Ayurveda and Health

Ayurveda and Health

Five elements in various permutations and combinations make three basic life forces.

These life forces vary in their proportion and makes us unique as individuals.

They govern things like our taste preferences and skin conditions.

Seven tissues make up our bodies. Well functioning systems eliminate toxins efficiently.

Illnesses set in when this system fails. Ayurveda has the knowledge of restoring this imbalance or “dis-ease”.

Life forces (Doshas) in Ayurveda:

Ayurveda believes there are three life forces which govern our body mind and soul. These dynamic forces are called Doshas. Five basic elements [Either, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth] combine and interact with each other to create the three doshas, Vata [V], Pitta [P], and Kapha [K]. The proportion of these three doshas decide our constitution.

Each Dosha is made of two elements. Vata dosha is made up of space and air. Pitta dosha is a combination of fire and water. Kapha dosha is made up of water and earth. Together, the doshas orchestrate all the activities that occur within us. Understanding the origin of Dosha from basic elements is important for understanding the effect Doshas have on our body, mind and soul.

Vata originates from ether, or space and air elements. Strong Vata therefore will keep us in perpetual movement. Like air, Vata dominant people like change and manifest lightness, quickness, and flexibility in every aspect of life. When in harmony such people exude vibrant, lively, and expressive personality. On the other hand, too much of vata causes anxiety, feeling unsettled, irrational acts, indecisiveness, gloomy feelings, insomnia, headaches and fatigue.

Pitta on the other hand originates from “fire”. Excess or strong Pitta makes us intense. Actions, feelings, and thoughts- everything is intense when Pitta dominates because of the “fiery” quality. When in balance Pitta on the other hand invokes qualities of confidence, being focussed, intelligence and “seeing wood through the trees”. Excessive Pitta on the other hand causes a range of psychosomatic illnesses like heartburn, ulcers, insomnia. It affects our temperament by making us irritable, stubborn, sarcastic, and intolerant of others and so on. Fire after all can either cook or destroy things that meets it.

Finally, Kapha, made of water and earth elements gives us solidity and stability. In a balanced state, it is responsible for our existence in harmony and imparting the temperament of caring, easy-going, self-sufficient, calm, methodical, reliable and non-judgmental. Propensity to gain weight, water retention, mucous build-up (in the sinuses, lungs & colon), prolonged sleep, apathy, procrastination, possessiveness, rigidity, inflexibility often occur in Kapha.

Body Types:


On that note Seven permutations and combinations of the three Doshas are possible. Ayurveda believes that each person’s body constitution is different and hence it offers a highly-individualised approach to health and prevention of illness.

More importantly even though a person may be born with a constitution, the Dosha may change depending on the season, time of the day, activities we undertake (such as our work, hobbies, sexual activities, travelling etc), and food we eat and stress levels. Ayurveda respects the dynamic and ever changing nature of our lives. It also respects the fact that knowledge of our constitution and the factors that change must rest with us. Empowering people with knowledge in therefore fundamental to Ayurvedic practice.

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