The Constitution of our Body – The Three Doshas of Ayurveda
‘Charaka’ in 1,000 BC had said, “Mind, Spirit, and Body hold life in balance with the three doshas like a pot on three supports.” There is no denying this fact – it is undoubtedly true to each word.
In my earlier article titled ‘Tridoshas’, I had briefed you on the three doshas or three humors – Pitta, Kapha, Vata. Now that you know about some ayurvedic herbs and their effects on our system, it is time I detail out each dosha to you, for you to grasp the links between the doshas, the diseases and the herbs.
PITTA – composed of ‘water’ and ‘fire’
The parts of our body that are influenced by Pitta are stomach, duodenum, gall bladder, liver, pancreas and spleen.
Pitta dominant cells are overly, fiercely active.
The ayurvedic bio-energy for Pitta is ‘bile’.
- Ø ‘Panchaka’ is the most vital Pitta energy. Its imbalance leads to a further imbalance of the other four seats.
- Ø ‘Ranjaka’ takes care of the influences and functioning of the liver. Its imbalance leads to poor liver function.
- Ø ‘Bhraajaka’ helps in regulating the body temperature, sweat, secretion of sebum, complexion and the color of the skin. Its imbalance leads to skin diseases – psoriasis to vitiligo.
- Ø ‘Aalochaka’ influences the ability to see objects. Its imbalance leads to disturbance of the vision.
- Ø ‘Saadhaka’ governs the intelligence, self-esteem, intellect, creativity, memory, romantic attachments, and helps in achieving goals. Its imbalance obviously leads to a disturbance in the qualities mentioned.
Pitta governs the generation and conservation of intelligence, body heat, metabolism and digestion.
A predominantly Pitta person (although has some influence of the other two doshas) more or less:
- is neither too light nor too heavy; they are of medium body type.
- has medium bones, muscles, and veins.
- has good appetite.
- is not prone to quick weight gain.
- has green, brown or grey but small eyes.
- has smooth skin but with freckles and moles.
- has thin hair and men bald prematurely.
- has the tendency to go grey early.
- has the tendency to sweat freely and excessively.
- is open to new ideas.
- is very decisive.
- has excellent leadership qualities.
- has high intelligence.
- is very short-tempered – tendency to get angry often.
- is very judgmental.
- is very stable.
- is very creative.
- is affluent and enjoys fine things in life.
- has pulse like that of a ‘frog’ – 70 to 80 per minute – erratic.
- has moderate sex drive.
Because of such qualities, when Pitta goes out of balance, the predominantly Pitta person faces many health problems – irregular body temperature, ineffective digestion, excessive sweating, poor eyesight, skin irritation, heartburns, irritability, anxiety, diarrhea, irritable bowel, and dyspepsia.
Indigestion, diarrhea, dysentery, hyperacidity, ulcers, gall stones, obesity, bleeding, hypertension, cancer, anemia, urinary tract infections, miscarriages, skin diseases, dental problems, alcoholism, arteriosclerosis.
- Vegetables: asparagus, beans, broccoli, cabbage, cucumber, mushrooms, parsley, peas, potato, bitter gourd, neem.
- Fruits: apple, avocado, banana, grapes, mango, melon, pear, pomegranate.
- Dairy products: cow’s milk, goat’s milk, clarified butter, ice-cream, soya milk.
- Meat/Fish: chicken, duck, lamb, goose, turkey, venison, cod, rohu, haddock, white fish.
- Rice/bread: brown bread, lentils, maize, pasta, basmati rice, white rice, wheat, white bread.
- Dry fruits: pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds.
- Spices: cloves, coriander, saffron, turmeric.
- Oil: olive oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, vegetable oil.
- 1. Food should be cooling, semi-cooked/half-cooked/uncooked.
- 2. Food should be sweet, bitter, astringent.
- 3. Great amount of raw food and vegetables to be eaten.
- 4. Food should be less spicy.
- 5. Water should be taken cool.
- 6. Tea can be taken.
- 7. Coffee and alcohol to be totally avoided.
- with medicated oils like brahmi, bhringaraj.
- with essential oils like sandalwood, lotus, jasmine and iris.
Gems – moonstone, emerald, jade, blue sapphire, amethyst (must be set in silver).
Colours – white, blue, green, grey, brown.
- Sitting or lying postures.
- Shoulder stands.
- Calming mantras (om sham shom shum shim)
- Exposure to heat, sun, fire should be avoided.
- Restore to cooling breeze, cool water, moonlight, gardens, flowers, lakes.
- Practice sweetness of speech, forgiveness ad contentment.
- Giving up anger, hostility, argument and overly critical nature.
- Purgation with laxatives.
- Self care.
KAPHA – composed of ‘water’ and ‘earth’
The parts of our body that are influenced by Kapha are sinuses, nostrils, throat, bronchi, and lungs.
Kapha dominant cells have high fat and water content.
The ayurvedic bio-energy for Kapha is ‘phlegm’.
