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Ayurveda: The Three Doshas

The three doshas of Ayurvedic practice, vata, pitta, and kapha have particular qualities or attributes which characterize their effects on the human body. People remain healthy as long as the doshas are in a state of balance or equilibrium within the body.

The body has the capacity to overcome minor disturbances in the equilibrium of the doshas, but if the equilibrium is disturbed too greatly, the body then succumbs to disease and decay.

Though everyone's body contains all three doshas, generally, one or two of the doshas will predominate in an individual, leading to the categorization of people as different Ayurvedic body types, for example, Vata-Pitta, Kapha, or Pitta-Kapha, etc.

Detailed accounts of the actions of the doshas within the human body are found throughout the Ayurvedic literature and are used by the Ayurvedic practitioner as an integrated part of a holistic modeling system for keeping the human being in optimum health.

Some characteristics of the doshas are briefly presented here for educational purposes only and are not intended for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. If you are concerned about a specific medical condition, we suggest you consult a qualified medical expert.

Vata is notably:
Cold - tendency to cold hands and feet; a dislike of cold climate
dot Moving - giving good or bad circulation depending on balance
dot Quick - ability to pick up new information, quickly forgotten
dot Dry - tendency to dry skin, dry hair, dull eyes, moderate sweating.
dot Rough - with tendency to rough skin, and coarse hair

Everything that moves, from a molecule to a thought, moves because of vata, and every motion of any kind influences every other motion, according to the law of like and unlike.*

Pitta is notably:
dot Hot - tendency to warm, flushed skin, inflamation or overactive metabolism
dot Sharp - in mind and speech
dot Moist - perspiration may be profuse
dot Sour - bad breath and sour body odor if excess Pitta is present

Pitta is in charge of all transformation in the organism. Digestion of food by the gut, of light by the eyes and of sensory data by the brain are examples of pitta's activities.*

Kapha is notably:
dot Heavy - any heavy disorder suggests Kapha imbalance, whether obesity, or a heavy, oppressive kind of depression
dot Sweet - leading to weight gain or diabetes if too much sweetness is added to the body
dot Steady - self-contained. Body processes do not swing to the extremes
dot Soft - such as soft skin and hair, soft manners, a soft look in the eyes and an undemanding approach to situations
dot Slow - slow movement, deliberate thinking

Kapha is the stabilizing influence in the living being. it lubricates, maintains and contains, and its various activities, like those of vata and pitta, are interrelated.*

* Excerpts from Ayurveda: Life, Health and Longevity by Robert E. Svoboda
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