The Three Doshas

The concept of the three Doshas is one of the fundamental precepts of Ayurveda.

The Three Doshas are VATA, PITTA and KAPHA.

These Doshas, or constitutional types, arise from the Five Elements, of Ether, Earth, Fire, Water and Air.

From Ether and Air comes VATA.

From Fire and Water comes PITTA.

From Water and Earth comes KAPHA.

Individuals are treated in Ayurveda by an understanding of what is their basic constitution using these Doshas.

VATA is cold, dry, light, mobile, subtle, changeable...what we would think of as primarily ''Air''. It governs Movement.

PITTA is hot, light, fluid, sharp, malodorous, clear...what we would think of us primarily ''Fire''. It governs heat and chemical reactions.

KAPHA is cold, wet,  heavy, slow, static, dense..what we would think of as primarily ''Earth''. It governs weight and substance.

''Individual constitution is acquired at birth and remains constant throughout life....combinations exist....two Doshas may exist in equal strength.'' ~ From The Yoga of Herbs by David Frawley and Vasant lad.

Here is one example of a Dosha Quiz which can help you understand your primary Dosha ~

Different herbs and treatments will be applicable dependent on your Dosha or variations thereof.

Doshas are similar in a way to the ancient understanding of the bodily humours, that is Bile, Phlegm and Air. Thus someone might have been said to have a phlegmatic or bilious disposition and would be treated accordingly.

Here is an article describing the Three Doshas in more detail ~

Extract from this article...

Ayurveda defines disease as the natural end result of living out of harmony with one’s constitution. Our constitution is the inherent balance of energies within our bodies and our minds. It describes who you are on the most fundamental level.....


The Vata dosha is said to be made up of the air and ether elements. This means that it has qualities which are similar to these elements. Vata is very much like the wind - it is light, cool, dry and mobile. In the body, those people with a Vata nature experience more of these qualities. Their bodies tend to be light, their bones thin, and their skin and hair dry. They often move and speak quickly. When out of balance, they may lose weight, become constipated and have weakness in their immune and nervous systems

These qualities also reflect in their personality. Those with a Vata nature tend to be talkative, enthusiastic, creative, flexible and energetic. Yet, when out of balance they may also become easily confused and overwhelmed, have difficulty focusing and making decisions and have trouble sleeping. This becomes more apparent when they are under stress. Emotionally they are challenged by cool emotions like worry, fear and anxiety.


The Pitta dosha is said to be made up of the fire and water elements. Fire is more predominant and those people with a predominant Pitta nature have many of the qualities of fire within them. Pitta tends to hot, sharp and penetrating. It is also somewhat volatile and oily. The oily nature of Pitta is related to the secondary component of water. People with a Pitta nature reflect these qualities. They tend to feel warm, have somewhat oily skin, penetrating eyes and sharp features. They tend to have moderate weights and good musculature. When out of balance they tend toward diarrhea, infections, skin rashes and weakness in the liver, spleen and blood.

These qualities also reflect in their personalities. Pitta people tend to be highly focused, competitive, capable, courageous, energetic and clear communicators who get right to the point. They like to solve problems and when under stress they dig in their heels. They can however also become overly intense and speak with a sharp tongue. They make great friends but feared enemies. Emotionally they are challenged by the heated emotions of anger, resentment and jealousy.


Within the Kapha dosha there is a predominance of the water and earth elements. Like these elements Kapha tends to be cool, moist, stable and heavy. In the body these qualities manifest as dense, heavy bones, lustrous, supple skin, low metabolism, and large, stocky frames. In addition, those with a Kapha nature tend to feel cool. When out of balance, Kapha individuals are prone to gaining weight and tend to have weaknesses in their lungs and sinuses where there is an accumulation of mucous. Those of Kapha nature are also most prone to non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus.

The elements of water and earth also reflect in the personality. The heavy, stable nature of Kapha reflects in a stable personality which is not prone to quick fluctuations. Those with a Kapha nature handle stress very well, often not even noticing that it exists. They don't like change, are generally conservative and would prefer to keep things just the way they are. Those with a Kapha nature are also comfort seekers. This relates to the soft watery nature of Kapha. Too much comfort however can lead to a lack of motivation and feeling of becoming stuck. When Kapha is out of balance, the heavy emotions of depression and lethargy result.



