Ayurveda describes Tri dosha as three biological forces that govern all functions of the body. These are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
This is considered to be made up of the air and & ether elements and possess the qualities of the same. They are said to be very similar to the wind like it is dry, cool & mobile.
Ayurveda describes people of the Vata nature to have light bones & body and their hair & skin tend to be very dry. They have a habit of moving and speaking swiftly. They begin to lose weight or become constipated or have weak nervous & immune system when imbalanced.
These qualities also reflect their personality:-
- They are talkative, creative flexible & energetic.
- When out of balance they face difficulties in focusing and making decisions, they also have troubles in sleeping and they become more apparent when in stress.
- They consider themselves to be challenged by anxiety, fear or worry.
They Ayurveda also prescribes pungent herbs like Ginger & Ashwagandha which helps in bringing a balance in the body.
The Vata Dosha is considered to be one of the essential doshas in the human body because if he is a constant imbalance of the Vata dosha for a long time, it may cause an imbalance to the Pitta & Kapha Dosha.
The Vata Dosha performs a number of functions in the human body such as –
- Eliminations of feces, urine, semen, fetus & sweat
- Helps various metabolisms in the body
- Carries sensory input from the different sense organs to the brain
- Controls different movements in the body such as heartbeat, contraction of muscles etc.
The pitta dosha is formed when fire & water come in synergy. For some people, the fire is more predominant and they tend to have more characteristics of fire within them. Pitta is considered to be hot & sharp and is also volatile & oily.
The people with Pitta Dosha feel warmer compared to people with Vata or Kapha Dosha. These people have sharp features, oily skin, and penetrating eyes. They are considered to be moderately fit and good muscularity.
When out of balance they begin suffering from skin rashes, diarrhea, infections & weakness in the liver & blood.
These qualities also reflect their personality:
- They are highly focused on what they do, courageous, energetic & clear communicators who get right to business.
- They tend to dig in their heels when under stress.
- They can be overly intense & talk with a sharp tongue.
- They are emotionally confronted by emotions of anger, anxiety & jealousy.
If there is an imbalance in the Pitta Dosha, Herbs such as fennel are highly recommended with cooked rice, wheat & beans. For the nourishment of the body, sweet herbs like Shatavari are used.
The Pitta dosha performs the following functions in the body:
- Provides color & softness to the skin.
- Provides the feeling of hunger& thirst.
- Helps in converting external images into optic nerve impulses.
- Helps in providing reasoning & judgment.
- Helps in maintaining proper body temperature.
As it is a predominance of elements of earth & water, the Kapha is considered to be cool, moist, stable & heavy. These qualities responsibly manifest as supple skin, low metabolism, lustrous & heavy bones.
The people who possess the Kapha Dosha tend to feel cooler compared to people with Vata or Pitta Dosha. An individual of the Kapha dosha is prone to gaining weight when imbalanced and tend to have weaknesses in their lungs.
These qualities also reflect their personality:
They have a nature of handling stress very well.
- They are not a fan of changes and like keeping things as they are.
- Too much rest can result in lack of motivation.
When the Kapha nature is out of balance it results in high effects of depression, sadness & lethargy.
For the diet, people with the Kapha Dosha are advised to consume grains such as quinoa & amaranth and also hot spices like cayenne pepper. Dairy, vegetables & very little nuts are also recommended.
Cleansing herbs like guggul & pungent ones like clove help in maintaining a balance in the Kapha.
The Kapha Dosha performs the following functions in the body:
Provides strength to perform tasks.
- Provides stability for the grounding aspect of the human body.
- Provides fertility & Virility.
The house of Ayurveda believes that a person can experience health on all levels only if the person’s all tri-dosha are well balanced. It believes that if a person achieves health on mental, physical & spiritual health, itis considered way more than the mere absence of disease.
Ayurveda lists the following areas as health:
- Happiness – A feeling well being
- Emotions – Maintaining a balanced emotional state.
