Doshas are what people usually reference first when speaking about Ayurveda.
How much familiarity do you have with them? The range of knowledge & experience on the doshas is beyond vast in the Ayurvedic community. Some have studied doshas in a traditional school setting, and others don't even know the meaning behind the word. Whether you have taken a doshic assessment (online or with a practitioner), or have absolutely no idea what we’re talking about, we are here to share even more about doshas with you!
When you have a doshic assessment or take a quiz, you are essentially uncovering which tendencies you are predetermined for since birth. There are 2 ways that doshas apply to your tendencies. Those that are determined at birth (similarly to astrology), are considered your doshic Prakruti, translating to “original creation”. The tendencies that are more recent for you are an accumulation of your life experiences, and is called your Vikruti. Think nature vs. nurture!
determined at birth
represents your long term tendencies
created by your karmic path in life (previous & current)
manifests through gene expression
determined by your physical features, long-term physical functionality & mental/emotional long-term expressions
related to your dharma (life’s purpose & natural talents)
represents your strengths & weaknesses
based on your experiences, relationships & environment
reflective of your current physical functional state & mental/emotional expressions
You may know which dosha you relate to within yourself, but did you know there are even doshic times of day? Doshic appetites & digestive strengths? Doshic seasons of the year? Doshic dharmas? Doshic trauma tendencies? Doshic specific foods & herbal remedies? The list goes on & we are excited to share. :)
To break it down from the very beginning… the elements are the building blocks of life & this reality. There are 5 elements in Ayurveda: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, & Ether. They each have their own qualities - they are either cold/hot, heavy/light, stagnant/mobile, sharp/smooth, moist/dry. Knowing an element's qualities teaches us how to use them to create equilibrium or bring our lives back into balance - this is one of the main keys to Ayurveda! Too hot? Add cool. Too stagnant? Add movement. Too depleted? Add nourishment! In Ayurveda, we use the basic principle that like increases like & opposites create balance.
When the elements combine, so do their qualities.
Earth & Water are the heaviest of the elements, bringing density & grounding to Kapha dosha, or stagnation in excess. According to its elements, Kapha dosha is described as moist, heavy, dense, static, soft, smooth, cloudy & cold.
Personality traits: A person of Kapha dosha will likely be a mixture of calm, sweet, quiet, observant, slow in speech & movement, sometimes dull in the mind & content with regularity. Their watery qualities will make them emotional. Although water flows, the earth will lead to stagnation, depression & complacency if not stimulated enough. They will have aversions to change, vigorous exercise, & new things or experiences. They will either be heavier individuals or have a larger frame. Their bones are thick & this represents the quality of solid earth.
Kapha people tend to be nurturers rather than leaders. They are the support system you crave, the motherly or fatherly energy you find comfort in, the reliability in any team effort. They are sometimes difficult to start, yet end up being consistent in energy. Kapha’s sleep the most of the doshas. Early to bed & late to rise, it is good for them to practice movement in the day to get their energy going. They surely love the sweet taste & may overindulge.
Tendencies in excess: With over accumulation, Kapha is prone to depression, complacency, lack of motivation, lethargy, oversleeping, isolation, attachment, weight gain, sugar indulgences, water retention, slow digestion, overeating, mucus & sinus issues.
Balancing Kapha: To balance these tendencies, make sure that Kapha people get enough stimulation. This applies mentally, physically & digestively. Eat food in small to moderate amounts since digestion is naturally slower. Use warm to hot spices to activate digestion. Be cautious with the sweet taste as it increases Kapha & lean more towards pungent, bitter & astringent. Avoid oversleeping & napping in the daytime. Practice testing your comfort zone to increase adaptability to change. Aromatherapy is a phenomenal way to stimulate a Kapha with herbs such as rosemary, camphor, eucalyptus, clove, juniper, sage, bergamot, citrus, cinnamon & tulsi. Partake in regular physical activity that is more stimulating such as running, biking & hiking.
Karmic lessons:Since Kapha is dense, heavy, sticky & stagnant - it is easy for Kapha to create attachments. They express unhealthy attachment styles to people, food & or material objects. Practice letting go of all that is not in alignment any longer. Assess which belongings are truly worth holding onto & thank the ones you’re ready to let go of. Create space for flow & movement in life rather than holding onto resistance.
Strengths & talents: endurance, compassion, kind heart, nurturing, supportive, receptive, holding space, creating safety, caretaking, comforting, being able to relax, committing to routines, being objective, not getting caught up in unnecessary dramas.
Time of year: Late Winter to Spring. The time when the weather is cold & moist. When we feel heavier & ready to hibernate.
Time of day: 6-10 am/pm. During this time, the energy is heavier & meant for relaxation, routines & self care practices. It may be more difficult for you to partake in stimulating activities during this time of day, especially if you are a Kapha individual or have a Kapha vikruti.
Air & Ether are the lightest of the elements, bringing subtleness & movement to Vata dosha. According to its elements, Vata dosha is described as cold, dry, light, subtle, flowing, mobile, sharp, hard, rough & clear.
Personality traits:A person of Vata dosha will likely be a mixture of fun, bubbly, outgoing, creative, fast in speech & movement, flowy, spacey & artistic. They tend to be social & prioritize their relationships. Vata people are used to flowing & tend to resist structure, commitment, deadlines, confinement in ideology, authority & love to be their own boss. Vata sees no limit & tends to experience fatigue & exhaustion due to their unstable energy reserve. They usually are intrigued by the mystical arts & spirituality.
