Ayurveda explains the body constitutions based on the predominance of biological bodily humors (doshas) and concept of seeking harmony by balancing these doshas, i.e. vatha pitta and kapha in our body. These three doshas are contained in every cell of the body as they governs the three principles necessary to the maintenance of life; kapha is responsible for the physical and the fluid balance of the body, vatha controls the motion and movements throughout the body and pitta manages the digestion and metabolism. All three are equally important to our mental and physical wellbeing, but they are not present in equal proportions within us. It is our unique blend of doshas that create our individual constitutions. We are a blend of all three doshas – but that blend is completely unique- a blueprint for our innate characteristics and qualities and knowing that blend can help us understand how to live appropriately for our unique nature and its needs.
CONSTITUTION AND HEALTH
Ayurveda also has some basic beliefs about the body’s constitution. “Constitution” refers to a person’s general health, how likely he is to become out of balance, and his ability to resist and recover from disease or other health problems. An overview of these beliefs follows.
- The constitution is called the prakruti. The prakruti is thought to be a unique combination of physical and psychological characteristics and the way the body functions. It is influenced by such factors as digestion and how the body deals with waste products. The prakruti is believed to be unchanged over a person’s lifetime.
- Three qualities called doshas form important characteristics of the constitution and control the activities of the body. Practitioners of Ayurveda call the doshas by their original Sanskrit names: vata, pitta, and kapha. It is also believed that:
- Each dosha is made up of one or two of the five basic elements: space, air, fire, water, and earth.
- Each dosha has a particular relationship to body functions and can be upset for different reasons.
- A person has her own balance of the three doshas, although one dosha usually is prominent. Doshas are constantly being formed and reformed by food, activity, and bodily processes.
- Each dosha is associated with a certain body type, a certain personality type, and a greater chance of certain types of health problems.
- An imbalance in a dosha will produce symptoms that are related to that dosha and are different from symptoms of an imbalance in another dosha. Imbalances may be caused by an unhealthy lifestyle or diet; too much or too little mental and physical exertion; or not being properly protected from the weather, chemicals, or germs.
In summary, it is believed that a person’s chances of developing certain types of diseases are related to the way doshas are balanced, the state of the physical body, and mental or lifestyle factors.