What are the Different Ayurvedic Body Types?

B. Schreiber

The three main ayurvedic body types are known as kapha, pitta, and vata. Ayurvedic body types describe mental features as well as physical and can be labeled as a single type or combination. Kapha types tend to gain weight more readily and have a more relaxed attitude, but are also noted for strength and energy. Vata types have a thin build, may have difficulty gaining weight or muscle, and tend to have nervous or irregular energy. Pitta types have a medium build and are considered to have strong appetites and drive.

Kapha body types may gain weight more readily.
Kapha body types may gain weight more readily.

The basic body types of kapha, pitta, and vata are known as doshas. Ayurveda considers all people to have a measure of each dosha, as each is necessary for life. Vata is associated with movement and also with freely using energy. Kapha is characterized by stability and conserving or storing energy. The pitta aspect is linked to heat, metabolism, and digestion.

There are specific yoga poses that benefit each of the three main Ayurvedic body types.
There are specific yoga poses that benefit each of the three main Ayurvedic body types.

The kapha dosha is considered responsible for structure in all the ayurvedic body types. When it is the main or dominant dosha in one individual, that person is said to be a kapha type. In addition to having a strong build, their tendency to conserve energy makes them easygoing individuals. The kapha nature is also considered cool, slow, and graceful. While people in which kapha dominates tend to be slow learners, their ability to retains things also gives them a good memory.

The pitta dosha is associated with heat and by extension with metabolism and motivation. This dosha is responsible for appetites in general for all ayurvedic body types, and pitta types have the strongest hungers. People in which pitta is dominant tend to have average physical characteristics and sharp minds. Their intelligence may make them good communicators, but their intensity is thought to be make them impatient and sometimes quick to anger. Pitta types may be less stable than kapha people, but are more balanced than vata types.

As vata is associated with movement, this type is considered to be light and quick, but also to have irregular energy. The tendency toward movement can also make them impulsive or even erratic. Of all the ayurvedic body types, they tend to lose weight more easily and have difficulty maintaining muscle mass. Their restlessness is thought to contribute to their light sleep and more frequent insomnia.

Ayurvedic body types also occur in combination, which include vata-pitta, kapha-pitta, and vata-kapha. In people marked by two types, one may be stronger than the other. Each dosha is also associated with certain health conditions, such as weight gain for kapha or sleeplessness for vata. Even in people of other types, the specific dosha is still considered to be responsible, as all people have each dosha to some extent.

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Discussion Comments


@burcinc-- Yea, I think we are born with one of these body types as the dominant one. Or maybe, two of them may be both dominant.

The only time people try to balance it out is if the dominance of one body type is causing a health problem. Like if kapha is too dominant, that person might become overweight or obese. Then, they will need to seek some ayurvedic treatment to bring it back into balance.


Since the three types have specific physical characteristics, does this mean that genetics determines which type we are?

Also, are we supposed to try and balance out all three doshas in ourselves since we have some of each? Because if we have too much of one dosha, it means there is an imbalance right?

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