Let's Talk About The Doshas

Being a science of over 5,000 years, Ayurveda can be quite complex and nuanced. Fortunately, it can also be broken down into easy-to-understand concepts.

A major component of Ayurveda is the Doshas (doh-shuh). There are three main doshas, each with their own energies that govern all of the functions within the body.

These main doshas are Vata (vah-tuh), Pitta (pih-tuh), and Kapha (kah-fuh). Everyone has all three of these doshas present within them at the moment of conception, but most of us have one or two main ones that run the show.

Your predominant dosha (or dosha combination) is called your natural constitution, or your Prakriti (prah-krih-tee). Your Prakriti remains the same for the duration of your life – there's no way to change it. Your Vikruti (vih-kroo-tee), however, can get all sorts of wonky at the drop of a hat.

Since I'm a huge fan of analogies, here's one to describe the difference between Prakriti and Vikruti. Imagine you have a Prius. It was factory-designed as a Prius. But all of a sudden the outer body of the Prius has turned into a Mazda. The engine is still a Prius, but on the outside it looks like a Mazda. In this example, the Prius is your Prakrit, and the Mazda is your Vikruti. The factory presets aren't changed, but it presents as something different.

Back to the doshas.

Each dosha has its own elemental makeup. Vata is made up of air + ether, Pitta is comprised of fire + water (but mainly fire), and Kapha is all about earth + water. Now let's do a quick breakdown of each individual dosha.


Known as the king of the doshas, Vata is all about movement. It's kind of like a butterfly flitting in the wind, moving from place to place. The qualities that are associated with Vata are dry, light, cold, subtle, rough, and mobile. Some of the bodily functions associated with Vata include voluntary and involuntary actions, removal of waste products, sensory and motor nerve regulation, your heart beating, your speech, sense of touch, and nutrient absorption.

Vata people tend to be slim by nature with prominent bones and not a lot of muscle definition. Their skin, hair, and/or eyes tend to be on the drier side, and their joints might crack a lot. Naturally chatty and intuitive, Vatas are also artistic and have a wild imagination. They're also prone to worry, anxiety, and can have a hard time making decisions.


Full of heat, the Pitta dosha is responsible for transformation. The qualities associated with Pitta include oily, hot, sharp, light, acidic, spreading, and liquid. Some of the bodily functions that are regulated by Pitta are digestion, body temperature, creation of thirst, and clarity of speech.

Pitta types usually have a medium frame and defined muscles. There's a level of intensity with them as well – be it an intense gaze or personality. Competitive by nature, Pittas are list-makers and planners and are often witty. They're also often opinionated, critical, and easily aggravated.


Our final dosha, Kapha, helps with lubrication and nourishment within the body. The qualities associated with Kapha include cold, moist, smooth, slow, cloudy, sticky, heavy, static, and soft. Some of the bodily functions that Kapha impacts include the ability to taste our food, cellular nourishment, tissue building, as well as lubrication of the joints and air passages.

Kapha people tend to be well-built with a rounded face and eyes. They're nurturing and like to keep the peace. Their immune systems tend to be strong, as are their physical bodies. Good listeners, Kapha types also tend to get attached to things quickly and have a difficult time letting go.

Remember, everyone has all three of these doshas within them. We just tend to have one or two primary doshas that take the lead and make up our Prakriti (our constitution at conception). When our doshas get out of balance, we've moved away from our natural state of harmony and instead have shifted into our Vikruti, our imbalanced state.

Most people have varying degrees of imbalance. Imbalances can be caused by changes in the weather, the time of your life (toddler, teen, midlife, and elder), the foods you eat, and even the people you spend time with. For a quick overview about imbalances, check out this post.

Your Prakriti (natural constitution) is perfect, no matter which combination or singular dosha is driving your ship. This makes you you. Where the work begins is to make daily adjustments to help return us to our natural, perfect self each day. Ever evolving, ever learning. Because Ayurveda is the Science of Life.

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