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  • Different Doshas need Different Meditations

    Source of Article ~

    As an example, Vata (ether and air) types can become easily agitated and aggravated by formless meditations and require more watery and bhakti (devotional) themes with some warmth. Pitta types can become agitated by fiery meditations and fiery deities, forms as reds, oranges, the Sun (as also forms of Yoga as Bikram Yoga) etc. and require more peaceful or cooling meditations and environments as tranquil waters and nature. Themes as Karma-Yoga, the Yoga of service and giving up fruits of results of actions is good for them. Kapha types are easily dreamy and require meditations that will stimulate them and give them more detachment (vairagya), such as fiery and formless meditations. Jnana-Yoga, the path of wisdom and atma-vichara, Self-enquiry is good for them to develop more detachment.

    Thus, meditations must be tailored and suited as per the individual.

    They cannot be given through mass instructions. Specific mantras, devatas (deities) and their respective pranayamas (breathing techniques) also come into traditional meditations also, but are rarely taught beyond generics today either.

    One of India’s greatest modern Yogis, reformers and Vedic scholars, Sri Aurobindo also stated in his Letters on Yoga about various visions in meditation:

    Visions come from all planes and are of all kinds and different values. Some are of very great value and importance, others are a play of the mind or vital and are good only for their own special purpose, others are formations of the mind and vital plane some of which may have truth, while others are false and misleading, or they may be a sort of artistry of that plane.

    India’s greatest modern Saint, Sri Ramana Maharishi once stated, when a devotee asked him about siddhis (mystic powers of Yoga) as a sign of realization, in true fashion, considering them of materialistic and thus lesser value and not signs of enlightenment:

    A hypnotist can suddenly render himself invisible. Is he therefore a Sage?

    These  delusional states of the mind can even extend to lower-astral experiences where one falsely beholds themselves as “being one with consciousness”, as the physical human plane is so dense in this current age, that anything, even indigestion or light-headedness in extremes can make one feel one is “one with consciousness”, which also includes examples as OBEs, which to the limited, untrained human complex, can be a feeling confused with “enlightenment”, as few reach the higher stages beyond this, except for very advanced Yogis (who are usually born from the astral and causal planes in human form for specific missions).

    Some meditations are also correctional for the mind and simply instil a state of santosha or contentment and shanta or calmness in individuals, not simply due to the effects of meditation per se, but the direct effects of opposite cures (as a Kapha or heavy and lethargic mind does well with Vatic or wind-increasing formless meditations and fiery ones, or Vata–wind or hyperactive mind–does well with warming and watery or dense or emotional ones, such as on deities). These are biological not simply psychological in nature and should be noted as such. Spiritual effects are rare, very rare and always have been. More often, there are several purely mental states recognized in Yoga and Ayurvedic psychology, such as vibhramsas (delusions, hallucinations) and others that are apart from spiritual ones. We must recognize them, assess and know them when dealing with people as also ourselves when meditating.

    Yogic Psychology and the Effects of Meditation
    Meditation has become almost a special “science” and “technique” in itself today, but few realize what actual benefits they are having. Many talk abo…
  • Read them all can't actually figure out which one is me.  Only part of  Kapha I see is me is handles stress well and sleeps well.. the other parts of it does not like change is not me.. I love change.. can't stand monotony.. 

    then maybe pitta .. 

    anyway I don't know always wanted to figure it out, find it interesting...

  • I'm not an expert on it, Noctua, but this is my understanding.

    Yes. It is always some combination of the three, with one being perhaps more predominant. Or you can be essentially balanced between all three, but circumstances, weather, accidents, illnesses, etc can cause one or other to go out of balance. Doshas can be different in mind and body. For example my body doshas are not particularly leaning towards one (although most likely Vata) whereas my mind is very Vata.  All of the doshas are necessary because they all do different jobs, and all of them can either be balanced or otherwise.

    Natural - imbalances

    [ ]Natural imbalance is due to time and age, which are mild and normally do not cause any problems. Vata, Pitta, and Kapha increase and become predominant during one's life, during a season and during certain times of day. For example, Vata is predominant during the latter part of one's life, during the fall season and during late afternoon, as well as during the last part of night and the last part of digestion. Whew!! I know that's a lot of stuff! Hang in there! Pitta is predominant during middle age, during the summer season, at midday, at midnight and during the middle part of digestion. Kapha is predominant during childhood, during the spring season, in late morning, at the first part of evening and during the early part of digestion.

    Unnatural - imbalances

    [ ]Unnatural imbalances of the Doshas can be caused by such things as: inappropriate diet, inappropriate lifestyle, trauma (like a car accident), viruses, parasites, etc. While some of these items are beyond our control, the type of lifestyle we live and the foods we eat are within our control.

  • is it possible to be a combination of some.. I dont' see myself 100 percent in just one.

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