The Ayurveda system of medicine considers all human beings to be a combination of three basic elements called Tridoshas: Vatta, Pitta and Kapha. These three are responsible for all the physiological and psychological processes within the body and mind; the dynamic forces that determine growth and decay.
For maintaining an ideal health in an individual there should be a perfect balance of all three doshas in the body constitution. The three doshas combine to form the constitution and the biochemistry of each human being. Derived from the panchamahabhutams (air, water, space, fire and earth), each dosha like the elements cannot be detected with our senses. However, their qualities can be understood. And, each dosha, besides, is a combination of any of the two pancha bhutas with one of these dominating. All physical characteristics, mental abilities and emotions in an individual can then be explained in terms of these tridoshas .
These three doshas are to function in a harmonious manner in every individual. This will assure complete physical, mental and emotional health. However, it so happens that these tridoshas do not function in harmony in an individual always. It is then that disease sets in. Disease in short is a reflection of the imperfect balance and disharmony of the tridoshas in an individual.
Characteristics of Doshas: Each dosha has a particular characteristic and relationship to body functions and can be upset for different reasons. Besides, each dosha is also related to a certain body type, a personality trait and a greater chance of having certain types of health problems.
An imbalance in a dosha will produce symptoms that are related to that particular dosha and will always be different from the symptoms that are visible in another dosha. This imbalance could be a result of several factors including an unhealthy life style, improper diet, undue mental or physical exertion, not being properly protected against inclement weather, pollution, exposure to chemicals germs etc..
YogaDosha concepts: Vata Dosha Ayurveda considers this dosha to be a combination of the elements: space and air. It is considered the most powerful dosha as it is vata dosha that controls the basic body processes such as cell division, the heart, breath and the mind. However, this can be thrown out of balance by staying up late at night, eating dry fruit or excess intake of food or before a previous meal has been fully digested. Also those with vata constitution are more susceptible to skin, neurological and skin diseases.
Pita Dosha: This represents the major elements fire and water. Pita dosha mainly controls the digestive system and hormones. When pita dosha is out of balance, a person may experience negative emotions such as hostility and jealousy and will exhibit symptoms such as heart burn within two or three hours of eating. Pita can also be upset by eating spicy or sour food, getting angry, being tired or fearful or having over exposure to sun’s rays. These people are also more prone to heart diseases and also arthritis.
Kapha Dosha: This is a combination of the elements water and earth. Kapha helps to keep up strength, provides immunity and controls growth. Kapha maintains the integrity of the living human organism in their normal state. It helps to make the man a complete being with his indriyas (sense organs) possessed of strength, good complexion and assured of longevity. An imbalance in the kapha dosha may cause nausea immediately after a meal. However, kapha can be aggravated by sleeping during the day, eating too much of sweet foods, eating too much or immediately after a meal has been over and consuming an excess of salt and water especially during spring time. Kapha patients are afflicted with such diseases as diabetes, gall bladder problems, stomach ulcers, and all respiratory diseases such as asthma etc.It can thus be ascertained that a person will develop certain types of diseases that are related to the way doshas are balanced, the state of the physical body and mental or lifestyle factors.
It is to be realized that vata, pita and kapha are forces and not substances. Kapha is not mucus but the force that causes mucus to arise. Pita is not bile, but that which causes bile to be produced. And, these are called doshas (faults) because they indicate the fault lines along which the system can become imbalanced.
As with all the three doshas it is to be understood that the three doshas keep changing within any person constantly due to the doshic qualities of specific lifestyle and environment such as time and season. These three are also not separate energies but different aspects of the same energy present together in an infinite variety of combinations, wherein their qualities overlap and inter relate.
As diseases are a result of the imbalances in doshas, all ayurvedic treatments will be aimed at strengthening and positioning the tridoshas back to their normal harmonious level. As the Vatta-Pitta and Kapha levels of each and every human being is different, ayurveda treatments would also aim to provide treatments keeping in mind the specific and individualized needs of each patient.
Ayurveda, in short not only rectifies the malfunctioning of the tridoshas but also provides remedies and the inputs to maintain a perfect equilibrium at all times. The perfect balance of Vatta, Pitta and Kapha in effect would signify the physical, mental and emotional health of an individual.