The Three Components of Ayurveda: Kapha, Vata and Pitta
Ayurveda advocates that a healthy body is the one in which all the vital energy forces stay in harmony.
The ancient Indian medical science of “Ayurveda” dates back to the Vedic era and it was incorporated in the fourth Veda i.e., Atharvana Veda. The word translates to knowledge (Veda) of life (Ayur); and is built on the premise of maintaining a proper balance between the five natural elements — air, water, earth, fire and space. These elements combine in the body and form the life forces or the doshas — Kapha dosha, Vata dosha and pitta dosha. The science of Ayurveda is built on the premise of these three components and they dictate how the body works. These doshas are responsible for our physical as well as emotional responses.
Elements and the Doshas
Ayurveda explains that the elements earth, air, space, fire, and earth come together in the body into three harmonious pairs called the doshas.
Ayurveda recognizes the doshas by their qualities.
Kapha is associated with lubrication and stability
Vata is associated with movement
Pitta is associated with transformation
This dosha forms from the elements of water and earth. It is like mud and has properties like water (soft and cold), and earth (heavy, stable, and thick). Kapha is responsible for maintaining stability in the body and for lubricating the joints. It is also responsible for taking care of the body’s unctuousness and the mind’s tolerance.
This dosha is formed from the combination of fire and water. It is hot and sharp like the fire but it also contains the lubricating attributes of water. Altogether, it is hot, sharp, light, fluid and viscous. The pitta is responsible for transformation within the body. Pitta takes care of digestion, taste, appetite, maintenance of body temperature, thirst, vision, skin health, intellect and bravery.
This dosha has the traits of space and air. Like the wind, the Vata is dry, cold, light, and rough. At the same time, it is subtle and all-pervading, like space. The primary responsibility of the Vata is the movement. Any movement in the body is because of the Vata including the speech, reflexes, and voluntary actions.
The doshas existing in human bodies and are responsible for specific bodily functions.
A perfect balance between these three doshas means that the person is healthy, inside-out.
However, a decrease, increase or imbalance between the doshas means health issues. These imbalances occur due to the food we take, physical activity, lifestyle or other external factors. Being a holistic science, Ayurveda advocates on balancing the doshas through diet, exercise and lifestyle changes.
The Art of Balancing
According to Ayurveda, having a proper balance between the doshas is important for the physical and mental well-being of the body.
If balanced properly, the doshas bring positive harmony to the body. At the same time, imbalances in these doshas can cause the body to function negatively.
An increase in the levels of Kapha makes a person feel heavy, lethargic, and even depressed. Mucus retention, weight gain, and water retention are signs of an increase in the levels of Kapha.
An increase in the levels of Vata makes a person feel anxious, un-grounded, and fearful. Constipation, dryness, and body pains are signs of increased Vata.
The body experiences acidity, irritability, and the person tend to get very angry when the fires of Pitta increase. The body experiences fevers, acidity, and even rashes on the skin.
Balancing the doshas is an art.
The first step starts with an understanding of what these doshas are and what causes the imbalances. From food habits to thoughts to sleeping behaviors, several things impact the doshas.
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