What is your doshas (unique body-mind constitution)? Have you got more air, space, water, earth or fire element present in your body? How do the five elements impact your health and proneness to specific disease? And why is it essential to know your doshas (unique constitution)?
According to Ayurveda there are 3 fundamental elements of the body:
- The 3 doshas (the doshas are three biological energies found throughout the human body and mind.)
- The 7 dhatus (the dhatus are the seven types of tissue that make up the human body.)
- The 3 malas (the malas are the waste products of the body, which include urine, stool, and sweat.)
As long as these fundamental elements are normal in quantity, quality and function, they maintain the health of the body. That means you will have a healthy weight, healthy tissues, good sleep, good elimination and energy levels.
What are the doshas?
The term comes from the Sanskrit dosa, meaning “fault” or “disease.” The three doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—are derived from the five elements i.e. Earth, Water, Air, Space and Fire.
Ayurveda states that human beings are made up of the same basic elements that make up the universe. The five elements are present in unique combination in every living form. Including our bodies. Each one of us is different, has different needs and predispositions to disease.
As a results, the doshas represent a unique combination of the five elements.
AIR + SPACE
WATER + FIRE
EARTH + WATER
This means that in our body, the space and air elements manifest under the bodily air principle called vata. Vata is the energy of movement and governs functions such as breathing, conception hearing, nerve impulses, circulation, elimination, menstruation, creativity and enthusiasm.
The fire and water elements manifest together in the body as the fire principle called pitta. Pitta is the energy of digestion and metabolism. It governs functions such as digestion, intelligence, courage, body temperature, skin complexion, hunger, vision and anger.
Finally, the earth and water elements manifest in the body as the bodily water principle known as kapha. Kapha is the energy of building and lubrication. It governs functions such as moisture, strength, stability, memory, patients, immunity, gives bulk to the body and gives energy to the heart and lungs.
What are the 7 body constitutions?
Although we all have the 5 elements present in our body, each one of us has either one, two or three predominant doshas in our body. Most individuals though, have dual dosha constitution.
Ayurveda recognises seven main body constitutions. They are:
The variety in our dosha, our unique body-mind make-up, explains our physical, mental and emotional differences. It is also the reason for our predisposition to certain disease, our preferences to certain environments and activities. It is essential to understand our constitution so we can maintain our balance through our life and avoid manifestation of diseases.
How is our dosha composition defined?
Our unique combination of dosha is determined at conception.
Our base dosha is called prakruti in sanskrit. It means “original creation.” This does not change as it is genetically defined. It is our DNA. Our base dosha thus defines our physical and emotional tendencies. Therefore we tend to have similar constitution and imbalances than our parents.
However after birth, by exposure to the external environment, our doshas may come out of balance. This state of the doshas is called vikruti, meaning “after creation” in sanskrit. It represents the actual state of the doshas and their manifestation in the physical, mental and emotional state of a person.
Why is it important to know your doshas?
Identifying our dosha helps us understand ourselves better. They are a unique key to self-knowledge and maintaining a healthy balance.
It is important to know our dosha constitution, because it gives us a deep understanding on our physical and emotional tendencies, preferences, and likelihood to get specific disease. Thus, doshas are a fantastic self-understanding and prevention tool.
With this knowledge in hand, we can recognise early symptoms and know what diet, lifestyle and remedies are suitable to prevent progress of the disease. So rather than following generic health advice (lemon and hot water, turmeric everywhere, juicing, 2L of water every day, 5 a day etc.), latest diet trends (gluten-free, raw food, keto diet, whole 30, paleo, fasting etc.) – which are by no means customised to our individual nature – Ayurveda helps us learn to behave in a way that is suited to our individual constitution and needs.
Knowing our dosha is an invaluable key to keeping a balanced body and mind. Take time to look into to it and ask us your questions!
TAKE THE DOSHA QUIZZ TO GET STARTED
To determine your Ayurvedic dosha, fill out the Dosha Quizz !
For more information and individualised treatment plan, please visit a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner.
Ayurvedic Consultant – DipALN, DipAMT (Ayurveda)
The Ayurveda Centre – Athens