We refer to these categories as the TriDosha: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Tri is three and Dosha is organization. When in balance the Doshas bind the five elements into living flesh and sustain and maintain our harmonious psychophysiology. When out of balance, they bring harm, imbalance, disease, or “vitiate” the body and mind.
- Vata is that which relates to Ether and Air and energetically moves and causes movement, is dry, light, sharp, cold, rough, hard, mobile, subtle and clear. Vata primarily resides in the Colon and is responsible for the downward force of evacuation, and is the force that moves the other two doshas. Vata is the force that moves the blood through the body, the air in our lungs, the thoughts in our minds and the emotions in our heart; vata is ingestion and movement. Vata is always present in all of us, and the extent to which it is present determines our state of mind and body. Emotionally Vata promotes creativity and flexibility, out of balance it creates fear, anxiety and abnormal movements like spasms or abnormal muscle movements.
- Pitta is that which relates to Fire and Water and energetically transforms or digests all incoming sensory input and food. It is light, sharp, hot, oily, dry, smooth or slimy, liquid, mobile, subtle and clear. Pitta lives in the eyes, brain, stomach, liver and skin and is that which takes what Vata has brought in and moved and transforms it through digestion into our understanding, nutrition and awareness. Pitta is essential for the processing of our lives, from the food we eat into nutrition, to the information we take in and the experiences we have. Pitta in the mind enables us to learn, absorb, retain and discard information and experiences. Pitta in the body metabolizes food and any substances into proper nutrition, assimilation, elimination and storage. We are consuming as long as we are awake, through the 5 sense organs, so everything we see, smell, hear, taste and touch must be digested, Pitta transforms all. Emotionally Pitta promotes understanding and intelligence while out of balance it creates anger, jealousy, hatred and inflammatory disorders.
- Kapha is that which relates to Earth and Water and energetically binds or holds together to form the container for our life. Kapha being of earth and water is like the clay pot that holds Vata and Pitta, and within that pot, vata moves and pitta transforms our entire life. Kapha is heavy, slow/dull or sluggish, cold or cool, oily, liquid, slimy or smooth, dense, soft, static, sticky, cloudy, hard, and gross as in dense. Kapha is the lubrication and structure, without which neither Vata or Pitta could exist, Kapha is the house that Vata moves around in and that Pitta activates in. Kapha is found throughout our body and mind, as in the synovial fluid in joints, the lubricating factor for our lungs to expand, the grey matter in our brain and the salivia in our mouths. Emotionally Kapha is love, calmness and forgiveness, out of balance it creates attachment, greed, possessiveness and mucus or congestive disorders.
Ayurveda recognizes that each of us is a unique combination of the Tridosha along with our unique mind makeup of karmas and samskaras, which are the patterns, habits and underlying tendencies we were born with and have developed throughout our lifetimes. There is no such thing as “the average” in Ayurveda, and once you begin to understand your unique nature, you will be able to individuate your lifestyle practices to completely support you!
You begin to take full control of your body and mind and a feeling of well being, hopefulness, happiness and stability penetrates your heart and soul, that, regardless of the chaos surrounding you, you will remain steady, calm, energized, healthy, prosperous and loving. This is the gift of Ayurveda, available now from the ancients.