Updated: Mar 23
The popularity of alternative medicine continues to increase as people seek more holistic ways to improve or maintain their physical, mental, and spiritual health. Ayurveda, which is an alternative medicine practice with roots in India for more than five centuries, has been shown to help treat and prevent a variety of illnesses, ranging from chronic pain and inflammation to anxiety and stress.
A core concept to Ayurveda is the existence of doshas. In this article, you’ll learn about what doshas are, how they work, and how this concept is viewed in Ayurveda to help people achieve improved overall health and well-being.
What are doshas?
The Sanskrit term doshas, meaning “that which can cause problems”, refers to the energies believed to circulate inside our bodies. In the holistic practice of ayurveda, doshas are the energies in control of how our body functions. Ayurvedic medicine helps people maintain and recover good health by balancing these doshas using techniques such as yoga, reiki, and breathwork.
How many doshas do you have?
There are officially three doshas in ayurveda—vata, pitta, and kapha. Each dosha is connected to a different element and controls different aspects of our physiology and personalities. Everybody is thought to have a unique Ayurvedic constitution (that is, a unique composition of each dosha), with one type as the dominant dosha.
There are five elements in the world—air, earth, space, water, and fire. Each dosha is connected to a different set of elements. The vata dosha is connected to space and air. Likewise, people with the vata doshas are typically light and airy, believed to have high levels of energy and creativity, but having their mood and appetites easily influenced by their environment.
Pitta is the fire and water dosha. People associated primarily with this dosha are typically strong and athletic leaders who may be prone to conflict, inflammation, and hot environmental factors. By contrast, people with the water and earth dosha kapha are calm and supportive, although they tend to struggle with weight gain, slow metabolism, and depression.
Can you be all three (3) doshas?
As mentioned before, everybody has all three doshas although one of the doshas presents as the dominant type. But it is possible for people to present two dominant doshas (bidoshas). It is possible to equally present all three doshas (sama or tridosha), however, this is the most rare presentation of doshas.
How do I know if I have a dosha imbalance?
Symptoms of poor health and illness can be tied back to a dosha imbalance. Dosha imbalances can manifest as skin issues, digestive issues, unpleasant moods, poor mental health, and more.
For example, signs of a vata imbalance include weight loss, constipation, dry skin, and anxiety. Someone with a kapha imbalance may experience weight gain, water retention, depression, lethargy, and fatigue. A pitta imbalance may include indigestion, painful menstrual cramps, anger and irritability, and high body odor.
You can see from the examples above how a dosha imbalance intuitively connects with the concept of the elements the doshas represent, in addition to the body functions they are believed to control.
How do you keep your dosha balanced?
To keep your doshas balanced, you would need to understand your own dosha composition and then develop a strategy using Ayurveda techniques to address your specific needs. While practicing Ayurveda techniques is good for your overall health and wellness, it may be difficult to determine which are best for your own dosha balance.
Coming up with an effective and personalized Ayurveda strategy is best accomplished with the help of an experienced practitioner. At Ollovus, we can connect you with Ayurveda experts across the US. Using the Ollovus app, you can easily identify a good match for you, and schedule to meet with them virtually or for an in-person consultation.
By now, you’re probably already feeling connected to one of these doshas, or maybe still just brainstorming your own Ayurvedic constitution. How do you plan on using your awareness of doshas in Ayurveda to improve your overall health and well being? Comment below and let us know!