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What are the Doshas in Ayurveda?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 07 September 2016
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Doshas in ayurveda are believed to be the three types of energy that work together to contribute to healthy physical and mental functioning. The three doshas in Ayurveda are usually called vata, pitta, and kapha, and they may be associated with one or more of the natural elements. One, two, or all three doshas may dominate a person's physical constitution in equal measure. Most people are believed to have only one dominant dosha, but it is considered possible to have two or even three dominant doshas.

The doshas in ayurveda are believed to have a significant effect on physical constitution. A person's dominant dosha can influence every element of his constitution from body type, to preferences for cold or hot weather, to most likely health problems. Practitioners of ayurvedic medicine often recommend special dietary and lifestyle considerations to help balance the dosha energies within the body and optimize health.

People with dominant vata energy are often very slight in build, and may have dry hair, skin, and nails. They may need more than the average recommended amount of daily sleep. They can be restless and anxious, and may bore easily. While creative and intelligent, they may have trouble concentrating.

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Practitioners of ayurvedic medicine believe that the patient's dominant dosha determines what health problems he is most likely to develop. Ayurvedic practitioners typically associate vata energy with the natural element air. People with dominant vata energy are therefore considered more vulnerable to lung conditions and anxiety disorders.

People with dominant pitta energy are generally of average physical build. They are usually intelligent and have few problems concentrating. They are believed to have good appetites and good digestion. Dominant pitta energy is said to make one fond of cool weather, and vulnerable to sunburn and heat-related sicknesses. Dominant pitta energy is said to contribute to a volatile temperament.

Ayurvedic practitioners typically associate pitta energy with the natural elements water and fire. People with dominant pitta energy are believed more vulnerable to liver diseases, fever, and inflammatory conditions.

People with dominant kapha energy are believed to be strong, large and exceptionally healthy. They are believed to be calm and understanding in temperament. Ayurvedic practitioners believe that kapha energy is associated with the natural elements earth and water. Dominant kapha energy can therefore increase the likelihood of colds, flus, and water-retentive disorders. Weight gain and the conditions associated with obesity may also be more likely in these types.

Practitioners believe that determining a patient's dominant dosha or doshas in Ayurveda is critical to the diagnostic process. Ayurvedic practitioners typically believe that health problems occur with abnormal imbalances in the patient's natural dosha energies. Bringing these energies back into balance is believed key to managing and treating disease.

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