- Mental Functions – Memory, Intelligence & comprehension
- Senses – Function of the 5 senses in a proper manner
- Digestion – Smooth digestion of food & energy
- Physical Body – Healthy organs & body tissues.
Every dosha in the human body is said to have a certain set of qualities, quantity & functions. If each of the doshas is in balance, the human body is said to be in balance (Dosha Shamya). A balance in all the doshas helps in maintaining well-being, health & wellness. However, this state of the body is a temporary state as it keeps changing. These doshas may increase or decrease due to certain reasons like environment, food habits etc.
A human body may suffer from a Natural or Unnatural imbalance. A natural imbalance is caused by elements such as time & age, which normally do not cause much of a problem. The Vata, Pitta & the Kapha dosha increase and become predominant during an individual’s life, maybe during a particular weather or a specific time of the day.
An unnatural balance may be caused due to a number of various reasons such as parasites, viruses, trauma, the food we eat, a particular life routine or an inappropriate. While there are few things that are not in our hands but things like the food we eat, the life we live are completely in our control.
The fundamentals of Ayurveda states that the human health and herbs are in correlation with one another. One of the most important herbs that are essential for a good health in a human body is fruits & vegetables. The spices are known as one of the ingredients that are added to enhance the taste of food & they are herbs that are considered to have more medical values.
Vata is one of the three constitutions from which an individual is formed. It governs all movements of mind and body as well as controls blood flow, breathing and eliminates wastes. Without Vata, Pitta and Kapha cannot move and hence it is considered the leader of the three Ayurvedic Principles. Therefore, it is very important to keep Vata in good balance. Vata governs Prana Vata (senses, creative thinking, reasoning), Udana Vata (Quality of voice, memory), Samana Vata (Movement of food through the digestive tract), Apana Vata (Elimination of wastes, sexual function, menstrual cycle) and Vyana Vata (Blood flow, heart rhythm).
Vata Imbalance symptoms
- In mind, it causes anxiety, loneliness, restlessness, hyperactivity, chronic insomnia, delirium, and severe Vata-type depression.
- In digestive tract it leads to gurgling intestines, gas, bloating, irregular appetite, mild weight loss etc.
- On skin and the circulatory system, it leads to dryness of the skin, lips, or hair, poor circulation, cold hands or feet etc.
- In the muscular system, it leads to lack of coordination, weakness, muscle fatigue, quivering thighs, tremors, tingling, numbness, sciatica etc.
Types of Vata:
It influences digestion, elimination, and reproduction and is active in the pelvic and lower abdominal areas. It is connected to the element Earth
Yoga asana to balance Apana Vayu
- Prasarita padottanasana (spread-legged standing forward bend)
- Vrikshasana (tree pose)
- Ardha Padma Janu shirshasana (bound half lotus head-to-knee pose)
- Baddha konasana (bound angle pose)
- Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)
Vayu shamak mudra is used to balance Apana Vayu.
- It is located at the navel and governs Agni, the digestive fire. It is responsible for processing and assimilating food, emotions, perceptions, and breathe so that they can be used optimally.
- Samana Vayu hand mudra is performed by bringing your little, ring, index and middle finger together and bending it over to touch your thumb. All the fingers are touching together.
It is situated in the head and is considered the fundamental energy. It is connected with the element of air.
Yoga to balance Prana Vayu
- Parivritta Janu shirshasana (revolved head-to-knee pose)
- Adho Mukha Shavasana (downward-facing dog pose)
- Downward-facing plank pose
- Urdhva Mukha Shavasana (upward-facing dog pose)
- Gomukhasana (cow’s face pose)
Prana Vayu hand mudra is performed by bringing ring and small finger together and bending it over to touch the thumb. The middle and index fingers should be pointed straight.
- Udana Vayu is located in the throat and flows around the neck and head in a circular motion. It regulates speech, growth and self-expression. It serves as a channel between upper and lower level of conscience.
- Udana Vayu hand mudra is performed by bringing ring, index and middle finger together and bending it over to touch the thumb. The little finger should be pointed straight.
