VATA // PITTA // KAPHA
The science and art of ayurveda uses a simple yet all encompassing system with the five elements: space, air, fire, water, and earth, and their unification into three main doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha.
What is a dosha? The specific combination of the elements creates the doshas- the governing energies within nature and the human body. These energies, or humors, coordinate and direct all the structures and substances in our body, the earth, and cosmos.
Vata is the combination of space and air (akasha and vayu.) It governs movement. It’s qualities are dry, cold, rough, mobile, light, subtle, and changeable.
Pitta is the combination of fire and air (tejas and vayu.) It governs transformation, metabolism and heat. It’s qualities are hot, oily, sharp, fluid, soft, light, malodorous and clear.
Kapha is the combination of water and earth (jala and prithvi.) It governs building, lubrication, and substance. It’s qualities are heavy, slow, cold, sticky, wet, dense, dull, smooth, and cloudy.
All three doshas are present in ourselves and in all of nature. These energies are constantly changing throughout the day, seasons, and life span.
Each dosha is present in all of us, but to varying degrees. Someone who relates to many vata characteristics with a lot of light, cold, and active qualites has more vata in their system. This is then known as their prakruti, or personal constitution. The prakruti can be one main dosha if it is very strong, but it is usually two doshas, such as vata-pitta, or pitta-kapha. Your prakruti is your life long make up, the qualities you were born with and a combination of your parents qualities and the state of your mother during pregnancy. Your prakruti never changes.
The presence and power of the doshas is witnessed in different stages of the day, year, and lifetime. Based on this knowledge, we can create daily schedules and modify our lifestyle to better adapt to each season and stage of life.
Everyday, each dosha takes dominance for four hours, twice through out the day. Vata is predominant from 2 am-6 am and 2 pm-6pm. Pitta is strongest from 10am-2pm and 10pm-2am. Kapha has the most influence from 6 am-10am and 6 pm-10pm.
Late fall and early winter, when the air is dry, windy, cold, and light- vata is in full swing. Spring time, with it’s heavy, wet, sticky and muddy earth shows that kapha has more influence over us. And in the summer, when the sun is strong, the days are hot and irritability or anger can increase, the qualities of pitta take charge. This is where the rutucharya, or the ayurvedic seasonal cycle of living comes into play.
By understanding all the strengths, weaknesses, intricitacies and influences of the doshas, we can learn to heal, balance, harmonize, and strengthen all of our own qualities! The ancient science of ayurveda has this simple yet all encompassing lifestyle mapped out, with the flexibility to customize for all individuals and regions of the world, to live in the greatest harmony.