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THREE DOSHAS – A INTRODUCTORY GUIDE 

Vata, Pitta and Kapha are the three doshas mentioned in Ayurveda which are responsible for maintaining health of a person. Ayurveda says Dosha is that which is not only getting vitiates but also capable to vitiate other factors in the body. Ayurvedic classics define them as ‘Dooshayanti anena ithi doshaha’. All the three doshas can get vitiated due to their respective causes can disturb or alter the normal physiological functions. The disturbance in the normal functions of the body results in the onset of disease. 

You definitely know that doshas are known to be three in number namely Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Have you heard of the fourth dosha – Rakta? Yes, as per Ayurvedic surgeons like Sushruta and Vagbhata, Rakta is also given a vital role. You can also ascertain that this is also associated with procedures like Raktamokshanam in Panchakarma. Know more about the celebrated basic trios of Ayurveda – the Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

What are Doshas?

Doshas are functioning aspects of panchamahabhuta in a specific combination. As we know everything in the world is made up of panchamahabutas or five basic elements (Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether). Different combinations of five elements result in the formation of various things and doshas are also formed accordingly.

  1. Vata = Ether + Air
  2. Pitta = Fire + Water
  3. Kapha = Earth + Water

Doshas can be identified through their actions in the body. The increase, decrease, and healthy state of doshas have particular symptoms by which one can understand the status of the doshas in the body.

Types of Doshas

Ayurveda classifies doshas into two groups namely

  1. Shareerika Dosha (somatic humor)
  2. Manasika Dosha (psychic humor)

Shareerika Doshas are three in number and are known as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

Manasika Doshas are two in number known as Rajas and Tamas. 

Doshas in a normal state maintain the normal physiological functions of the body and their imbalance leads to the onset of disease.

Vata Dosha

Vaa Gati ganadhanayo ithi vata . That which says all about movement, change, even wear and tear, associated with wind energy, aging, sagging like destructive changes when vitiated. 

Pitta Dosha

Tapa santaape pittaha – that which invokes red hot nature and creates burns, ulcers, blisters like changes in skin and promotes hair loss, baldness, premature greying, etc when vitiated is what is called Pitta. 

Kapha Dosha

Also known as Sleshma, Kapha is defined as Slish alingane ithi sleshma . Kapha is known to cause strength, and stability and has that binding creative capability. It forms the base for the creation of a new structure, Pitta sustains it and Vata helps its disintegration later into the Panchamahabhuthas. 

Correlation with Trimurthis 

You might have heard of the Hindu trilogy of Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara in the case of Srushti, Sthiti, and Samhara. The exact correlation in the case of tridoshas can be Kapha, Pitta, and Vata. 

Qualities of Vata

as per Astanga Hridaya, Vata is rough, dry, subtle, and has pervading mobility as an essential feature. 

Qualities of Pitta

Pitta is hot, oily, and liquid in nature causing heat, and burning sensations like features. 

Qualities of Kapha

Kapha is stable, firm, and unctuous in nature. 

Seats of Three doshas

Although three doshas pervade the whole body in their normalcy their predominance found in the flooding places

  1. Kapha – Upper portion of the body that is above the chest
  2. Pitta – Milldle portion of the body in-between heart and navel.
  3. Vata – Lowe part of the body that is below the umbilicus.

Doshas – Chaya (accumulation), Prakopa (elicited stage), Prashamana (reduction) – three stages 

  • Chaya means accumulation stage owing to causative factors Nidana.
  • Prakopa – excited doshas show symptoms of diseases. 
  • Prashama- doshas when undergoing seasonal variations naturally undergo reduction or even cure naturally and when treatment measures are adopted, this happens to make doshas again balanced. 

Eg . Chaya prakopa Prashaman – Vayu – grishmadi three ritus . Pitta – varshadi ritus . Kapha – Shishira ritus . 

Prakriti – combinations 

Prakriti comes in duo combinations mostly and three doshas in balance as such in a person as innate prakriti is rarely found. 

