Ayurveda treats a ‘dis-ease’ as a state where the person is not at ease with her intrinsic nature, which is defined by doshas. Get to know your Ayurvedic body type: Vata, Pitta and Kapha and realign your lifestyle to enjoy health.

To the Western world, Ayurveda is a holistic science of health, a sister discipline of yoga. However, this explanation fails to do justice to Ayurveda, a science 5000 years old and a section of Atharvaveda, one of the four Vedas.

For Ayurveda, the individual is not separate from the cosmos. What exists in the universe resonates in individuals. Like the universe, individuals are constituted of five elements, earth, space, water, fire, and air.

The States of Matter

The earth is the solid state of matter that characterizes stability. Water refers to flux, change, and flow. Air, the gaseous form of matter characterizes mobility and dynamism within the body.  The entire movement of the central nervous system is governed by this element.  Fire denotes power to change the state of a matter characterizing transformation. In a human body, the source of fire is metabolism. Space or Ether is the fabric on which the entire Universe or a person manifests itself

Elements Properties In the human body Predominant Element and the Dosha Type
Earth Stable, dense, heavy, grounded Bones, flesh, skin tissues and hair Kapha
Water Cool smooth fluid Saliva, urine, semen, blood, and sweat Mediates as Kapha or Vata
Fire Hot, light, intense and fiery Hunger, thirst and sleep Pitta
Air Dry, cold, light mobile, erratic Movements in the body: expansion, contraction, and suppression Vata
Space Clear, light, subtle and infinite Physical attraction and repulsion, as well as fear. Vata

Depending on their intrinsic nature these five elements can sustain or destroy each other. Fire and water are enemies but fire gets along well with air. Similarly, earth and water hug each other and prosper.

Mind-body-type

The five elements correspond with tri-doshas or three humors in Ayurveda namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha to create a unique individual constitution. The curriculum of Ayurveda is centered around realigning Vata, Pitta and Kapha doshas, as they govern all the biological, psychological and pathological functions of the body, mind, and consciousness.

The word dosha in Sanskrit means fault or culpability but it can also mean a state of imbalance.

Doshas define how a person will look and behave and if you carefully observe an individual it’s easy to recognize the different types of dosha.  Vatas are typically tall or short, Pittas are medium in size and muscular in build and Kaphas are strong with a broader body-frame.  

How to spot a Vata-dosha type?

Vata people are air-ether type.

If you see someone who has a thin, light frame is energetic but functions in bursts of energy, will overstrain herself until she crashes with fatigue, make no mistake, she is your typical Vata person. The healing energy of Vata is Prana, our life force.

  •         Light sleepers
  •         Sensitive Digestion
  •         Dry skin and hair
  •         Cold hands and feet

The Vata governs six motions in the body namely air flow, blood flow, lymph flow, gastrointestinal flow, urine flow and energy flow. When the Vata dosha is out of sync, it will manifest in weight loss (not necessarily), constipation, hypertension, arthritis, weakness, restlessness, and digestive concerns.

Vata dosha types love excitement and new experiences. They get angry easily but they forgive easily. When Vatas are in balance they are energetic, creative, and flexible. They tend to be lively and enthusiastic with a lean body.

Unbalanced Vata leads to unnecessary worries, anxiousness, insomnia and needless introspection, particularly “What did I do wrong?”

How to spot a Pitta-dosha type?

Pitta or the fire element dominates in Pittas.

If you see someone who has a medium size and weight, is precise, outspoken, direct and sharp-witted, you have spotted a Pitta.  Be careful they are fiery and get irritated easily. Tejas, our inner radiance is the healing energy of Pitta (fire)

  •         Excellent digestion
  •         Sleep soundly for short periods
  •         Warm body temperature
  •         Strong sex drive
  •         Premature graying or thinning of hair

Pitta governs digestion, absorption, assimilation, nutrition, metabolism, body temperature, skin coloration, the luster of the eyes also intelligence and intellect.

Pittas have a strong appetite, lustrous complexion. When their Pitta element is in balance, they have abundant energy and strong appetite, but when it goes out of sync Pittas may suffer from skin rashes, burning sensations, peptic ulcers, excessive body heat, heartburn, and indigestion. An out-of-balance Pitta can get easily irritated and argumentative and if they are overstressed, their response, unlike Vata, is, “What did you do wrong?”

How to spot a Kapha-dosha type

Kaphas are water-earth types.

When you see someone with a strong build, excellent stamina, appears grounded and has radiant skin and eyes, you have spotted a Kapha type. They are naturally calm and thoughtful. Their healing energy is Ojas, ultimate energy reserve of the body.

  •         Sleep soundly
  •         Regular digestion
  •         Thick hair
  •         Comfortable with routine

In the human body, Kapha governs body growth, weight, joints, lubrication of joints, memory retention, the suppleness of muscles and the smoothness of the internal organs. The immune system is greatly influenced by the balance of Kapha.

When Kapha is in balance, such people are strong, loyal, patient, steady and supportive. They have an inherent ability to enjoy life. An out-of-balance Kapha will manifest in weight gain, excessive sleep, asthma, diabetes, and depression

Excess Kapha in the mind will make a person stubborn and resistant to change. When stressed, their typical response is, “I don’t want to deal with it.”

Most individuals will be a mix of more than one body type depending on the varying degrees of these three types of humor.   When Vata, Pitta, and Kapha are in equilibrium a person is in good health but when any of these humor get out of balance then a person loses health and becomes diseased. The extent of imbalance determines whether a person will suffer from just indigestion or will be a chronic case of diabetes mellitus. A deep understanding of one’s constitution helps a person to calibrate her lifestyle, eating habits and emotions for maximum physical health and emotional well-being.