A Comprehensive Guide to Ayurveda Doshas
Dosha plays an important role in Ayurveda. The three doshas exist in all the creatures on the earth. Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, the three doshas are the main entities in the formation of shareera (body), maintain the health of an individual, and are the main cause of diseases that occur.
The three doshas are called tristhambha which means the three pillars of the body. These are the representations of all the biological processes that take place in the body. The dosha are composed of Panchamahabhuta (five elements) which also are the components to form a body, sustain life, and carry out all the activities in the body along with the three dosha.
These dosha are present in the living body and are absent in the dead body. The Prakriti (body constitution) of a person is made up of the tridosha. To understand the pathology of the disease, it is also essential to know the anatomical and physiological fundamentals of these dosha.
Derivation and the origination of dosha
The word dosha means “dushyantiti doshaha” that which causes the dushana or the vitiation that leads to diseases. Dosha gets vitiated by their own cause, but they are the causative factors for the vitiation of the tissues.
In the formation of this universe which means the Srishti Utpatti in Ayurveda, the universe becomes the sthoola roopa which is the macrocosmic creation while the human body is the microcosmic creation – the sookshma roopa in the origination process. Thus, the vata, pitta, and kapha dosha are the paramanu roopa utpatti (minutest form of creation) in the body carrying out their respective functions to sustain the life of an individual.
Dosha circulates in the body in all directions with their own movements either in Prakritha Avastha (normal condition) or Kupitha Avastha (vitiated condition). When the doshas get aggravated and become obstructed, diseases are manifested.
Prakritha gati (normal movement) of dosha are urdhwa gati (upward movement), adho gati (downward movement), and tiryak gati (sidewards in all directions). The movement of dosha in shakha (the peripheral circulation), koshtha (in the gastrointestinal), and marma-asthi-sandhi (circulating in the vital structures-bones-joints) are the movement of dosha taking place in normal conditions.
In the Kupitha Avastha (pathological state) the dosha movements take place as kshaya (malnourished or depleted state) and vriddhi (aggravated state). Based on the kala or rutu (season), the normal movement of dosha can be explained as chaya (mild to moderate vitiation of dosha), prakopa (aggravated state of dosha), and prashamana (dosha subside to normalcy).
Phases of dosha
Prakritha dosha (normal dosha) helps in the formation of Garbha (embryo) with the help of shukra (sperm) and shonita (ovum). Based on the Aahara matra and Agni, the dosha can be categorized into two states: Amavastha (aahara when does not get properly digested) and Niramavastha (aahara when does get digested properly). Depending on the digestion of the food the stages of dosha are explained as Prasada bhaga (the essence of the digested food) and Kitta bhaga (the impure form of the food).
Rajas and Tamas are the manasika dosha (psychological entities) that are responsible for psychological factors like anger, grief, worry, etc.
Dosha are the fundamentals of the Ayurveda system of medicine and are called tristhuna (three pillars). The health and the diseased condition of the human body depend on tridosha. All the biological processes happening in the body are due to the dosha and make up the body’s constitution. Dosha can vitiate the other factors in the body and lead to manifestation of diseases and when they are in an equilibrium state there is health.
FAQs on Ayurveda and the concept of doshas
- What are the three doshas in Ayurveda?
- In Ayurveda, the three doshas are fundamental energies believed to circulate in the body and govern physiological activity. They are Vata (wind/spirit/air), Pitta (bile/fire), and Kapha (phlegm/water).
- How do the doshas influence health according to Ayurvedic beliefs?
- Each dosha is thought to be responsible for specific physiological functions in the body. Vata controls movement and communication, Pitta oversees digestion and metabolism, and Kapha maintains structure and fluid balance. An imbalance in any of these doshas can lead to health issues.
- Can an individual have more than one dominant dosha?
- Yes, while everyone has all three doshas, most individuals have one or two that are more dominant. This unique combination of doshas is what determines one’s constitution or Prakriti.
- How do I determine my dosha?
- Determining one’s dosha typically involves an assessment by an Ayurvedic practitioner through a series of questions about one’s physical characteristics, mental tendencies, and lifestyle preferences.
- Can my dosha change over time?
- While your fundamental constitution (Prakriti) remains the same, the current state of your doshas (Vikriti) can fluctuate due to factors like age, diet, climate, and emotional state.
- What dietary practices does Ayurveda suggest for balancing the doshas?
- Ayurveda recommends specific diets for each dosha. For example, Vata types benefit from warm, moist, and grounding foods, Pitta types require cool and slightly dry food, and Kapha types require light and warm food.
- How does Ayurveda treat dosha imbalances?
- Treatments for dosha imbalances often include dietary changes, herbal remedies, massage therapies, yoga, and meditation. Each treatment is personalized to the individual’s dosha profile.
- What are the signs of a Vata imbalance?
- Signs of a Vata imbalance may include anxiety, dry skin, constipation, difficulty focusing, and insomnia.
- What are the characteristics of a Pitta-dominant person?
- A Pitta-dominant individual might have a strong metabolism, a competitive spirit, a sharp intellect, and a warm body temperature, but they may be prone to irritability and inflammation when out of balance.
- How can I maintain a Kapha balance?
- To maintain Kapha balance, it’s recommended to engage in regular physical activity, avoid cold and heavy foods, and stimulate the mind with new activities and challenges.