The Three Doshas: the Keys to your Individuality. 

Dosha (doṣa) is one of three substances that are present in a person’s body according to Ayurveda. 

Have you ever wondered what actually accounts for differences in people? Why are some people hyperactive and fast moving, while others exude grace and stillness? Why can some people eat a five-course meal with ease, while others can barely finish a salad? Why are some people inherently joyous, while others carry the weight of the world on their shoulders? Modern genetics offers some insight, but what about the characteristics and idiosyncrasies that make every person unique? Ayurveda answers all of these questions with the Three Doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. 

Those who practice Ayurveda believe every person is made of five basic elements found in the universe: space, air, fire, water and earth. 

These combine in the human body to form three life forces or energies, called doshas. They control how your body works. They are Vata dosha (space and air); Pitta dosha (fire and water); and Kapha dosha (water and earth). 

The doshas are biological energies found throughout the human body and mind. They govern all physical and mental processes and provide every living being with an individual blueprint for health and fulfillment. 

The doshas are dynamic energies that constantly change in response to our actions, thoughts, emotions, the foods we eat, the seasons, and any other sensory inputs that feed our mind and body. When we live into the fulfillment of our individual natures, we naturally make lifestyle and dietary decisions that foster balance within our doshas. When we live against our intrinsic natures, we support unhealthy patterns that lead to physical and mental imbalances. 

If the proportion of doshas in your current state is close to your birth constitution, then your health will be vibrant. A divergence between these states, however, indicates a state of imbalance. Vikruti (the Nature of the Imbalance) is the term used to describe this imbalanced deviation away from Prakruti (the Constitution). 


In total, there are three primary doshic states: 

Balanced – All three doshas are present in their natural proportions; also referred to as “equilibrium”. 

Increased – A particular dosha is present in a greater-than-normal proportion; also referred to as an “aggravated” or “excess state”. 

Decreased – A particular dosha is present in a less-than-normal proportion; also referred to as a “reduced” or “depleted state”. 


The doshas derive from the Five Elements and their related properties: 

Vata – qualities reflecting the elements of Space and Air. 

Energy that controls bodily functions associated with motion, including blood circulation, breathing, blinking, and your heartbeat. 


In balance: There is creativity and vitality. 

Out of balance: Can produce fear and anxiety. 


Pitta – qualities reflecting the elements of Fire and Water. 

Energy that controls the body’s metabolic systems, including digestion, absorption, nutrition, and your body’s temperature. 


In balance: Leads to contentment and intelligence. 

Out of balance: Can cause ulcers and anger. 


Kapha – qualities reflecting the elements of Earth and Water.  

Energy that controls growth in the body. It supplies water to all body parts, moisturizes the skin, and maintains the immune system. 


  • In balance: Expressed as love and forgiveness. 
  • Out of balance: Can lead to insecurity and envy. 



Each person has all three Doshas, but usually one or two dominate. Various Dosha proportions determine one’s physiological and personality traits, as well as general likes and dislikes.