Jan 27, 2015


THE DOSHAS are the qualities of the five elements which affect the nature of matter, for example moisture in the air causes humidity thereby changing the properties of air. When there is water sand it has more earth properties and when there is air in it, it is dry and lighter. Air makes a fire burn more and when there is water in it, it goes out. These principles are so familiar to us that we don’t necessarily associate these qualities affecting the body and mind in the same way, but they do. The doshas are the causative factor of disease, but also have a positive value to the body by supporting the tissues and organ functions.


In ayurveda we simplify the five elements into three categories:  VATA - air and space: PITTA - fire: KAPHA - water and earth. Please refer to the blogs and videos on the five elements where I said we are looking at the energies of the elements, not so much their physical nature although that is a factor. They are not physical structures, but physiological forces. There are spaces in the body, such as in the lungs where there is air, and we often use spacey, airhead, airy or light headed when describing the quality of air in a person, but not air itself. We don’t mean there is literally a fire inside us, but we do talk about burning sensations, firey personalities and hot is often used. Water does literary exist within us and we know when we don’t have enough and when excess is accumulating. We may describe a person as being wishy washy meaning the mind moves around like water or an earthy or stable person meaning they have the qualities of earth.  


We recognize the doshas by their attributes. When there is excess or deficiency in the attributes then the same is for the doshasVata dosha has the qualities of air and space, so it is light, dry, cold, rough, subtle and mobile. The attributes of vata are dry, light and mobile. In nature the force of air is the wind which is the principle of propulsion. Air is stimulated by movement and fluctuation, therefore vata is described as “That which Moves.” Vata resides in the empty spaces in the body such as the colon and the pores of the bones. 


We talk about the “seat “ of the doshas meaning each has a primary and secondary site in specific parts of the body. Vata is in the colon and located in the thighs, hips, ears, bones and sensory organs of hearing and touching. Each dosha has a role to play in the function of the body. Vata moves things, so it is the moving force behind the other two doshas. Its role in the body is the transportation of fluids e.g. air and food. It is the primary force in the nervous system governing sensory and motor orientation. 

The doshas are also in the mind. Vata in the mind is responsible for the transmission of information and it gives mental adaptability and comprehension. Disturbed Vata makes us forgetful, inconsistent and unable to concentrate. The True Natural State of Vata (Prakriti) Prakriti gives us our particular characteristics. Please review the video on “States of the Doshas” on the physical health page. Prakriti is what we are born with and is determined by the prakriti  of our parents. We each have a unique combination of Vata Pitta and Kapha and it is the same throughout life and gives us our physical and psychological characteristics.  It is like an energy form of DNA, you are what you are throughout life and it does not change.There is questionnaire on the Physical Health Page where you can determine your own true nature.

Vata characteristics in people make them tall and thin, they tend to be not very strong and have poor endurance, They tend to have a low body weight and are underdeveloped. Vata people are much more fragile both in mind and body. People with dominant vata tend to have a variable digestion and metabolism and have poor resistance to disease. They are disturbed by changes in the weather and feel the cold, but don’t like hot and windy conditions either. Vata is responsible for nervousness and sensitivity as well as enthusiasm and creativity. There is a questionnaire on the Physical Health Page where you can determine your own true nature.

Vata also has a variable state which is covered in videos and blogs on the Physical Health Page on VATA AGGRAVATION. When you go to an ayurvedic doctor or practitioner they will read the pulse. They are not checking your heart rate like an allopathic doctor, but are determining two things. One is your true nature or prakriti and the other is the disturbances of the doshas or the state of the doshas the time of examination.  This is called Vikriti or the aggravation of the doshas. 

Doshas Video

Everybody has a unique combination of the five elements in the body which are called “Doshas" Vata Pitta Kapha. They must be kept balanced, when they are aggravated they cause disease. This and videos & blogs can be viewed at According to Ayurveda & Yoga - Physical Health.



According To Ayurveda & Yoga - Ann Holaday

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