Doshas Explained Simply

Doshas – All You Need To Know

In this post, we’ll unpack all you need to know about Doshas, defining exactly what they are, the different types, how they impact our health and well-being and more.

What Are Doshas?

Doshas stem from the Ancient holistic health system of Ayurveda and refer to the specific energies that are present within us which influence our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.

The Doshas arise from the 5 elements of nature — space (akash), air (vayu), fire (tejas), water (jala) and earth (prithvi).

The 3 Doshas

According to Ayurveda, there are three primary Doshas. They are: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

While all three Doshas are present within us, one or two tend to dominate. The dominant Doshas then become our own personal blueprint for perfect health. In rare cases, there is a more or less equal blend of all three Doshas which is referred to as Tridoshic.

The combination of Doshas we are born with is referred to as prakriti. Our state of balance at any given time is referred to as vikriti.

Below is a summary of the characteristics associated with each Dosha.

Vata

  • Elements: Air & Ether
  • Energy: Rajasic
  • Represents: Movement
  • Quality: Catabolic, Activating & Dynamic
  • Season: Autumn
  • Mind: Creative
  • Body: Lean
  • Challenge: Sticking to one idea.
  • Imbalance: Anxiety & Digestion

Pitta

  • Elements: Fire & Water
  • Energy: Satvic
  • Represents: Digestion
  • Quality: Metabolism, Balancing & Transformative
  • Season: Autumn
  • Mind: Ambitious
  • Body: Athletic
  • Challenge: Burnout
  • Imbalance: Anger & Heartburn

Kapha

  • Elements: Earth & Water
  • Energy: Tamasic
  • Represents: Structure
  • Quality: Anabolic, Conserving & Stabilising
  • Season: Spring
  • Mind: Peaceful
  • Body: Rounded
  • Challenge: Selflessness
  • Imbalance: Sadness & Weight
Doshas Body Types Infographic

The Key To Health & Well-Being

In Ayurveda, balance is everything — and balance is achieved by harmonizing the 3 Doshas. Each dosha has a specific impact on our mind, emotion, body and spirit.

When the three Doshas are in balance, it results in health and ease in the body. When the 3 Doshas are out of balance, it results in sickness and dis-ease in the body.

By identifying our predominant Doshas, we can take steps to create habits that harmonise our Doshas and optimise our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health and well-being.

Below we’ll unpack each of the 3 Doshas in more detail.

Vata Dosha

Vata translates literally from Sanskrit to “wind.” It is made up of the elements of air and ether and represents movement. It is is associated with the season of Autumn. People with a Vata Dosha tend to have a creative mind and lean body.

The Functions Of Vata

  • Creates energy
  • Helps eliminate excretions
  • Creates dryness
  • Activates mind and speech mechanisms
  • Controls inspiration
  • Stimulates action
  • Controls endocrine gland functions
  • Balances the tissues

The Locations of Vata

  • Feet
  • Bone Marrow
  • Skin
  • Nervous System
  • Thighs
  • Bladder
  • Colon
  • Lumbar

Recommended Foods For Vata

Vatas are naturally cold, dry, mobile and rough in energy so they need foods that are more warm, moist, dense and oily in energy to create balance. Below we’ll unpack what foods are recommended for people with a predominant Vata Dosha. 

Fruits

  • Apples (cooked)
  • Apricots (fresh)
  • Avocados
  • Bananas (ripe)
  • Berries
  • Melons
  • Cherries
  • Coconuts
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Kiwifruits
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Mangoes
  • Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Peaches
  • Pineapples
  • Plums
  • Watermelon

Vegetables

  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Carrots (soaked)
  • Chiles
  • Cilantro
  • Cucumbers
  • Garlic
  • Green beans
  • Leeks
  • Mustard greens
  • Okra
  • Olives (black)
  • Onions (cooked)
  • Parsnips
  • Peas (cooked)
  • Pumpkin
  • Spinach (cooked)
  • Squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Watercress
  • Zucchini

Grains

  • Amaranth
  • Basmati Rice
  • Brown Rice
  • Oats (cooked)
  • Quinoa
  • Wild Rice

Legumes

  • Mung Beans
  • Tofu

Nuts & Seeds

  • Any that are raw

Oils

  • Almond Oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Mustard Oil
  • Sesame Oil

Sweeteners

  • Coconut sugar
  • Date sugar
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Stevia

Spices

  • Basil
  • Black Pepper
  • Cardamom
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Fennel
  • Finger
  • Mustard Seeds
  • Nutmeg
  • Paprika
  • Rosemary
  • Saffron
  • Turmeric

Pitta Dosha

Pitta translates literally from Sanskrit to “heat.” It is made up of the elements of fire and water and represents digestion. It is associated with the season of Summer. People with a Pitta Dosha tend to have an ambitious mind and athletic body.

