Updated: Nov 30
Ayurveda views life through the lens of the five elements: air, ether, fire, water, and earth. These elements are combined into three pairs called the doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Did you know you are comprised of all three doshas? Read on to learn more!
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Discovering Your Ayurvedic Dosha Type: Understanding Vata, Pitta, and Kapha
Let's explore the basic priniciples of the Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, knowns as the doshas. Dosha is a Sanskrit word that means to darken, accelerate aging, that which brings death.
In Ayurveda, we restore balance by bringing in the opposite qualities. For example, if there is excess movement (Vata)--you know the person next to you in the meeting whose leg is continusously rapidly bouncing up and down--balance is brought by grounding and soothing that excess movement.
If Pitta is out of balance, we cool it off. If Kapha is in excess, we invorgrate it. You get the picture.
How is that accomplished? Through Saumya Ayurveda's healing trifecta of food as medicine, plant medicine (herbs), and Ayurveda lifestyle practices.
What is Ayurveda? Key Ayurvedic Concepts
Ayurveda seeks to achieve an optimal energetic balance in the body and mind, so we are healthy and free to pursue our fullest spiritual lives. But what does that really mean?
Everything and everyone in the world around us is composed of five elements: air, fire, water, earth, and space. Ayurveda groups these elements into three basic energetic properties, known as doshas. These foundational energies (called Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) are the building blocks of our entire universe.
Vata: That Which Moves
1. Vata dosha is characterized by space and air. The essential engine of the universe, Vata governs all functions of movement within the mind, body, and outer world.
Qualities of Vata Dosha: Like the elements it embodies, Vata’s qualities are cold, dry, mobile, subtle, and light.
Vata’s powerful mobile nature is the source of creativity, expansion, openness, eagerness, and ingenuity. However, when Vata falls out of balance, we may feel scattered, ungrounded, tense, and anxious.
Main sites of Vata: Colon, pelvis, ears, bones, and touch.
Vata Traits: Thin body frame, hard to gain weight, dry, thin skin, dry, frizzy, thin hair, small eyes with fine lashes, and unique color, irregular appetite, irregular bowel movements and prone to constipation, scanty sweat, nervous, creative, energetic, difficulty making decision, quick learned quickly forgets, fast, high pitched, scattered speech, favors warm, moist climates, active and socially inclined, and for whom variety is the spice of life. Dislikes routine.
Explore: Vital Vata – Ayurveda Guide
2. Pitta: That Which Transforms
Fire and water combine to form Pitta dosha. A universal force of action/reaction, Pitta governs all transformations within the body and mind (think digesting thoughts, emotions, sunlight, and of course food).
Qualities of Pitta: Hot, light, sharp, oily, liquid, and spreading.
In balance, Pitta energy is ambitious, discerning, charismatic, strong-willed, and insightful. Out of balance, it sparks heat in the body and mind (such as inflammation, indigestion, heartburn, and fiery emotional responses like jealousy, criticism, and anger).
Main locations of Pitta: lower stomach and small intestines, blood, lymph (the bodies inner ocean), sweat, Kapha and eyes.
Pitta Traits: Medium body frame and tends to be muscular easily, easily gains weight and easily loses it, warm, oily, acne prone, freckled, skin that sunburns, straight, fine hair that may gray early, bight colored, almond shaped eyes with penetrating gaze, strong appetite, bowel movements are regular, loose and large, easily sweats and may be sour smelling, bright, intelligent, driven, arrogant, with a good sense of humor, highly articulate, decisive, clear speech, dislikes heat and humidity, competitive, intense, enjoys planning and organizing.
Explore: Pitta Dosha Guide
3. Kapha: That Which Protects
Kapha dosha is governed by water and earth. Nourishing and reliable, Kapha provides structure and stability in our inner and outer worlds.
Kapha Qualities: Like the elements it represents, Kapha physical properties are moist, heavy, slow (or dullish), cool, stable, oily, and smooth.
Balanced Kapha supports grounded endurance, strength, and dependability. It protects critical systems from our immune system and personal boundaries down to our stomach lining and the fluid in our joints. Out of balance, Kapha manifests as physical and mental “dullness.” We may put on a few extra pounds, or feel weighed down, lethargic, foggy, or depressed.
Main sites of Kapha: respiratory system (chest, lungs, throat, sinuses), head, pancreas, upper half of the stomach, lymph, and fat.
Kapha Traits: Strong, curvy, broad frame, easily gains weight and it's hard to lose it, cool, fair, thick, oily, smooth and soft skin, thick, wavy, oily hair, big, ground eyes with thick eyelashes (the kind we all want!), consistent appetite, bowel movement is slow, regular, moderate sweat, calm, stable, steady, grounded, stubborn (hard to budge), tendency to be inactive, learns slowly and retains information well, speech is slow, deep, melodious, enjoys dry and warm weather. calm, casual, easy going, enjoys the stability of routine.
Explore : Guide to Kapha
Which is my Dosha? Why am I more confused after taking a dosha quiz?
All three doshas are present in everyone, it is a matter to what degree. Picture a bar graph. We all have three bars, but how high each bar is different for each person. What's more is that the doshic bar graph moves depending on where we live, the season, stage of life and our current condition.
We are even influenced by the time of day. Now picture that doshas are not static, they are energy and as such, they are dynamic. This is why the dosha quizzed tend to leave most people confused and understandably so.