  • Vata – person will have Vata predominant nature – most probably dry hair, fast speech, gait, and irregular appetite, and bowel evacuation. 
  • Pitta – person will have Pitta predominant nature – most probably reddish-brown soft hair, greedy, ambitious nature and sharp intellect with more appetite and easier bowel evacuation.
  • Kapha – person will have Kapha predominant nature – most probably thick black lustrous hair, sometimes curly, slow in speech and gait, proper appetite, and smooth bowel evacuation. 
  • Vata Pitta – Combined features of both these doshas are found in the person. 
  • Vata Kapha – Combined features of both these doshas are found in the person. 
  • Pitta Kapha -Combined features of both these doshas are found in the person.

Dosha special medicines 

  • Taila – vata – oil due to its unctuous, smooth nature combats Vata. 
  • Ghee – pitta – Ghee increases appetite and promotes digestion. It also has healing effects that curb the burning sensation caused by excess heat of pitta. 
  • Kapha – Madhu – Honey has a scraping action that helps to get rid of excess fat or even oiliness in the tissues caused by Kapha.

Impact of the season on doshas 

  • Shishira – Vata gets vitiated in this season mainly. Adopting a warm diet and regimen is advisable.
    Hemanta season also has more of dry and cold winds. You can follow Shishira regimen this season also. The only difference is that Hemanta is early winter and Shishira is extreme winter with a more cool, dry climate. 
  • Varsha – Vata and kapha – As the monsoon season has vitiation of Pitta also generally, adopting a suitable regimen that focuses on restoring digestive power, overall immunity,, and hygiene are advisable. 
  • Greeshma– Pitta – The summer season makes you tired, make it cool and smooth in terms of diet and regimen. 
  • Vasanta – Kapha – in this season, more mucus accumulation occurs in the body. You can take a warm and dry diet and regimen during this part of the year. 

Diet as per dosha 

  1. Vata – Vata has dry, cold qualities. You can have a more warm, unctuous diet for pacifying this dosha.
  2. Pitta – Pitta has hot, unctuous qualities. You can have a more of a soothing, cool watery diet for managing Pitta dosha. 
  3. Kapha – Kapha has cold, heavy, unctuous qualities. You can have digestive, light, dry food to alleviate Kapha dosha. 

 Don’ts for doshas 

  1. Vata -intake of more dry, fried food, excessive exertion, thinking, travel in jerky vehicles 
  2. Pitta – intake of hot, warm, fried food and beverages, dietary articles like chilly, exposure to sunlight and heat for a long duration 
  3. Kapha – intake of cold, fatty food, excessive intake of milk, pastries, etc. 

Panchakarma for Doshas 

  1. Vata – Vasthi– chikitsardham – Therapeutic enema is known as an effective treatment for rheumatic disorders like arthritis, hemiplegia, facial palsy, etc. Vasthi is also of two types – Anuvasana Vasthi (unctuous enema), and Asthapana Vasthi (decoction – kashaya Vasthi).
  2. Pitta – Virechanam – Therapeutic purgation is known for the management of skin issues, constipation, etc. 
  3. Kapha – Nasya, Vamana – for alleviating Kapha, in diseases affecting the head and sensory organs, Nasya is told. For general Kapha disorders, therapeutic emesis, Vamana is better.
  4. Rakta – Raktamoksanam – for managing Rakta dosha, bloodletting techniques like siravedhanam and jaloukavcahranam are told in Ayurvedic classics. 

Special tips for diseases 

  1. Vata – associated with restlessness, tremor, anxiety, and vata Rogas. Medicines like Bala tailam, Sahacharadi kashayam, and Balaristam are helpful in treating conditions associated with Vata vitiation. 
  2. Pitta – burns, ulcers, like diseases with suppuration, heat as common. Medicines like Manjisthadi kashayam, Pinda tailam, and Chandanasavam are useful to treat vitiated Pitta. 
  3. Kapha – tumors, abnormal growth, sloughy, slimy, mucus accumulations of all sorts. Medicines like Varanadi kashayam, Lavana tailam, Pippalysavam, etc are used to get rid of vitiated Kapha. 

Ayurveda has been a time-tested medicinal system and three doshas the basic powerhouses of this ancient treasure. Imbibe the taste of Ayurveda into you effortlessly. 

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