Kapha’s five seats (five types) are ‘Kledaka’ (stomach), ‘Avalambaka’ (heart), ‘Bodhaka’ (tongue), ‘Tarpaka’ (head), and ‘Sleshaka’ (joints).
- Ø ‘Kledaka’ protects the intestines, stomach, food pipe and mucous membranes in the mouth. Its imbalance leads to abdominal cramps and indigestion.
- Ø ‘Avalambaka’ helps in secreting fluid. Its imbalance results in heart and lungs’ weakness, and heartburn.
- Ø ‘Bodhaka’ governs the ability to taste.
- Ø ‘Tarpaka’ helps in strengthening the brain. An imbalance results in headaches, nausea, vertigo, mental disturbance, diarrhea and insomnia.
- Ø ‘Sleshaka’ helps in lubricating the joints. Its imbalance leads to arthritis and other joint diseases.
Kapha governs strength and mass, and regulates water-based functions in the body. It maintains the immune system and lubricates the joints.
A predominantly Kapha person (although has some influence of the other two doshas) more or less:
- is prone to fat.
- has heavy bones.
- has not-very-prominent muscles and veins.
- has eyes’ white clear.
- has big eyes and strong nails.
- has heavy and thick eyelids.
- has thick and lustrous but oily hair.
- has thick skin.
- has very strong-smelling body odor.
- has a tendency to oversleep.
- has medium intelligence.
- is slow and ponderous, dull and resistant to any change and unfamiliarity.
- has a tendency towards inactiveness.
- has the ability towards hard work when required.
- has a tendency towards excessive sleep.
- has tendency towards conserving money, strength, energy than spending them.
- is slow to absorb information.
- is clinging and greedy in personal relationships.
- is more materialistic than spiritual.
- has pulse like that of a ‘swan’ – 60 to 70 per minute – slow, steady, soft, broad, warm, and regular.
- has low sex drive.
Because of such qualities, when Kapha goes out of balance, the predominantly Kapha person faces many unwanted symptoms – flabby appearance, weak and over-soft body, loose joints, slow digestion, jealousy, intolerance, insecurity, and excessive mucus.
Vomiting, nausea, parasites, obesity, anorexia, common cold, cough, flu, pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, edema, stones in the urinary tract, leucorrhoea, breast or uterine cysts and tumors, addictions.
- Vegetables: asparagus, beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, garlic, lettuce, mushrooms, onion, peas, potato, spinach, sweet corn, raw tomato.
- Fruits: raw apple, cooked apple, apricot, banana, cherry, grapes, kiwi, litchi, orange, pear, pomegranate, strawberry.
- Dairy products: condensed milk, clarified butter, margarine, mayonnaise.
- Meat/Fish: chicken, duck, lamb, goose, turkey, venison, rabbit, rohu, crab, cod, haddock, shell fish, sardine, tuna.
- Rice/bread: brown bread, lentils, white rice, basmati rice, rye, soya.
- Dry fruits: coconut, pumpkin seed, sesame seed.
- Confectionary items: chutneys, honey.
- Spices: black pepper, cardamom, chili, clove, cinnamon, coriander, cumin seed, fennel, ginger, mint, saffron, turmeric.
- Drinks: apple juice, brandy, coffee, cola, lemonade, orange juice, tea, vodka, whisky, wine, mineral water.
- Oil: olive oil, sesame oil, vegetable oil.
- Others: smoked food.
- 1. Food should be cooked and heating.
- 2. Food should be pungent, bitter, astringent.
- 3. Hot spices should be used.
- 4. Fasting and skipping meals necessary.
- 5. Very little intake of alcohol.
- 6. Black tea/herbal tea/green tea to be taken.
- 7. Room temperature water to drink.
Massages – with essential oil of camphor, clove, cinnamon, myrrh, frankincense.
Gems – ruby, garnet, cat’s eye (must be set in gold).
Colours – Black, brown, grey, yellow, orange, gold, red.
- Strong workouts.
- Less sitting postures.
- Head stands.
- Chanting of mantras (aim hrim hum om)
- Strong exercises.
- Sun bathing.
- Avoidance of cold and damp.
- Follow disciplined life.
- Physical hardships.
- Not stay up at night.
- Not sleep during the day.
- Bhakti Yoga
- Karma Yoga
Purification practices: Therapeutic vomiting
VATA – composed of ‘space’ and ‘air’
The parts of our body that are influenced by Vata are small and large intestines.
Vata dominant cells are very active.
The ayurvedic bio-energy for Kapha is ‘air’.
Vata’s five seats (five types) are ‘Praana’ (head), ‘Udana’ (chest), ‘Samaana’ (stomach), ‘Vyaana’ (heart), and ‘Aapana’ (pelvis).
- Ø ‘Praana’ regulates breathing, spitting and sneezing. Its imbalance leads to hiccups, coughing, breathing problems and hoarseness.
- Ø ‘Udana’ governs speech, positiveness and enthusiasm, mental and physical strength. Its imbalance leads to complaints of the ear, nose and throat, heart related problems and speech difficulties.
