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Understanding the dosha

Vata, pitta and kapha move in the whole body producing good or ill effects upon the entire system, according to their normal or aggravated states. Their normal state is balance and their aggravated state is illness.” Charaka Samhita

According to Ayurveda, there are five elements that make up the world around us and the world inside of us: space, air, fire, water and earth. They all reflect certain qualities that we experience through our senses. In a way, they express the language of nature. For example, air is like the wind and is constantly on the move, a bit cold, drying and light; on the other hand, fire is hot, steamy and fierce; whereas water is wet, a little cooling and heavy. Inside our bodies, these five master elements combine together and exist as three primary energy patterns.

These energy patterns – or doshas, to use the Sanskrit word – are present in every tissue, every cell and every organ in our body, thereby they govern all of the body’s processes, from bodily functions to our thoughts and feelings.

When you have chronic imbalance in your doshas (known as vikriti), health problems start.

The three Ayurvedic doshas

The three primary energy patterns in our body, or doshas, are: wind or vata – that is cold, dry and light – is the force that controls our movement, regulates the nervous system, and oversees elimination of waste; fire or pitta – that is hot, wet and combustive – is the force that controls our digestion and metabolism; and water or kapha – that is cold, wet and heavy – is the protective force which governs stability, structure and moisture in our mind and body.

Although we’re all born with all three doshas, they come together differently in each one of us, and it is this unique combination that makes us who we are. Typically, every person has one dominant form of dosha that makes up his or her personal Ayurvedic constitution or prakriti.

What’s your dosha type?

Some people are pure vata, pitta or kapha types, others are vata-pitta, vata-kapha or pitta-kapha (here the dominant quality is listed first). More rarely, but possible, is an equal balance of all three doshas in one person – vata-pitta-kapha.

Once you understand what dosha combination makes up your Ayurveda constitution, you can start keeping them in balance through the right diet, exercise, and lifestyle...and maybe even the right cup of Pukka herbal tea!; for it is the delicate balance of our doshas that leads to the balance of our health.

To discover what dosha(s) make up your Ayurvedic constitution, why not try our Dosha Quiz?

Meet the author

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Sebastian Pole, Co-founder and Herbal Director

I’m Co-founder and Herbal Director at Pukka Herbs. As well as formulating all our organic products, I run my own herbal practice in Bath which I’ve done since 1998. I’m a registered member of the Ayurvedic Practitioners Association, Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine and the Unified Register of Herbal Practitioners. All this with the aim of using the principles of Ayurveda (the ancient art of living wisely) to help create positive change and positive health. Inspired by my time in India, I love cooking a vegetarian feast and rely on regular yoga practice and herbal supplementation to keep me well. I am passionate about running a business that inspires positive change and brings the benefit of the incredible power of plants to everyone we connect with. I live on a two acre garden-farm in Somerset where I grow a rainbow spectrum of medicinal and nourishing plants for my bees and family to live from.

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