"By assessing correctly, the dance of the doshas, a targeted Ayurveda plan is created for you. It is the specificity of Ayurveda that provides clients so often with delightfully quick and lasting outcomes."
-Veena, Saumya Ayurveda
So, you’ve taken an online Ayurvedic dosha quiz, and found yourself more confused than ever. Pitta-dominant? Tri-dosha? Just wait a minute –read here, What is Ayurveda? A Beginner's Guide and Beyond.
Common Vata Imbalances:
30 Signs of Vata Imbalances
Dry skin, hair, lips, joints
Dry digestive tract: gas, bloat, constipation
Dry, scanty, irregular periods, or absent flow.
When your period is present, imbalanced Vata manifests as anxiety, insomnia, sharp or stinging cramps, and blood discoloration
General sense of feeling cold, hands and feet especially
Tight muscles, twitches, muscle spasms and feeling clenched
Tics and tremors
Aches and pains here, there, and everywhere at times
Weight loss, difficulty gaining weight, and weight loss and hair loss
Fidgeting or other extra movement
Dislike of cold and wind
Difficulty with loud noises
Light, interrupted sleep
Difficulty sleeping, with waking, or difficulty and staying asleep
Feeling weak, fatigued, loss of vitality
Astringent taste, dryness in the mouth
Sense of wanting to run or runaway
Lack of focus or forgetful
Difficulty concentrating, remembering
Panic attacks, fear
Feeling ungrounded, spacey, scattered, overwhelmed
Excess worrying and thinking in general (“cannot shut my mind off, it just keeps talking.’)
Feeling sped-up, racing mind
How To Balance Vata
Peruse our Vital Vata Guide for in-depth guidance of caring for Vata dosha.
Here are some tips for grounding and soothing Vata to get your inspiration flowing:
Eat foods that are cooked, warm, well spiced, moist, and oily (healthy oil). Kitchari is ideal for Vata as it is easy to digest, grounding, and moist.
Include all six Ayurveda tastes and favor sweet, sour, and salty.
Perform daily Ayurveda self-massage (abhyanga)
Follow your Ayurveda rhythm to your day eating your meals at about the same time each day, wake, and sleep at consistent times.
Favor turning it off and letting go. Too much intensity imbalances Vata.
35 Signs of Pitta Imbalances:
Headaches with burning sensation and migraines
Rashes, response to insect bites
Inflammation or any of the"itis” conditions
Stomach heat increases, causing heartburn, acid reflux, GERD and ulcers
Loose stools (soft serve ice cream consistency) or diarrhea
Nausea or discomfort upon missing meal
Heat avoidant or intolerant
Heavy, clotty cycles
Inflammation in the body can lead to joint pain
Increased sweating and sour or foul body odor.
Increased hunger and thirst
Excessive thirst, unquenchable thirst
Acute inflammation of the joints
Impatience, criticism, and intolerant
Overly attached to goals
Controlling, fiery personality
How To Balance Pitta
Peruse our Pitta Guide for in-depth guidance of caring for PItta dosha.
Eat cooling foods.
Include all six Ayurveda tastes, favoring sweet, bitter, and astringent.
Avoid heat and sun and keep your cool by exercising in the mornings and evenings. Take a moon bath in place of a sun bath.
Include cooling breathwork pranayama, such as sheetali. (Ayurveda Breathwork Pranayama)
Signs of Kapha Imbalance
23 Signs of Kapha Imbalances
Slow, sticky, sluggish bowel movements
Feeling foggy, dull, lethargic, or heavy
Weight gain and difficult losing weight
Thick, white coating on the tongue
Excess bodily fluids and mucus
Difficulty rising in the morning
Seasonal allergies, hay fever
Excess ear wax
Oily skin and hair
Tendency for “emotional overeating”
This is a partial list of excess Kapha in the body and mind.
How To Balance Kapha
Peruse our Kapha Guide for in-depth guidance of caring for Kapha dosha.
Eat foods that are dry, light, and warming foods.
Include all six Ayurveda tastes, favoring pungent, bitter, and astringent.
Invigorate Kapha with Sun Salutations.
Include invigorating breathwork. (Ayurveda Breathwork Pranayama)
Discovering Your Ayurvedic Dosha Type: Understanding Vata, Pitta, and Kapha provides important insights for navigating life with a depth of ancient knoweldge. Book your FREE discovery call today.
There is a saying, "The mind is more in the body, than the body is in the mind." The Saumya 3 step meditation process shifts us from fight-flight-freeze mode, to rest-restore-relax mode. Give it a try for forty days and observe the changes. The more grounded and relaxed we are, the smoother life flows.
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- Veena, Saumya Ayurveda
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3. Ayurveda Daily Routines: Ayurvedic Morning Routine | 6 Rituals for a Calm and Centered Day
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Veena is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and meditation teacher, and monk.
She is President Emeritus and teaching faculty of the Meditation Center.
Veena fell in love with the traditional medicine used in her family’s home, learning herbal remedies at her grandmother's knee.
These childhood experiences were the seeds of a lifelong passion. For over 30 years, Veena has dedicated her life to the world’s oldest healing system: Ayurveda.
She draws on this ancient wisdom to help others find their compass to a healthy life – and support those left wanting by Western medicine.
An experienced Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Veena’s deep, intuitive knowledge of Ayurveda empowers her clients to reclaim their fullest, most vibrant lives –mentally, physically, and spiritually. Veena individualizes treatment plans to each person, rather than offering a one-size-fits-all approach, so it fits your life and becomes woven in your lifestyle, naturally.