What are doshas that Ayurveda talks about? The word dosha means “energy” in Sanskrit and is referring to the three energy types in nature based on the 5 elements and their characteristics. Vata dosha is governed by Air and Space elements; Pitta by Fire and Water and Kapha by Earth and Water. Using a bit of creativity on how these three main elements Air, Fire and Earth would act if they were humans and what kind of characteristics they would bear being of human nature, you could easily tune into finding these dominating energies in humans as well as generally in nature, and understanding when this energy becomes in excess, or in other words triggering the imbalance.

Vata – governed by Air (and Space) elements and the typical characteristics of Air of being cold, fast moving, very unpredictable and quick to change. People dominating by Vata dosha are with the same qualities – fast in movements and thoughts, have multiple ideas and plans in their head that are in constant change, have above average creativity. They physical body is often lean and tall and because of the dryness of the air, the hair, nails and skin are always in lack of moisture. If it however becomes too much of these energies, the quick thoughts in head tend to get the speed of an unstoppable tornado, none of the multiple plans and ideas become a reality, the thoughts produce millions of “what if” scenarios, and the person can develop anxiety, insomnia etc. 

Pitta – dominated by Fire (and Water) energies is “hot tempered”, sharp in actions and words, precise and direct. The fire in them is the fuel to high level ambitions, determination, entrepreneurialism, competitiveness. When the fire takes the measures of a bonfire, the negative strong emotions of anger, frustration, irritation take quickly over. Pitta dominant people tend to be with average body structure and with sensitive skin which sometimes is prone to breakouts, has problems with pigmentation, and does not tolerate well sources of excess heat (sauna, hot sun).

Kapha – the nest of Earth (and Water) energies, is the symbol for calmness, slowness, stability and being grounded. In many ways it is the balancing power with its heaviness for too much Vata which in excess tends to “fly” away and with its cooling qualities to Pitta, which tends to “burn down anything on its way”.  When in balance a Kapha empathy and lovingness wrapped in a layer of calmness radiates far, attracting many to pour their heart to a Kapha person. When however out of balance the tiredness and slowness take over, making a Kapha lethargic and sleepy being who rejects all change and is hard to get out of the comfort zone and get inspired. In this lethargic state a Kapha person easily puts on weight and develops an oily skin and “greasy” looking hair.

Just like in humans, these dominating elements of Air, Fire and Earth or which energies (Vata, Pitta or Kapha) are present in everything around us. Could you guess which of them are dominating in the following foods?

Bell-pepper

Correct! Wrong!

Fire element makes it hot and spicy.

Cucumber

Correct! Wrong!

Earth and Water, as it is rich in water and is cooling.

Muesli

Correct! Wrong!

As muesli is very dry and “rough”, it is Vata.

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