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The premise of Ayurveda is the harmony of the powerful forces of the mind, body and spirit. Doshas are an integral component of this ancient Hindu wellness system. They represent biological energy that embodies the elemental forces existing in equilibrium in the human body, the microcosm, and consequently in the universe, the macrocosm. Indeed, everything that exists in the vast external space is also present in the inner human core.
Doshas are of vital significance as they impact the coordination and the course of all bodily frameworks, materials and substances for effective functional capabilities. They provide internal intelligence for guiding and balancing the dhatus (body tissues), malas (wastes), and amas (toxins). Thus doshas are accorded prime importance in determining the constitution of a body. As all bodily activities are governed by them, it is necessary to identify one’s reigning dosha prior to Ayurveda treatment. This ensures the apt diagnosis and cure.
Prakriti means overall nature which equates to body constitution. This is determined from the time of conception to birth and then growth – with inherent physical and psychological qualities. Prakriti responds to conditional, behavioral and lifestyle changes. The characteristics of prakriti are attributed to the governing Tridoshas, the three biological principles that make life a possibility. Namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha, the doshas comprise of the Mahabhutas (the five divine entities of creation). When the prana (soul) enters the human figure, the Tridosha emerge to adopt all body functions. When the soul departs, the doshas also leave.
The first dosha Vata is related to air (vayu) and ether (akash). It governs all movements, such as breathing, blood flow and even intricate cell division, as well as the the very thoughts that flutter in our minds. The properties of the other doshas are dependent on it and so it is considered to be primary. Pitta is fire related (teja) and controls heat, metabolism and transformations like digestion, hormonal changes, taste, vision, body warmth, intelligence and others. The third Kapha is water (jal) and earth (prithvi) attributed. It encompasses the moisture and structure related characteristics of physiology. It controls lubrication of the lungs, nourishment and weight etc. When each dosha functions optimally, the body is in rhythm. The doshas are also connected with seasons; Vata with winter and fall, Pitta with summer and Kapha with spring.
Advocates of Ayurveda suggest that there are seven doshas prevalent in the constitution. They occur in varying degrees and proportions. Body types include singular majors like Vata-prime, Pitta-prime, Kapha-prime, the dual nature doshas like Vata-Pitta prime, Pitta-Kapha prime, Vata-Kapha prime and the all-inclusive Vata-Pitta- Kapha prime. The inner balance is constantly in flux and related to external factors. But there is a general tendency towards one dosha. Keeping the bio-energies in a calm state is important to promote positive health. Due to stress, improper consumption patterns, weather, pollution and other reasons there can be imbalances that alter the body state creating illness. To restore good health it is important to know one’s sharirik dosha, as it needs attention. Equilibrium can be maintained by supportive diet, exercise, lifestyle etc.
Lifestyle, physical traits like height, weight, skin and hair, sleeping habits, diet etc. reveal a person’s dominant dosha. Dosha evaluation is vital for accurate diagnosis and Ayurveda treatment. For example, individuals with Vata predominance are usually energetic and active with irregular eating and sleeping habits. They generally have dry skin with a lean build. They love to communicate but are shy and anxious. Many other such broad traits can be found in Vata-prime individuals. Thus, similarly all seven dosha groups have specific unique qualities. The treatment comprising of suitable herbal medication, massages, exercises, cleansing etc. are tailored as per the doshas. That is why knowledge of one’s dosha has several short-term and long-term benefits.
Whether one wants to overcome severe flu or combat weight loss or enhance hair growth, it is related to the delicate aspect of dosha. The information about one’s dosha helps in keeping folks healthy by aiding in the prevention, as well as reversal of diseases, especially auto immune disorders. Further, by promoting a balance directed towards one’s natural inherent dosha, helps in physical, mental and spiritual strength and living life to the maximum potential.