The Functions Of Pitta

  • Sight
  • Digestion
  • Heat
  • Contentment
  • Appetite
  • Chivalry
  • Softness
  • Anger
  • Pleasantness

The Locations of Pitta

  • Eyes
  • Heart
  • Blood
  • Spleen
  • Liver
  • Skin
  • Sweet Glands
  • Digestive Tract

Recommended Foods For Pitta

Pittas are naturally hot, oily, sharp and pungent in energy so they need foods that are more cool, juicy, sweet and dry in energy to create balance. Below we’ll unpack what foods are recommended for people with a predominant pitta Dosha. 

Fruits

  • Apples (sweet)
  • Apricots (sweet)
  • Avocados
  • Bananas (sweet)
  • Berries (sweet)
  • Cherries (sweet)
  • Coconuts
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes (sweet)
  • Mangoes (ripe)
  • Melons
  • Oranges (sweet)
  • Papayas
  • Pears
  • Pineapples (sweet)
  • Plums (sweet)
  • Pomegranates
  • Strawberries

Vegetables

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Beets (cooked)
  • Bell Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots (soaked)
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Leafy Greens
  • Spinach (raw)
  • Squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Zucchini

Grains

  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Basmati Rice
  • Couscous
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Wild Rice
  • White Rice
  • Spelt
  • Wheat

Legumes

  • Black beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Mung Beans
  • Split peas
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu

Nuts & Seeds

  • Almonds (soaked and peeled)
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds

Oils

  • Extra virgin raw coconut oil
  • Extra Virgin raw Olive Oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Ghee

Sweeteners

  • Coconut sugar
  • Date sugar
  • Honey (raw)
  • Maple syrup
  • Stevia

Spices

  • Basil (fresh)
  • Black Pepper
  • Cardamom
  • Cinnamon
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Ginger
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Peppermint
  • Saffron
  • Turmeric
  • Vanilla

Kapha Dosha

Kapha translates literally from Sanskrit to “‘phlegm.” It is made up of the elements of earth and water and represents structure. It is associated with the season of Spring. People with a Kapha Dosha tend to have a peaceful mind and round body.

The Functions Of Kapha

  • Stickiness
  • Forgiveness
  • Potency
  • Knowledge
  • Lubrication
  • Immunity
  • Heaviness
  • Unity
  • Strength

The Locations of Kapha

  • Head
  • Joints
  • Heart
  • Chest
  • Extremities
  • Neck
  • Stomach
  • Tongue

Recommended Foods For Kapha

Kaphas are naturally dense, heavy, oily and sweet in energy so they need foods that are more light, dry, bitter and astringent in energy to create balance. Below we’ll unpack what foods are recommended for people with a predominant Kapha Dosha. 

Fruits

  • Apples
  • Apricots (fresh)
  • Berries
  • Cranberries
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Pears
  • Pomegranates

Vegetables

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Leafy Greens
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Sprouts
  • Turnips

Grains

  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat

Millet

  • Quinoa

Legumes

  • Black beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Mung beans
  • Split Peas
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu

Nuts & Seeds

  • Almonds (soaked and peeled)
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Help seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds

Oils

  • Almond Oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Ghee

Sweeteners

  • Honey
  • Stevia

Spices

  • Basil
  • Bay leaf
  • Black Pepper
  • Cardamom
  • Cayenne
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Fennel
  • Fenugreek
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Mint
  • Mustard Seeds
  • Nutmeg
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Rosemary
  • Saffron
  • Turmeric

Summary

Doshas are inherent energies that determine our body constitution. The three primary Doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

While all three Doshas are present in everyone, one or two usually dominate and become our own personal blueprint for perfect health

Identifying our predominant Doshas allows us to create habits that harmonise them and optimise our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health and well-being.

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