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Ayurvedic Basics - The Doshas

Posted on September 12 2023

When people initially encounter Ayurveda, they often hear about the "Doshas," which are fundamental to the practice. According to Ayurveda, which is the healing branch of yoga, all forms of matter that make up the physical body and the entire outer world that can be experienced are composed of "The Five Great Elements." These elements are ether (space), air, fire, water, and earth, and they work on both the gross and subtle levels in the body and mind, including how our sense organs perceive and all physical activities. The Doshas, which are three primary life-forces in the body, are called Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, and are derived from the The Five Great Elements. 

 An assessment of someone’s physical structure, mental-emotional tendencies, and lifestyle habits is traditionally used to determine someone’s dominant Dosha or "constitutional type." This is an integral aspect of Ayurveda that precedes any recommendations or treatments. The Doshas determine life's processes of growth and decay and are the causative forces behind the disease process when they are out of balance. Vata contains the elements of ether and space, Pitta contains fire and water, and Kapha contains water and earth, but these will manifest in different proportions per individual. Most people will have one dominant Dosha, but a small number will have two and be “dual types.” Even fewer people will have all three Doshas in equal amounts and be “triple types.” In total, there are actually seven constitutional types. 



When in balance, the Doshas reside in specific areas of the body and each Dosha has qualities that are unique to it, but some of these qualities overlap and are shared by another Dosha. Additionally, there are fifteen Sub-Doshas that have specialised energies and functions in the body. Doshas make up a portion, though an important one, in Ayurvedic anatomy and cosmology. It is also important to remember that the Doshas are not limited to our bodies, but can be observed throughout nature. When we practice Ayurveda we consider how the Doshas also affect stages of life from infancy to old age, the seasons, and even times of day. These considerations are helpful in knowing for whom, why, where, and when an Ayurvedic lifestyle recommendation is applied.

Although general Dosha tests are available on the Internet, Ayurvedic knowledge goes beyond the Doshas to address our complexities. A certified Ayurvedic consultant or practitioner will be able to provide an in-depth assessment of your individual constitution and provide insightful recommendations. Accessible Ayurveda Lifestyle Consultation packages are available at Mantra Wellness for adults, tweens and teens. Schedule your consultation today to learn more about this profound natural healing system for your unique being.