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Smiling for the Camera


Vata, Pitta and Kapha: Tridosha

Ayurveda groups the 5 Elements into three basic types of energy or functional principles, which are present in everyone and everything to varying degrees. These three doshas, or tridosha, are vata, pitta and kapha. The translation for dosha is “impurity”, “fault” or “mistake”, but a more accurate translation may be “organization”. According to Dr. Vasant Lad, a dosha is “that which becomes vitiated and then affects the bodily tissues, leading to disease.” Dosha also means three principles that govern mental and physical responses and pathological changes of the body.

Within our bodies, the doshas combine to give us a predominance of usually one or two of the doshas, but all of the doshas are present within us at all times.

Prakriti (constitution) is the combination of doshas that were present at our birth and remain with us for the rest of our lives. Vikriti is the present state of the three doshas. When the Prakriti and Vikriti of an individual are at the same levels, then that person is in balance. When the Vikriti does not match the Prakriti, the person is out of balance, which can lead to discomfort and disease.

Vata = energy of movement

Pitta = energy of transformation, digestion and metabolism

Kapha = energy of lubrication and structure.

Body, mind and consciousness work together to maintain balance.

Vata = Ether and air

Vah = vehicle, to carry or to move

Vata is the subtle energy associated with movement. When balanced, vata dosha promotes flexibility, joy and creativity. When out of balance, vata dosha creates fear, anxiety, insecurity, worry and abnormal movements. Vata dosha governs blinking, breathing, the pulsation of the heart, muscle and tissue movement, and all the movements within cells and in the cell walls.

Gunas (qualities) of Vata: Cold, light, dry, rough, subtle, mobile, clear

Colors: Brownish and blackish

Taste: Astringent

Characteristics of Vata:

Responsible for creativity, joy, happiness, sneezing, speech and elimination; in charge of prana (vital life force); in charge of Apana (downward flow of movement governing elimination of feces, urine, menstrual flow, semen and the downward movement of the fetus)

Physical: light, flexible bodies; big, protruding teeth; small, recessed, dry eyes; irregular appetite and thirst; often experience digestive and malabsorption issues; delicate in health; dry, kinky hair; tending toward constipation; light sleep; dark complexion, hair and eyes; fast walking and talking

Psychological: easily excited; alert and quick to act without much thinking; good imaginations; enjoy daydreaming; loving people; fear of darkness, heights and enclosed spaces; flexible in faith, but faith may not be long standing; like to move furniture or residences because bored; seek constant action; make good money, but spend it on trifles and have difficulty saving money; understands immediately and forgets immediately

Out of balance: Fear, insecurity, worry, anxiety, loneliness

Pitta = Fire and water

Tap = to heat, to be austere

Pitta is the dosha associated with metabolism. Pitta governs digestion, absorption, assimilation, nutrition and body temperature, as well as the digestion of thoughts, feeling and emotions. When in balance, pitta creates understanding, intelligence and courage. When out of balance, it promotes jealousy, anger, hatred, and inflammatory disorders.

Gunas (qualities) of Pitta: Hot, sharp, spreading, light, liquid, slightly oily, fleshy smell

Colors: Red and yellow

Taste: Pungent and bitter

Characteristics of Pitta:

Responsible for gastric fire, enzymes, amino acids, metabolism, neurotransmitters and neuropeptides involved in thinking, regulates body heat, appetite, vitality, learning, understanding

Physical: medium frame and weight; sensitive and reactive body; seldom gain or lose much weight, or they may fluctuate slightly up and down with weight; sharp, yellowish teeth; soft, perhaps bleeding gums; bright eyes that are sensitive to light; strong appetite and thirst; fine, thin hair, which often turns grey early in life or goes bald; sharp facial features; heart-shaped face; fair, shiny skin; tends toward loose, liquid stools; prone to rashes, acne, inflammation; soft, oily skin that reddens and flushes easily; soft, oily feces and hair; heartburn, acid stomach; fetid smell under armpits, feet and socks; strong constitution; longevity; strength

Psychological: excellent leaders; very disciplined; excellent capacity for learning, understanding, concentrating; blessed with wisdom; attached to principles, maybe to a point of fanaticism; may give a wrong answer with great confidence; love noble professions; make good money and spend it on luxuries; enjoys perfume and jewelry; intelligent

Out of balance: judgmental; critical; perfectionist; anger easily

Kapha = Water and earth

Ka = water; pha = flourish

Kapha forms the body’s structures and is the glue that holds the cells together. It supplies water to all of the systems, organs and cells of the body. Kapha maintains immunity, moisturizes the skin and lubricates the joints. Kapha in balance creates calmness, forgiveness, love and stability. When out of balance, it promotes attachment, possessiveness, greed and congestive disorders within the physical body.

Gunas (qualities): Heavy, slow, cool, oily, liquid, slimy, dense, soft, static, sticky, cloudy, hard, gross

Colors: White

Tastes: Sweet and salty

Characteristics of Kapha:

Responsible for all of our cells, tissues and organs; kapha molecules stick together; lubrication of joints and organs; strong muscles and bones; cellular secretions; memory retention

Physical: strong, large body frame; large, white eyes; strong teeth; thick, curly hair; thick, smooth, oily and hairy skin; steady appetite and thirst; slow digestion and metabolism; gain weight easily, and have difficulty shedding weight; cravings for sweet and salt lead to water retention; love eating, doing nothing and sleeping for long times

Psychological: deep, stable faith; loving and compassionate; calm, steady mind; good memory; deep melodious voice; monotonous pattern of speech; makes and saves money;

Out of balance: Greed; attachment; possessiveness; laziness


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