It supports the function of the other four Vayus and governs nerves, veins, joints and muscle functions and is a connecting energy.
Yoga to balance Vyana Vayu
- Warrior poses,
- Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
- Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
- nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breathing)
Vyana Vayu hand mudra is performed by bringing index and middle finger together and bending it over to touch the thumb. The little and ring fingers should be pointed straight.
Yoga to balance Vata
- Balasana (Child’s Pose)
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)
- Halasana (Plough Pose)
- Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Leg Forward Fold)
- Malasana (Garland Pose)
- Apanasana (Wind Release Pose)
- Supported Backbend Inversion: Instant Maui
- Salamba Savasana (Supported Corpse Pose)
- Salamba Virasana (Supported Hero’s Pose)
Mudras to pacify Vata
- Gyana mudra or prana vardhak mudra
- Vata shamaka mudra
- Vata nashaka mudra
Herbs to balance Vata
- Ashwagandha- It calms the nerves and is prescribed for fatigue
- Ginger- It is a pungent herb whose heating quality is considered beneficial for Vata Dosha.
- Triphala- It is a blend of Amalaki, Haritaki, and Bibhitaki. It is sour and pungent and has neutral quality.
The primary and most essential function of Pitta dosha is transformation. The pitta dosha is also known to control various procedures such as how the consumed food would get digested in our body, sensory perceptions etc.
Few of the physical characteristics of people possessing the Pitta Dosha include baldness or thinning hair, warm body temperature, sleep for a short period of time & have a high sex drive. When on balance, they have a perfect digestion, abundant energy & a strong appetite.
When out of balance, they suffer from skin rashes, burning sensations, heartburn & indigestion.
Sings & Symptoms of Having a Pitta Disturbance
- Mind: Recent developments and changes in the mind such as anger, irritation, judgement, criticism & jealousy are all symptoms of increasing Pitta. A general feeling of dissatisfaction or tendencies of perfectionism is caused due to an excess of pitta in the mind.
- Digestive system – Few of the early signs of an imbalance of Pitta in the digestive system are intense hunger, sense of insatiability and excessive thirst. An accumulation of the pitta can lead to acid reflux, heartburn, low blood sugar, vomiting, hiccups, diarrhoea and sensitivity to spicy or fried foods. An extended presence of an imbalance in the pitta may cause severe acid indigestion or heartburns, blood in the stools, inflation of the stomach or the oesophagus, fatty diarrhoea, and appendicitis.
- Blood, skin & sweat – If there is an excess amount of pitta, it may cause the skin to seem red or yellowish in colour. There might also be visible hives, rashes, acne, dermatitis and eczema.
This may also lead to an increase in sensitivity to the sun. Excessive sweating, acidic perspiration and strong, fleshy smelling body odour are few common demonstrations of an imbalance. Signs of severe disturbances are blood clots, strokes, jaundice, hepatitis, severe bleeding disorders, lupus & abscess.
Elsewhere in the body - In men, high pitta can lead to inflammation of epididymis, inflammation of the penis and burning pain during ejaculation. In women, it can inflame the endometrium & other reproductive issues. An aggravated excess of pitta in the body may cause hair loss, dizziness, insomnia, shingles, or testicles, premenstrual irritability, and heavy or painful menstrual bleeding. Long-standing pitta disturbance can lead to poor vision or blindness, chronic hyperthyroidism, adrenal exhaustion, migraines, fainting, meningitis, encephalitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune disorders, and multiple sclerosis.
Types of Pitta Dosha
It is said to be situated right between the large intestine ( Amashaya ) and stomach ( kashaya ). It composes of all the 5 basic elements but is predominant with fire element and devoid of the water element. Due to its basic and most important function of digestion & transformation of food materials it is also called the Anala (Fire). It also cooks the food and divides it into essence and waste. As it influences all the other kinds of Pitta dosha, it is the most dominant one.
