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Hey, What's Your Dosha?

Updated on December 26, 2015

The Dosha

There are three Dosha the Vata, the Pitta and the Kapha within the practice of Ayurveda. These principles cover the three main parts of the body's energies. These are impulse, energy and bodily fluids. They move with the five elements that make up the universe these elements are Akasha, Vayu, Agni, Apu and Prithvi or space, air, fire, water and earth respectively. These elements also make up the human physiology and therefore are effected and part of the there Doshas.

The Three Doshas are formed from a combination of two elements each. The Vata or impulse principle is made up from space and air. The Pitta, or energy principle is made up of fire and water and the Kapha Dosha, which makes up the bodily fluids principle is made up of water and earth.

These three main Doshas are then separated into five sub doshas. These Doshas work together to control and coordinate all the aspects of biological functions within the human body. The combination of Doshas that you inherit at conception is called the original constitution within the practice of Ayurveda. Another name for this is Prakriti. The combination can be made of equal or almost equal proportions of the Doshas or one can have a predominant Dosha. The standard or most common though is to have two, which are more dominant, and one that is less dominate.

The Combinations

There are ten major combinations that these three can make which form the ten classical types of Prakriti. These are listed from most dominate to least dominate. The types are Vata-Pitta-Kapha, Vata-Pitta, Pitta-Vata, Vata-Kapha, Kapha-Vata, Pitta-Kapha and Kapha-Pitta, and then the three Vata, Pitta, Kapha that form highly dominate traits rather than a more balanced combination.

Each person has their own unique print, similar to a thumbprint that an Ayurvedic healer can identify and then use to not only find imbalances, which are, cause the diseases and illnesses but also to develop a treatment plan that is individually designed. Everything you do in your life from dietary choices to lifestyle choices can affect the balance of the Doshas within the body.

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Finding out what your Dosha is:

There are a few ways to find out what your Dosha make up is, the first is to go to an Ayurveda practitioner, if one is available and have them tell you based on the practices what your Dosha profile is. There are also some general profiles that fit within certain types of Dosha; this means that if you fit within a certain set of criteria naturally, chances are that is your primary Dosha.


This Dosha as mentioned earlier is made up of two elements space and air. The characteristics found with Vata are, Dry and rough, cool, lacking weight, very tiny, penetrating molecules, constantly moving, broad, unlimited, unbound. People with Vata as a dominate Dosha tend to be thin, delicate with dry skin and hair. They also are quick, lively constantly speaking or moving and they tend to be very friendly. They are also usually creative, enthusiastic, prefer warmer environments and then to be light sleepers. There are five sub doshas for Vata these are Prana, Udana, Vyana, Samana and Apana each handle a different area of the body.


This Dosha is created through the elements of fire and water. Pitta is described as hot, sharp, burning, liquid and acidic, always flowing, pungent. It is like fuel; something that is not hot when touched but can quickly become a fire. Individuals who have dominate Pitta in their constitution are going to tend to be of a medium build, they will have warmer skin tones, and usually have fine hair. They carry a sharp tone usually edged with determination or purpose. They tend to be highly ambitious, moderate sleepers and prefer cooler temperatures. They also tend to be business or entrepreneurial oriented. The five sub doshas are Alochaka, Bhrajaka, Sadhaka, Pachaka, and Ranjaka.


Kapha is made up of the two elements of water and earth. The characteristics of the Kapha Dosha are heavy, since both water and earth are considered heavy elements, cold, soft, unctuous, lubricating, sweet, stable, and slippery and protection or immunity. People who are dominated by Kapha in their constitutions are going to tend to have a robust figure, smooth skin that tends to be thick. Skin and hair tend to lean towards being oily and hair may be wavy. They also tend to be stable, calm both in speech and in thought. They are loyal, steady and supportive. They sleep usually heavily and for longer periods. They also tend to be very sweet natured and uncomfortable in environments that may be damp or clammy. The five sub-doshas for Kapha are Shleshaka, Tarpaka, Avalambaka, Bodhaka and Kledaka.

Not everyone will experience all of these traits of having a dominate Dosha. Since people are made up of combinations of Dosha, it is not uncommon for there to be cross characteristics. However, if a person exhibits a large number of characteristics from two of the Doshas it is a good bet that one is primary and the other is secondary in dominance leaving the third Dosha as the submissive Dosha within the set.

Knowing if you are out of balance

An imbalance in the characteristics, which make up the Dosha that is dominate to you is a good way to know if you are in or out of balance. An overabundance of particular characteristics within the Dosha set can be an indication that something is out of balance. If this is the case, there are dietary changes and medications offered through the Ayurveda practices that can bring the Dosha back into balance. Bringing the Dosha back into balance and maintaining that balance is the main objective behind the Ayurveda practice. A balanced constitution with all the Dosha balanced within the body is the key to not only long life but also a life full of health. It is when these elements are out of balance that illness and disease become apparent.

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