Understanding the Health Trident: Vaata, Pitta and Kapha

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Understanding the Health Trident: Vaata, Pitta and Kapha

Understanding the Health Trident: Vaata, Pitta and Kapha

Understanding the Health Trident: Vaata, Pitta and Kapha
Image credit: By Krishnavedala [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Ayurveda, the ancient science of healing the body and mind, defines doshas as the biological energies which govern the physical, mental and emotional constitution of a human being. Tridoshas refer to the three natural phenomenon- Vaata, Pitta and Kapha, on which the overall health and well-being of an individual rests. Not only this, these doshas determine the inherent qualities of people.

For instance, there are people who are hyperactive and others who are calm, some of us are ever smiling while others have to combat the demons of depression. Tridoshas are the key which unlock the quest of human health and character, and understanding these can be an enlightening experience.

Let’s start this fruitful journey that would lead us on the path of good health and fulfillment.

Understanding the Basics

Before learning more about the individual of the tridoshas, it is essential to go through the basics. Ayurveda says that the universe and all that exists in it, including humans, is based upon five building blocks, the elements of earth, fire, water, air and space.

Doshas are a combination of these elements and a balance between the tridoshas defines a state of optimal health (prakruti), while one will have to encounter disease when the balance goes out of equilibrium (vikruti). Every human being’s personality is the combination of the three doshas and one of these can be predominant in them (and have an influence on their personality).

Ayurveda endeavors to restore the equilibrium and harmonize the doshas to make one healthy and fulfilled.

Vaata: Space and Air

Made of space and air, Vaata is the most important of the tridoshas as it governs all movement and biological energy in the human body. Processes such as breathing, muscular movements, nerve impulses, blood circulation, assimilation of food and elimination are influenced by Vaata. In fact, this is the dosha which gives motion to the other two doshas, Pitta and Kapha.

A vaata dominant personality will be light, quick, creative, versatile and full of enthusiasm. They are of a slim built, have a delicate digestion and dry skin/hair. They love to communicate as well as enjoy change (as in travel). Such people have a tendency towards mood swings and day dreaming. Also, sleeping soundly, gaining weight and sticking to something comes hard for these people. They enjoy careers that involve creativity, movement and communication.

The qualities of Vaata doshas are light, airy, quick, dry and cold and a Vaata person exhibits these as a part of his natural constitution, balanced or imbalanced. In a balanced state, these individuals are creative, adaptable and possess excellent communication skills.

On the other hand, when the dosha becomes imbalanced, they can be afflicted with anxiety and fear, while physical disorders such as constipation and skin dryness may also be manifested.

Pitta: Fire and Water

Pitta is the dosha which combines the qualities of fire and water, making it the governor of digestion, metabolism and body temperature. It carries out these functions through internal substances such as digestive enzymes, organic acids and hormones.

It is responsible for generating heat and energy in the body by breakdown of complex food molecules and their transformation into energy. The dosha has the element of heat as it is made of fire, and at the same time, it is liquid, which is the characteristic of water, the other element which constitutes it.

A pitta predominant person is fiery, competitive, intellectual and sharp. They have a muscular built, with sensitive skin prone to burns and freckles. Such people love eating and are blessed with strong digestion. They are passionate and give their best to achieve anything they set their eyes on. Perfectionism is another trait of their personality. Pitta people are suited for careers which involve intellect ane leadership.

Pitta dosha is hot, sharp, liquid, acidic and sour and these qualities are a part of his physical and mental makeup of a Pitta individual. A balanced one is blessed with a sharp intellect, inborn courage and a joyful disposition.

Conversely, when this dosha goes out of equilibrium, the person can become hot tempered, egoistic and overbearing. Physical diseases such as rashes, heartburn, ulcers, fever and inflammation may crop up.

Kapha: Earth and Water

Made up of earth and water, Kapha dosha provides lubrication for the smooth and efficient functioning of various body parts. The dosha is associated with cooling body fluids such as water, lymph and mucus and performs the tasks of lubricating the joints, giving bulk to the tissues and storage of energy.

A person who is dominated by kapha dosha is sweet, supportive and dependable, with a happy and down-to-earth disposition. They have a large built, with soft, oil skin, thick hair ad lustrous eyes. Such people can be slow to start a thing, but can exhibit great endurance once they get on with them.

Slow digestion and tendency towards congestion can be some problems they may come across. Professions which involve patience and supportiveness are suitable for these people.

The qualities of this dosha are cold, moist, dull, heavy, soft and sticky. A balanced kapha individual depicts the positive aspect of these qualities, such as love, forgiveness and patience. On the negative side, an imbalance in kapha dosha can make him greedy, depressed, attached and lethargic.

The physical diseases associated with its imbalance are heaviness of body and mind as in obesity and mucus related disorders such as sinus congestion.

Balancing the Tridoshas: Unlocking the Door to Good Health

Every person is born with the tridoshas in an optimal proportion, which defines his prakruti, a state of optimal health. Tridoshas are dynamic energies which are tipped off-balance due to unhealthy dietary habits and poor lifestyle, leading to compromise in physical, mental and emotional well-being.

The doshas can either become increased (known as vriddhi) or decreased (known as kasaya), both leading to ill-health. Restoration of this balance, which involves taking the person back to his natural constitution, is the solution to reach a state of good health.

Identifying your constitution or the dosha proportion is the first step towards the goal of bringing them back to the state of equilibrium. Lifestyle management and following a stringent nutritional protocol are the next steps that need to be taken.

One has to take healthy, natural and well-balanced diet at the right time to achieve a balance between the doshas. The principle of “Unlike balances Like” applies to maintaining tridoshic balance, and one should manage the diet accordingly. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with work-life balance and stress-free routine is a way to harmonize the doshas.

Holistic therapies such as yoga, meditation can also make a huge difference.