The entire process of production of blood cells, balancing good chemistry and all such activities which are responsible for providing pigmentation to the skin, or the red colour to the blood are all executed by the Rajnaka Pitta. This pitta is located in the liver, spleen and stomach. Any kind of vitiations caused may lead to ailments such as Anemia, Jaundice & Hepatitis.
This pitta is said to be located in the heart (Hrudaya). It helps in balancing the functions of heart in case of emotional distress. Feelings such as anger, happiness and devotion are associated with it. It also attends to mental functions such as knowledge, self-consciousness & intelligence etc.
This pitta is located in the eye. The basic function of this piece is to maintain good sight & vision. It also carries the process of vision. Any disorder irrespective of anatomical structure related to vision is associated with this type.
This pitta exists in the skin also helps in the exhibition of colour and complexions. The natural lustre, brightness, colour and glow of skin is associated with it.
Nutritional Guidelines For Pitta
- Dairy products such as milk, butter, ghee helps in maintaining the balance of the Pitta. Sour & fermented products such as yoghurt, cheese & sour cream can be used as sour taste to aggravate Pitta.
- All sweets can be taken at a moderate level except honey & molasses.
- Recommended oils to pacify the Pitta Dosha are coconut, sunflower & olive oil.
- In order to reduce the pitta dosha, grains such as oats, rice, wheat and barley are recommended.
- Sweet fruits such as grapes, melons, cherries, avocados, oranges, plums and mangoes should often be consumed.
- Grapefruits, apricots and berries should be consumed in a limited quantity.
- Vegetables such as green leafy vegetables, pumpkins, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, green beans, sweet potatoes and potatoes are recommended.
- Vegetables such as carrots, beets, onions, garlic radishes and spinach are supposed to be avoided.
- For non-vegetarians, turkeys and chicken are to be preferred while the use of beef, seafood and eggs should be minimized.
Yoga For Balancing The Pitta Dosha
Yoga, as a sister of Ayurveda, is an excellent exercise & spiritual practice to implement on a daily basis for maintaining a subtle balance in an individual’s constitution. There are a number of yoga and asanas which are beneficial specifically to each dosha individually but with an appropriate approach and regular practice of different yoga poses, you may receive its greatest benefits. Some basic guidelines are: -
- Try and not to take your poses too seriously and enjoy those poses as much as possible.
- Make sure there is enough space to perform yoga.
- Practice in a moderately cooler environment. As the pitta dosha should avoid extremely hot environments, you do not want to get too cold.
- Focus on the yoga experience in your body, not your brain.
- Work at 80% effort.
- Avoid being judgmental and critical of yourself.
- Make sure you have plenty of practice space.
- Remind yourself that yoga is not a competition.
- Focus on your exhalation.
- Notice the position of your ribs; draw them back into your body.
- Benefit from practising at a moderate pace.
- Remind yourself that less is more.
Cooling Herbs To Balanced Your Pitta Dosha
In Ayurveda, the non-attendance of a disease does not indicate a person or individual to be specifically healthy. It is more of an effective alliance of the body, the mind, the spirit & the environment.
During a seasonal transition, it is mandatory to keep a check on the balance of the pitta dosha while also increasing awareness related to the other doshas. Since Ayurveda has a natural system of healing, it is expected that the easiest and most common-place of items shall be used as ingredients for producing some very easy-to-make but impactful cures for and preventives against day-to-day ailments.
- Shatavari - Shatavari is designed to soothe and coat the mucous membrane in the stomach & also helps in carrying out the intestine’s function of reacting to excess heat and acidity. A combination of the Shatavari, Amalaki, Manjistha and Kutki can be used to cool down the excess pitta in the gut.
Shatavari work in the human body & mind is truly beneficial. Shatavari is a herb which supports women and men alike, animating the human body with its nutritious and refreshing abilities. The same impact has been registered on the lungs serving the function of restoring moisture and heated respiratory tract.
