There are three basic Doshas...
  1. Vata (space & air) leads to cold, dry, grey, thin, short, tall, variable.
  2. Pitta (fire & water) leads to warm, oily, wet, medium, even.
  3. Kapha (water & earth) leads to cold, wet, smooth, oily, thick, heavy, solid.

You may have one, two or all three of these present. The aim of Ayurveda is to balance the current constitution so that all three doshas are present in roughly equal amounts. You are then in balance. The natal constitution cannot be changed.

According to Ayurvedic texts, entire cosmos is constituted of Panchmahabhootas (the five basic elements - Space or ether, Air, Water, Fire & Earth) and when they combine together, three imperceptible functional forces, Vata, Pitta & Kapha are created. They form the tripod of the body and are called Tridoshas (three doshas or blemishes or humours or morbids).

The Tridosha theory is a further biological application of the Panchmahabhutas. The human body is the conglomeration of the modi¬fication of Panchmahabhutas, and the living body works properly so long as these are in proper proportions in the body. The tridoshas are responsible for maintaining the integrity of the living organisms and govern the entire physical structure & physiological functioning of body. Each dosha has a specific pramana (quantity), guna (quality) and karma (action) in the body. In an undisturbed state their function is said to be sama (normal), the result of which is arogya (the absence of disease). Foods, habits and environmental factors that are contrary to the qualities of a particular dosha bring about its decrease, while foods, habits and environmental factors that are similar to a particular dosha bring about its increase. Both these states of increase and decrease are considered abnormal (vaisamya), but it is increase that causes major disturbances, while decrease typically causes minor disturbances. The tridosha theory is also congruent with the Buddhist orientation that suffering, as the penultimate characteristic of existence, is caused by desire (Vata), aggression (Pitta) and ignorance (Kapha).

Vata, constituted of the basic elements of air and space and the mobile factor of the body, situated below the umbilicus, is said to be responsible for the functions of the nervous system, carrying of blood in circulation, locomotion, respiration, excretion and vitality of human being. The Vata is located in the umbilical region, intestines, hips, ears, skin and neuro & musculoskeletal regions. A study of the physiological functions ascribed by Vata suggest that it is a biophysical force or a material entity or a complex of such entities. The biological Vata is incorporeal, unstable, mobile and is responsible for all mental functionings, movements in & of the body. It sustains the body, contributes energy, controls inspiration & expiration processes and also separates the waste products in intestines. Vata or Vayu is classified into five types viz Prana-Vayu (inspiratory force), Udana-Vayu (expiratory force), Samana-Vayu (digestive force), Vyana-Vayu (contractile force), & Apana-Vayu (excretory force). Vata is dominant in the hours before dawn and sunset, in the latter part of digestion, and in the latter stages of life.

Pitta, constituted of the basic elements of fire and water and the thermogenetic factor of the body, situated between the umbilicus & heart, is contributing to the glandular functions and is responsible for vision, controlling body temperatures, digestion, hunger, thirst & mental faculty. The Pitta is, characteristically, blue or brownish-yellow in colour, light, viscous, fleshy, sour in taste, soft, warm, liquid, quick-acting, acrid, able to spread, unpleasant in smell, sometimes with putrid or penetrating smell. Pitta is responsible for normal vision, appetite, body temperature, thirst, com¬plexion, intelligence, courage, cheerfulness and lucidity of mind. According to the nature of its functions, Pitta is divided into five types, viz. Pachaka (Digestive heat), Ranjaka (Blood colouring heat), Sadhaka (Thought producing heat), Alochaka (Image forming heat), and Bhrajaka (Glow producing heat). Pitta is dominant at midday and midnight, in the middle portion of digestion, and during mid-life.

Kapha, constituted of the basic elements of earth and water and the stationary factor of the body, situated above the region of heart, is responsible for the formation of structure in the body & its biological strength and described as the principle of the maintenance of the smooth working of human physique. Kapha is localised in the regions of oesophagus, lymphatic system, joints, stomach, fat, nostrils & tongue. However, thorax is considered as its main region. According to its functionings, Kapha is classified into five types, viz Avalambaka-kapha (respiratory fluid), Kledaka-kapha (fluid of the alimentary canal), Bodhaka-kapha (gustatory fluid), Tarpaka-kapha (cerebrospinal fluid), and Shlesha¬ka-kapha (synovial fluid). Kapha is dominant after sunrise and sunset, at the beginning stages of digestion, and during childhood.

Know your Prakriti
The prakriti (nature) of any individual depends upon the state of their existence and activity in the body. The tridoshas are responsible for good health possessed of physical strength, good complexion, happiness, longevity and resistance against disease or decay. Prakriti is the profile or temperament of an individual, encompassing his or her physical, functional and behavioral characteristics. In Ayurveda, Purusha or the body is considered to be a combination of various components like Dosha, Dhatu, Indriya, Manas, Buddhi and Atma.

Like genetic coding, every individual has a different combination and is therefore a distinct entity. Dietary preferences, behavioral patterns, job options, performance abilities are all strikingly different between any two individuals. Prakriti is determined by a unique combination of these three doshas (Tridoshas). Ayurveda considers that Prakriti is formed at the inception of human life and usually does not alter during the later phases.

Once you have determined your Constitution, then you can use this knowledge to design a diet for yourself, and find out the right type of occupation, lifestyle, yoga etc. Once you have designed this program for yourself and adjusted it (based on observation of outputs), then your immune system will be strong, your constitution balanced, illness will disappear and performance will excel.

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