Vata, Pitta, Kapha
Our natural constitution, or the qualities with which we are born, is called prakriti. This constitution is formed by the subtle qualities of the five elements: earth, water, fire, air and ether or space. According to Ayurveda, each person is influenced more by certain qualities than others. The proportions of the elements are classified in three 'doshas':
- Vata dosha, in which the elements of air and space are dominant
- Pitta dosha, in which the elements of fire and water are dominant
- Kapha dosha, in which the elements of earth and water are dominant
The proportions of the elements at the time of conception determine your personal constitution. You are always a combination of all three doshas, but one or two of them will dominate your personality.
The dosha does not only affect the shape of the body, but also its qualities or tendencies such as the preference for certain types of food and digestion. It also affects the character and emotions. The element of earth, for example, in Kapha people can be seen in their solid, robust body type, the tendency towards slow digestion, their good memory and emotional evenness.
In most people, the prakriti is a combination of two doshas. If a person has a Pitta-Kapha constitution, for example, he or she will have the characteristics of both the Pitta and the Kapha dosha, while Pitta dosha will be dominant.
Ayurveda says that every disease is the result of an imbalance in one or more of the doshas and focusses on restoring the balance. If we understand the properties of our own constitution, we will be able to do the right thing to keep ourselves balanced.
The qualities of Vata, Pitta and Kapha
VataVata regulates movements and motor skills. It is responsible, for example, for our breathing, stool and blood circulation.
Characteristics: lightness, dryness, coolness. The mind is mobile, imaginative and clear.
Physical characteristics of Vata are: less fire, therefore more cold, especially in hands and feet. Little fat, slender and less grounded (less earth), dry (less water), sensitive to wind and cold and to cold and light food. The Vata skin is normal to dry, produces little sebum and is easily dehydrated.
In case of imbalance: restless sleep, inclined to irritation, nervousness and restlessness
PittaPitta regulates transformation, perception, digestion and hormones. The blood is an important lodging place of Pitta. It also regulates body temperature.
Characteristics: warmth, lightness and moisture. A Pitta personality is energetic, dynamic, intelligent, orderly and efficient.
Physical characteristics of Pitta are: normal to sensitive, reddish skin, usually feels warm and can suffer from burning sensations. There is relatively little earth, air and space, which can easily cause the fire to dominate. Pitta personalities are usually of medium and graceful physique. Their digestion is strong and fast.
In case of imbalance: too much heat, tendency towards high blood pressure by excessive activity and anger, eczema and other skin complaints.
KaphaKapha forms the structure and lubrication of the body, the skeleton and musculature. Moisture balance like the lymph fluid and the mucous membranes is also under the influence of Kapha.
Characteristics: heaviness, oiliness, slowness, forgiveness, good memory, much sleep. A person with a Kapha constitution has a shining skin, thick hair, strong teeth and nails and a soft glow in the eyes.