Tendencies in excess:Vata is prone to depletion causing anxiety, overwhelm, worry, fear, cycling thoughts, lack of commitment, procrastination, floating, feeling ungrounded, snacking rather than sitting for complete meals, staying up late, over committing, having weak boundaries, gas, constipation, low pain tolerance, weight loss, malabsorption & a weak physical structure.
Balancing Vata:Although Vata loves free expression, one of the most healing lifestyle practices for Vata is routine. Sometimes Vata will resist routine until breakdown, but will then come to appreciate the routines they have created for themselves. Regularity in waking, eating & sleeping times are a huge life changing adjustment for Vata. Vata needs to avoid foods of similar qualites: cold, dry, hard, raw. They should eat foods that are well cooked, warm, grounding, moist & well spiced. Trade that smoothie for a baked yam! … or at least add some fresh ginger to the smoothie! Be cautious of the bitter, astringent & pungent tastes. Sweet, sour & salty is best. Vata needs to learn how to plan, delegate & honor their own best interest in life. Learning to create & honor their own boundaries is transformational to their energy level & healing the constant feeling of fatigue. Since Vata doesn’t really have containment, they may feel a sense of internal loneliness or insecurity. Once they practice commitment to their passions & real in their focus, they will start to live in alignment & have a better sense of security. Vata would greatly benefit from committing to a nourishing bed time routine.
Karmic Lessons:To cultivate faith in the face of fear. Vata is prone to feeling the void & having fear of uncertainty & loss. With grounding practices, Vata can feel safe enough to settle into their bodies.
Strengths & talents:creativity, inspiration, coming up with ideas, design, aesthetics, music, art, dance, writing, playfulness, humor, creating a mood, crafting, nourishing relationships, energy work (when grounded in their own essence), receptivity.
Time of year:Autumn to early Winter. The time when the seasons are shifting from warm to cool & then to cold. We see the natural world go inward & encourage death as a part of the inevitable cycle.
Time of day:2-6 am/pm. During this time, the energy is lightest & supports etheric qualities. It is a great time to meditate, do something creative, play music, make art, write & be in the ethers through dreaming. It may be a difficult time to be grounded & one may easily feel restless.
Fire & Water combine to practically meet in the middle of the spectrum. According to its elements, Pitta dosha is described as hot, dry, light, subtle, flowing, sharp, hard, rough & clear.
Personality traits:The fire of Pitta dosha attributes to a strong sense of passion. These are dedicated individuals who excel in what they focus on. They are business oriented & usually at the top tier of social systems. They are evidence based people who cannot be easily swayed once they have made up their mind. They are usually leaders or teachers & enjoy delegating because they have the strength of clarity. They usually make decisions quickly & have a shortage of patience. They move fast fueled by their own internal fire. They like intense activities & pushing limits.
Tendencies in excess:Pitta is prone to overworking, which often leads to burn out. They may neglect other areas of their life such as self care, relationships & nourishing their soul due to fixation on their work & goals. Their fire burns strong & may express as anger, quick irritation, frustration, judgment of others, being “blinded by the light” to their own faults, a sense of arrogance or entitlement, burning indigestion, ulcers, loose stools, heat irritation, dehydration & early gray/thinning hair.
Balancing Pitta:Pitta being active & heated, benefits from coming back to their center & cooling down. Avoid foods that are pungent, spicy & further drying. Be cautious of pungent, sour & salty tastes. Sweet, bitter & astringent is best. Calming remedies & practicing relaxation are essential. Practice adaptability when things don’t go as planned. Make time for things & people that are truly important to your soul rather than just focusing on goals & excelling in work. Take time to slow down & just be. Meditation & gratitude practices are very beneficial for Pitta as they help to slow down activity & open the authentic heart. Avoid aggravating environments, scenarios & people. Calming, grounding & cooling are the main qualities to invite.
Karmic lessons:To practice compassion & nonjudgment. Since Pitta dosha is so efficient & goal oriented, it can be easy for them to hyper focus & get tunnel vision, leading to a forgetting of the heart space. When Pitta can learn to accept & hold compassion for others, they truly awaken their authentic essence & live in balance.
Strengths & talents:commitment, dedication, focusing, mental clarity, following through, planning, motivating, being self sufficient, independence, leading, teaching. Pittas are the ones that use their fire to burn through any obstacle. They will always find a way & persevere. They are amazing role models for Vata & Kapha, in the sense of committing & rising to the occasion consistently (going above & beyond). They are the ones to become successful entrepreneurs.
Time of year:Late Spring to Summer. The season of warmth, heat & dry air. This is when we are most social, activated & adventurous.
Time of day:10-2 am/pm. During this time the energy is activated. It is best to focus on planning & executing. This is the best time of day to focus on work, projects, goals & the most daunting tasks of your day. It is also best to eat your biggest meal around 12pm since Pitta is at its highest. Notice how you may be growing sleepy around 9pm, but come 10pm, you get your second wind of energy that keeps you up past intended.
Our intention is to teach everyone the tools to rebalance their lives & experience a sense of love for Self along the journey. Gaining clarity about yourself & the world around you is a beautiful way to see in the lens of acceptance. From there, you are empowered to make changes & grow based on the insight you’ve gained. The daily life we experience is a direct reflection of cause & effect. We often move so quickly, that we forget how much power we truly hold in our own lives. Learning about the doshas is a transformational way to take back your own power & honor your soul in each individual way needed. May you thrive :)