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The Doshas


The three Doshas are derived from the five elements

The five elements organize themselves in to three essential principles of life: movement, metabolism and protection, known in Sanskrit as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

These principles, which we can think of as Wind, Fire and Earth are the forces, which govern every natural function, and regulate every process within our mind and body.

Each of us, because we are unique expressions of nature, has an inherent tendency towards one or more of these principles.

This explains why we each respond so differently to the same stimulus. Some of us are naturally more [earthy], while others are clearly more fiery or airy.

As we discuss the functions and characteristics of each of these principles, notice with which ones you most identify.

Vata - Resembling the Wind

Vata is responsible for all types of movement within body and mind.

  • thought (Prana)
  • speech (Udana)
  • digestive movement (Samana)
  • elimination (Apana) and
  • circulation(Vyana)

also known as the subdoshas.

This force is like the wind - dry, light, subtle, irregular, quick, mobile and changeable.

  • These people are generally thin, light and active, both physically and mentally.
  • They tend to move quickly and are quite changeable.
  • They generally welcome new experiences and are quite talkative.
  • These are the people whose habits, interests and daily routines change considerably from week to week.
  • Their bodily functions also have an aspect of irregularity about them.
  • Their appetites and moods are often inconsistent.
  • When you meet someone who is strongly influenced by the Vata principle, you may have the impression, [This person is unpredictable].
  • What have I done wrong.

Pitta - Transformation, Metabolism

Pitta is responsible for all types of digestion and is fiery in nature.

Within the body, the fire principle metabolizes our experiences so we can absorb what is nourishing and eliminate what is not.

  • food digestion (Pachaka)
  • detoxification (Ranjaka)
  • intellectual discernment (Sadhaka)
  • vision (Alochaka) and
  • pigmentation (Bhrajaka)

also known as the subdoshas.

The attributes of Pitta are what you might predict - hot, light, intense, penetrating, spicy, sharp and acidic.

  • They tend to be intellectually sharp, with a discriminating mind that enjoys delving into the underlying causes of things.
  • They are often good leaders, visionaries and speakers.
  • Physically they have a hearty appetite and good digestion.
  • They tend to be warm, even in cooler environments.
  • They also have a strong appetite for knowledge, luxury and worldly recognition.
  • When you meet someone with a predominance of Pitta in his or her constitution, you are likely to think to yourself, [This person is intense].
  • What do you have done wrong.

Kapha - Protection, Structural Integrity

Kapha is responsible for protection, structure, and lubrication within the body and mind.

People with a preponderance of the Kapha are generally sturdy and consistent.

  • Kapha is responsible for protecting the
  • digestive tract (Kledaka)
  • protecting the heart and lungs (Avalambaka)
  • the perception of taste (Bodhaka)
  • protecting the brain (Tarpaka) and
  • lubricating the joints (Sleshaka)

also known as the subdoshas.

  • They are generally process oriented and are slow to anger or provocation.
  • Their skin is generally moist, youthful and beautiful.
  • The heaviness of Kapha means that these types have a tendency to retain excess weight. When you meet a Kapha type, you are likely to feel at ease in their presence.
  • Whatever ā€“ nobody is really to blame. Whatever ā€“ Iā€™m open to either one. Whatever can also mean withdrawing. Can lead to depression.

Dosha Imbalances

Unhealthy lifestyle choices can imbalance the doshas.

Each of these mind body principles, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha have abalanced and an imbalanced expression. When these principles are circulating in the mind body physiology in appropriate proportions, we feel healthy and happy, and all our bodily functions work in harmony with one another.

Due to improper diet and lifestyle choices, these principles may become disturbed and cause distress in mind or body.

Imbalances in Vata

Imbalances in Vata often lead to dryness of the skin, hair, fingernails and large intestine. One may experience irregular appetite, delicate digestion, constipation, gas or bloating. Since the Vata principle governs movement in the body, one may become restless or suffer from insomnia.

Emotionally, people with a Vata imbalance may feel anxious, isolated, fearful or overly sensitive. Symptoms caused by an imbalance of Vata often come and go (a reflection of its irregularity) and may be precipitated by times of change or instability.

Imbalances in Pitta

An imbalance in Pitta creates an excess of heat and acidity in the body. This may create symptoms such as skin rashes and irritations, burning pain in the digestive tract, indigestion or heartburn.

Emotions may become inflamed when Pitta is out of balance, and the person may become angry, intolerant and hyper-critical. Pitta imbalances are more likely to develop when one feels pressured or has [too much on his plate].

Imbalances in Kapha

When Kapha is out of balance, one feels sluggish, congested and lazy. Weight gain, retention of fluids, allergies and sinus congestion all reflect an excess, or imbalance, of the earth principle.

Kapha imbalances may manifest emotionally as depression, attachment, sentimentality, or an inability to let go. Imbalances of the Kapha principle are often chronic. The person is slow to react and may be unmotivated to change.

Vata - Dosha (Space & Air)
The Secret of Success
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