Ayurveda seeks health through understanding how to bring one’s constitution to a state of homeostasis, through the energetic alchemy of the five elements or energies.
These five elements reduce down to three Body/Mind types or Constitutions – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. An excess of any element can create a blemish or imbalance in the body/mind. The term Dosha literally means blemish. When used appropriately, one element can help correct the imbalance of another. This is the art of alchemy and when mixed with the transformative process of digestion, the journey to a state of balance in body, mind and spirit can begin.
Vata is a combination of the air and ether elements. In the body/mind, Vata is the force that governs all bodily movement. This includes oxygenation, catabolism and the breakdown of matter into energy. The seat of vata is in the colon. Vata also regulates the nervous system, brain, ears, bones, joints and skin.
People whose primary nature is Vata are blessed with creative, active and flexible minds. They have a thin lean body structure, are very talkative, like to move and be active and have irregularity in appetite and digestion.
The qualities of Vata include dry, light, mobile, rough, subtle and clear. When the qualities of Vata become out of balance, Vata types experience fear, restlessness, insecurity, loneliness, nervousness, and anxiety. Some of the imbalances associated with Vata include brittle bones, gas, constipation, insomnia, nervous system disorders, and aches and pain.
During the late fall and winter seasons, Vatas will tend toward dryness and aggravation.
Pitta is a combination of the fire and water elements. In the body/mind, Pitta is the force that governs transformation. This includes metabolism and digestion on the cellular and gross level. The primary seat of Pitta is in the small intestine. Pitta also resides in the eyes, blood, stomach and liver.
People whose primary nature is Pitta are blessed with a sharp intelligence, strong willpower, feel that they are “always right” and have strong gut feelings. They have a medium body structure, like to organize, lead, gather knowledge, manage and be in control and generally have a hunger that is sharp and urgent.
The qualities of Pitta include hot, light, oily, sharp, liquid and mobile. When the qualities of Pitta become out of balance, Pitta types experience aggravation, anger, criticism, perfectionism and jealousy. Some of the imbalances associated with Pitta include fevers, inflammatory diseases, jaundice, acid indigestion, loose bowels, ulcers and rashes.
Summer is the season associated with heat and fire.
Kapha is a combination of the water and earth elements. In the body/mind, Kapha is the force that governs all secretions/lubrications and cohesion or form in the body. Kapha literally holds the body together, giving shape and form, and aiding growth and development. The primary seat of Kapha is in the stomach. Kapha also resides in the lungs, throat, head, pancreas, lymph, fat, nose and tongue.
People whose primary nature is Kapha are blessed with compassion, strength, balance, forgiveness and being grounded. They have strong sturdy physical structures, good long-term memory, slow to move and talk, can miss meals without losing energy, don’t like to exercise, don’t like change and accumulate weight and wealth.
The qualities of Kapha are cold, slow, cloudy, sticky, heavy, unctuous, stable and dense. When the qualities of Kapha become out of balance, Kapha types experience lethargy, greed, possessiveness, depression and attachment. Some of the imbalances associated with Kapha include obesity, tumors, cysts, congestion, weight gain, diabetes, asthma and depression.
Late winter and spring are the seasons associated with earth and water.