The 3 doshas, or mind-body types, form the foundation of the ancient holistic health system of Ayurveda. Taking a very personalized approach to health and wellness, each person has a dominant dosha that characterizes their body type, ideal diet, and physical and mental processes.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is an ancient system of holistic health dating back about five thousand years. The two main principles of Ayurveda are:
- The mind and body are intricately connected
- The mind is the most powerful tool we have to heal and transform the body
This intimate mind-body connection is unique to every person and in Ayurveda, every thought, feeling, and emotion we experience has a corresponding event in our bodies. For example, when you are happy and elated, your body will trigger the release of neurotransmitters and hormones, like dopamine and serotonin.
According to Ayurvedic principles, your unique mind-body connection, including your physical and emotional characteristics, is determined the minute you are born. Your mind-body type is represented by one of 3 doshas. These doshas represent biological energies that are found in every human body and provide a blueprint on how to live a healthy and balanced life.
Which of the 3 Doshas are You?
The 3 doshas are dynamic energies within each of us and they change in response to our actions, thoughts, emotions, and even the food we eat. The 3 doshas are:
Each dosha is dictated by two of the five master elements: space, air, water, fire, and earth. Each of us is born with all of these master elements, but we all have a dominant element profile, leading each person to have a dominant dosha.
- Vata: air and space
- Pitta: fire and water
- Kapha: water and earth
These elements have their own characteristics and makeup everything inside and outside of our bodies.
- Space: pure potential
- Air: movement and change
- Fire: hot, direct, and transformational
- Water: cohesive and protective
- Earth: solid, grounded, and stable.
While we each have a dominant one, we carry all 3 doshas in our bodies. The goal in Ayurveda is to ensure that all three are in equilibrium, based on your dosha profile. Your dosha determines various characteristics of your personality and your physical and emotional traits.
- Vata Dosha: Made up of space and air, the vata dosha is dominated by characteristics of movement and change including blood circulation and breathing. Vata characteristics are dry, light cool, subtle, and mobile. Vata’s are full of energy and always on the go. They prefer warmer environments and love the energy they get from new adventures. Vatas do best with exercises that are slow and calculated such as tai chi, hiking, and aerobics. When in balance, vata’s will exhibit creativity and vitality. However, when out of balance, this vata personality will be anxious and fearful.
Are you a vata? Head here to learn more about this dosha.
- Pitta Dosha: Dominated by fire and water, the pitta dosha represents people with a fiery personality. Pitta’s have great metabolisms and strong digestive systems. Pitta personalities manifest as competitive and confident with great leadership and management skills. Pitta’s love to exercise and movement is great for them as an outlet for their competitive nature. Because this dosha is associated with water, Pitta’s love water sports. When in balance, pitta dosha people are content and exhibit intelligence. But, when out of balance, anger can lead to ulcers.
Are you a pitta? Head here to learn more about this dosha.
- Kapha Dosha: Derived from water and earth, people who represent the kapha dosha often have a calm temperament. Their energy controls growth in the body and maintains the immune system. Kaphas are normally strong and have great stamina, and therefore do very well at endurance sports such as rowing, cycling, running, and swimming. Kaphas look to maintain peace and harmony in their relationships, jobs, and home and office environments. When in balance, kapha doshas exude love. However, when out of balance, kaphas will exhibit envy and insecurity.
Are you a kapha? Head here to learn more about this dosha.
What dosha are you? The best way to find your dosha is to take a questionnaire and we recommend this one from Holistic Online. Knowing your dosha will help you make the right lifestyle and diet decision to keep your dosha in balance.