Shatavari also assists in building an essential fluid in the body that rules over vitality, virility, sleep & immunity. It is also specifically helpful in cooling down the nerves, gaining a balance of disorders caused by the Vata dosha such as pain & insomnia.
- BACOPA MONNIERI - It is an inching plant used in Ayurveda for neurological regeneration and has its own significance for memory improvement and anxiety. It is a well-known herb alongside Ashwagandha and Jatamansi.
The essential benefit of Bacopa Monnieri is for anxiety, depression, learning, and various neurological disorders & is also used for anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, astringent, laxative, cough, poisoning, and blood disorders.
A relaxed person might experience a lack of motivation to work after supplementation after consumption of Bacopa monnieri.
It also deals with the dopamine systems, but it’s mainly concerns promoting neuron communication by upgrading the rate at which the nervous system can relate by increasing the growth of nerve endings, also called dendrites. Bacopa monnieri is also an antioxidant.
How To Balance Pitta Dosha
- Balance Rest & Activity - Try not to create unnecessary time pressures for yourself by allowing some free time for yourself every day.
- Do not skip meals - Do not purposely starve yourself and wait to get famished to eat.
- More of food that is sweet, bitter & astringent – Consume more of food such as cucumbers, sweet fruits & melons.
- Spend more time in nature - Take walks in the moonlight or close to natural bodies to water.
- Have a daily massage – Coconut or Olive oils are recommended.
- Favour fragrances that are cooler – Sandalwood, rose, jasmine, mint, & chamomile are recommended.
- Laugh a lot every day.
Kapha is a type of constitution which is responsible for all structure and lubrication in the mind and body. It is responsible for controlling weight, growth, lubrication of the joints and lungs. It is also responsible for the formation of the seven tissues in the body — nutritive fluids, blood, fat, muscles, bones, marrow and reproductive tissues. If you feel lethargic, lazy, complacent etc. then you need to balance Kapha which can be done by taking proper diet such as fresh fruits and vegetables, pungent spices, honey, low-fat dairy products etc. Doing daily exercise also helps in balancing the Kapha.
- Weight gain due to slow digestion
- Lethargy due to heavy and slow qualities of Kapha
- Cold and congestion as Kapha forms mucous and pulmonary fluids
- Water retention, swelling, or edema due to stagnation in lymphatic system
- Increased cholesterol and triglycerides due to excess Kapha in blood
- Diabetes due to excessive consumption of sweets or improper functioning of pancreas
- Tumors as Kapha is responsible for growth so any improper growth is considered as Kapha imbalance
Types of Kapha
- Kledaka Kapha located in the mucous lining in gastrointestinal track protect from stomach acids and digestive enzymes.
- Avalambhaka Kapha located in pleural of the lungs and provides structural integrity of the lungs.
- Tarpaka Kapha provides nourishment and protection to the brain in the form of cerebrospinal fluid.
- Bodhaka Kapha is present in the form of saliva and keeps the oral cavity moist.
- Shleshaka Kapha is present within synovial fluid of the joints. It ensures flexibility in joints
Do and Don’t
In order to balance Kapha a proper diet should be followed which should include pungent, bitter and astringent foods such as chillies, cloves, cinnamon, bitter greens like kale, legumes etc. Minimize sweet, salty and sour foods.
Herbs to balance Kapha
- Turmeric heats the body and acts as a detoxifying agent with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Ginger has heating potency and is used to treat sinus, slow digestion, and obesity.
- Triphala a blend of Amalaki, Haritaki and Bibhitaki and has potent healing and purifying properties
Ways to balance Kapha
- Rise early usually by 7 AM
- Perform Surya Namaskar
- Do exercise in the morning
- Stay warm and avoid cold places
- Avoid dairy foods that are cold
- Add spices to your food
- Brush your skin using wooden or eco combs
- Perform kapalbhati
- Try new things and step out of your comfort zone
- Make new friends
In order to lose weight people with Kapha dosha must start with exercises such as walking, biking, swimming etc. They should also perform pranayama and get hot oil massages.