- Ø ‘Samaana’ governs digestion, and carries away water and sweat. Its imbalance leads to diarrhea, gastric ulcers, indigestion and inflammations.
- Ø ‘Vyaana’ is the most powerful one, and controls the blood circulation. It governs the formation of sweat and lymph. Its imbalance leads to high blood pressure, fever, spasms, blood-related diseases, and problems related to the circulatory system.
- Ø ‘Apaana’ governs defecation, menstruation, urination and delivery of fetus. Its imbalance leads to colorectal, intestinal and urinogenital problems.
Vata controls respiration and elimination.
A predominantly Vata person (although has some influence of the other two doshas) more or less:
- is thin and light weight.
- is either very tall or very short.
- has dry and rough skin.
- has decaying teeth.
- has small but dull eyes.
- has thin hair and eyelashes.
- has very erratic memory.
- is very restless.
- has a tendency towards insomnia.
- has a tendency towards biting nails.
- is indecisive.
- has difficulty in sustaining relationships.
- is insubstantial, ethereal and creative.
- is quick to learn but cannot retain knowledge.
- is very prone to fear, depression, anxiety, and tension.
- is unreliable and changeable.
- has dreams of jumping, climbing, running, tall trees, and flying.
- has pulse like that of a ‘snake’ – 80 to 100 per minute – fast, narrow feeble, irregular, and cool.
- has very high sex drive.
Because of such qualities, when Vata goes out of balance, the predominantly Vata person faces many unwanted symptoms – unwanted dark complexion than usual, hacking cough, dry eyes, dark yellow urine, hard, dry, dark feces, and tremendous dehydration.
Constipation, food allergies, gout, underweight, anorexia, hypotension, sexual debility, enlarged prostate, PMS, menopause, insomnia, insanity, addictions, intestinal gas and colic, infertility.
- Vegetables: Artichoke, asparagus, beetroot, carrot, cucumber, garlic, cooked tomato.
- Fruits: Avocado, cherry, grapes, lime, melon, orange pear, pineapple, plum.
- Dairy products: butter, cheese, cream, cow’s milk, egg, clarified butter, ice cream, margarine, yogurt, mayonnaise.
- Meat/Fish: beef, sausage, tinned meat, cod, haddock, herring, mackerel, mussel, oyster, tuna, white fish.
- Rice/bread: barley, brown bread, oats, pasta, brown rice, yellow rice, white rice, wheat, white bread.
- Dry fruits: almonds, cashews, coconut, peanut, walnut, sesame seed, sunflower seed.
- Confectionary items: biscuits, cakes, chocolates, pudding, jam, honey, brown sugar, white sugar, tomato sauce.
- Spices: black pepper, chili, fennel, ginger, saffron, turmeric, cumin, coriander.
- Drinks: hot chocolates, malt drinks, orange juice, mineral water.
- Oil: coconut oil, sesame oil, olive oil, vegetable oil, sunflower oil, corn oil.
- Others: pickled food, salt, vinegar.
- 1. Food should be moderate hot or moderate cold.
- 2. Food should be sweet, sour, salty.
- 3. Tea, coffee, alcohol should be avoided.
- 4. Food should be well-cooked with spices.
Massages: with essential oil of sandalwood, camphor, cinnamon, musk.
Gems: emerald, jade, yellow sapphire, topaz (must be set in gold).
- Calming and grounding asana like sitting and lying postures, back bends and inverted poses.
- Calm, deep breathing.
- Calming and fear dispelling mantras (ram sham hum hrim shrim)
- Adequate sleep; not staying up late at night.
- Avoidance of physical hardship.
- Avoidance of excessive talking.
- Moderate sex.
- Not travel too much.
- Avoid too much of radio, television, music.
- Raja Yoga
- Integral Yoga – try to give up negative thoughts and feelings.
- Nasal Therapy
- Enema Therapy
In Ayurveda, it is often said that though Pitta pre-dominants face so much health upsets when imbalanced, these upsets are much more better in comparison to the severe imbalance faced by Vata pre-dominants.
Normally, it is found that most people are a combination of two doshas – the first one being the predominant one.
- Vata – Pitta (Vata predominant) / Pitta – Vata (Pitta predominant)
- Vata – Kapha (Vata predominant) / Kapha – Vata (Kapha predominant)
- Pitta – Kapha (Pitta predominant) / Kapha – Pitta (Kapha predominant)
It is a very rare to find people with ‘dosha balance’, that is, Pitta, Kapha and Vata equally balanced. People with such constitution are the most fortunate ones – they are free of any extremities (extreme situations).
Therefore, to achieve a DOSHA BALANCE:
- eat regular vegetarian meals that is cooked fresh.
- live calm, regular and well-ordered life.
- have a sense of purpose.
- never be too anxious or too lazy.
- sleep regular hours.
- do regular exercise.
- take bath daily.
- keep away from drugs or any addiction.
These are a few to start with.
Copyright © 2011 SangeetaAyurveda.com