Doshas - An Introduction

Doshas - An Introduction

Believed to be the elements that create the physical body, doshas have formed the cornerstones of Ayurveda and Ayurvedic medicine since its very genesis. Even today, modern Ayurvedic practitioners completely rely on their knowledge of the dosha(s) that make up an individual’s physical body to prescribe the right course of action for them, for everything ranging from hairfall to more serious illnesses like PCOD, infertility and cancer.

It has long been understood by Ayurvedic practitioners that the quantity and quality of the three doshas present in the body at any given time fluctuate depending on the season, time of the day, diet, physical activity and several other factors. Ayurvedic practitioners also believe that perfect health is an inevitable result of the presence of an equal amount of the three doshas in the body called Vāta, Pitta and Kapha (or wind, bile and phlegm).


Vāta is the Sanskrit word for air or wind and an imbalance of it is identified by pain in the physical body. Some of the diseases that result from an unbalanced Vāta are flatulence, gout, rheumatism and others. 


The Pitta dosha represents the metabolism and is primarily characterised by an increase in the heat in the physical body. An unbalanced pitta most often results in an increase in body heat as well as a burning session and redness in the body.


Kapha is the element that is characterised by heaviness, lethargy, excessive sleep, constipation and poor appetite in the body. All soft organs in the body are made of Kapha and it plays an important role in the perception of taste, along with nourishment and lubrication.

Typically, one of the three doshas predominates the physical body, which it is then attributed to. Any dysfunction in the body is associated with a disorder in the doshas and is believed to throw the system off balance. The key to maintaining perfect health is to ensure the presence of the right amount of Vāta in the physical body as it considered to be the origin of the other two dosha types.

-Soha Joshi

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