If you’ve ever heard of Ayurveda, you probably stumble upon the following cluster of Sanskrit words: Vata-Pitt-Kapha. These are the names of three doshas. What are they and what is this all about?
Dear reader, if you came here completely by accident, but you would like to stay a little longer, I strongly encourage you to read the two previous entries, which are Ayurvedic „abc”: Ayurveda in a nut shell and Ayurvedic dance of elements.
So what are these three doshas?
These are three basic biological energies that occur in various proportions in the bodies of living beings. As I wrote before, every physical manifestation has the characteristics of five elements. It is no different in the case of doshs:
- Vata, which is the power of movement in the body, has the features of ether and air.
- Pitta, the power of transformation, is fire with a trace of water.
- Kapha, the power of cohesion, has the characteristics of earth and water.
The elements are treated naturally as symbolic carriers of certain features. How do doshas’ activities manifest in the body?
An example of Vata’s activity in the body is blood flow, breathing, transmission of nerve impulses, excretion. The emotions associated with this dosha are enthusiasm, ability of adaptation to changes, but also tension, anxiety, and a tendency to blame oneself.
Pitta, the power of fire and transformation, allows digestion of food and intellectual „digestion” of life experiences. Pitta literally means „the one who cooks or transforms.” It is responsible for body temperature and eyesight. Bravery, willpower, courage are the manifestations of a balanced Pitta. Irritation, impatience, criticism are its darker sides.
And finally, Kapha, the power of cohesion, moisture and stability. It is the building block of the body, it is responsible for muscle and bone strength, right hydration, but also for the ability to feel emotions. The emotions associated with this dosha are love, patience, the need to look after others, but also jealousy, avarice, a tendency to fall into laziness.
Everything sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It does because all living beings have these three energies in them in different proportions. And everything in the garden is rosy as long as the doshas are in balance. Everything works like clockwork. When they start to increase excessively, whether through lifestyle, weather changes, or our eating choices, etc., etc. then the problems begin. According to Ayurveda, all diseases are caused by disruption of doshas. In Sanskrit, dosha means „error,” or „one that pollutes,” and so doshas are also pathogenic factors. What can you do, „can’t live without ’em”. These „two sides of the coin” show best what an ayurvedic lifestyle or ayurvedic therapies consist of: careful observation of the body, mind, emotions and constant control of those biological energies that allow you to live, but in excess they lead to destruction.
Balance does not mean equal proportions and quantities, 33.3% of Vata, Pitta and Kapha in the body and we feel like a young Gods – no, it’s not that simple. Each of us has their own pattern of dosha proportions in the body, which was established during conception and can be changed a little immediately after birth. This so-called prakriti, our initial state, our individual proportions of doshas, which determine our appearance, temperament and way of functioning in the world. And so, in someone’s prakriti, Pitta may prevail, followed by Vata, and Kapha is very little. When the proportions of Vata and Pitta change during the lifetime, or Kapha suddenly begins to increase, problems begin. Let’s also consider the third scenario – Vata still prevails, but this advantage over the others has increased very much, it’s not good news either. This state of deviation from the norm or prakriti is called vikriti. To determine your prakriti and vikriti it is best to undergo the diagnosis of an ayurvedic doctor or ask a consultant or ayurvedic therapist for help. You can also work on your own by doing a test to determine the dominant dosha.
More on this type of test next time.
May the force be with you and your doshas in balance!