Vata, Pitta and Kapha are collectively known as the three doshas. They are three unique forces of nature that are essential to our physiology in some way. No one dosha is more superior than the other, but each of them play a different role in our mind, body and soul. To be healthy and happy is when all three doshas are balanced. However, when the three doshas are not working harmoniously and there is an imbalance it can wreak havoc on our health. These are some of the most foundational concepts of Ayurveda.
Most people do experience some form of imbalance, with one dominant dosha always showing itself in physical and physiological symptoms. This is one of the goals of Ayurveda, to regain harmony in an all natural and restorative way.
What is Your Ayurvedic Body Type?
The Elements of Each Ayurvedic Body Type
All things in nature are made up of the five elements... space, air, fire, water and earth. And as with all things in nature, so too are the Vata Dosha body types composed of these five elements in different proportions. Depending on your dosha and therefore the dominance of the elements, this will determine your constitution; your emotional, physical and mental characteristics, your unique vulnerabilities and strengths.
Vata body type: Air + Space
Pitta body type: Fire + Water
Kapha body type: Water + Earth
Qualities of Each Ayurvedic Body Type
Each dosha body type has a list of unique characteristics that become more prominent when that dosha is dominant and out of balance. Like the laws of physics, Ayurveda is the art of identifying your dominant dosha and counteracting its characteristics to find internal balance once more.
Vata body type: Dry, Light, Rough, Subtle, Mobile, Clear
Pitta body type: Hot, Sharp, Light, Liquid, Spreading, Oily
Kapha body type: Heavy, Slow, Cool, Oily, Smooth, Dense, Soft, Stable, Gross, Sticky
One of the ways to find balance once again is through the characteristics of the foods we consume. For example if you have a dominant Pitta body type, consuming drier and denser foods will counteract the oily, liquid characteristics of the Pitta dosha.
You can learn about eating for your unique dosha by reading our blog post ‘What is an Ayurvedic Diet?’
Functions of Each Ayurvedic Body Type
With each dosha having its own unique qualities and governed by a different combination of the five elements, it is natural that each dosha governs specific physiological functions too.
Vata body type: Communication, Movement, Creativity, Flexibility and the Nervous System
Pitta body type: Transformation, Digestion, Intelligence, Understanding, Emotions and Metabolism
Kapha body type: Lubrication, Structure, Cohesiveness, Love, Compassion and Immunity
An imbalance in your dosha can occur through an unsupportive diet, stress, emotional trauma or lifestyle choices. And whilst an imbalance can occur in any one of your three doshas, you are more likely to be predisposed to an imbalance in your dominant dosha body type.
Imbalanced Vata: When you have an imbalanced vata you may experience abnormal movement patterns such muscle spasms and tremors, linking back to the Vata which primary functions include the Nervous System and movement. In addition to this there can be emotional disruptions including fear, loneliness, exhaustion, anxiety and generalised energy depletion.
Imbalanced Pitta: When you have an imbalanced Pitta you may experience inflammatory disorders and reactionary emotions such as anger, frustration, criticism and jealousy, linking back to the dominant element of fire.Imbalanced Kapha: When you have an imbalance Kapha you will experience resistance to change, and emotions such as possessiveness and greed as well as physical symptoms such as congestion of organs and tissues throughout the body- and mind.