What are the doshas in Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is a holistic system of medicine from India. The principle aim in Ayurveda is creating balance. Balance is accomplished through food and lifestyle guidance and attention to a persons unique constitution.

A persons constitution is determined though the presence of the five elements. The five elements exist in nature and each of the five elements have an influence on us. Different combinations of these elements create what are called the “doshas” or body types in Ayurveda. Each dosha has unique characteristics associated with it. The three primary doshas are vata, pitta and kapha.

Vata Dosha:

Vata people tend to be thin, dry and cold. Vatas think fast and are very changeable. Because vatas are creative and excitable they can become easily depleted and anxious if they don't have proper grounding.

Vata people need routine; especially in sleep and diet. Foods that are especially helpful for vata types include warming and and heavier foods such as soups, cooked vegetables, healthy oils and dairy products.

Kapha Dosha:

Kapha people move slower than the other types but they are grounded and reliable. They generally have larger body types and good stamina.

When kapha people are out of balance they tend towards forms of mucus congestion or digestive sluggishness (referred to as “damp” in Chinese Medicine). To counter this tendency Kapha people benefit from movement and pungent foods.   

Pitta Dosha:

Pitta people generally have a medium build and reddish complexions. They tend to be driven and focused but can also be easily angered and tend towards perfectionism.

Because pitta people tend to have a lot of “heat” they can be prone to inflammatory conditions (rashes, ulcers etc) and can tend to overwork. Remedies that would help balance heat in pitta types would be to decrease heating food like stimulants, alcohol and spicy food and increase cooling activities and foods like aloe, raw vegetables and meditation.

Almost every person has a combination of doshas so chances are you express traits from multiple categories. Although it can be helpful to notice if one dosha seems to be more predominate. By making small changes to balance the doshas we have the opportunity to profoundly affect our health.