism is slow so they don’t require as much fuel to keep going, but because of this they are more prone to weight gain.
Kapha people are usually very cool, calm and collected mentally and emotionally. They tend to ‘go with the flow’ and don’t suffer from the effects of stress as easily as the other constitutions. Kapha’s are very loving, generous and caring when in balance, but when out of balance they can be very greedy, attached, lazy and depressed. Kapha is responsible for mucous production in the body, so Kapha people are prone to allergies, asthma, sinusitis, growths and general body congestion. Fluid retention is also a sign of Kapha out of balance.
Famous Kapha’s are Oprah Winfrey and Luciano Pavarotti.
Vikriti: Your current body condition
The key to Ayurvedic treatment is to stay in harmony with your unique Mind/ Body type. If any of the Doshas accumulate or become deficient, then the body looses its balance. Doshas fluctuate constantly due to environment, diet, season and time of life. This is referred to as our Vikriti – the state of imbalance. These fluctuations are constant and are part of life, but our inability to make adjustments to these changes to create equilibrium is usually what causes one or more of the doshas to become imbalanced, which then leads to disease. Disease or dis-ease is a lack of ease or harmony within the body – a shift away from homeostasis.
Treatment in Ayurveda is all about creating balance. Ayurveda uses diet, lifestyle regimes, herbal supplementation, treatments and home remedies to create and sustain this balance.