What are the Doshas?

Vayu, Agni and Soma manifest in the body as the Doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

Vata relates to the functioning of the physiology as well as its purpose. While Kapha is the actual body, Vata is what the body does. Anything that denotes the body's functioning and purpose, or any action the body undertakes either internally or externally is Vata. All movement be it physical or mental, all communication (internal or external), or anything done by the body to fulfill a purpose is Vata.

Pitta links the physical body (Kapha) to what the body does (Vata). Pitta refers to the processes which allow the physical body (Kapha) to do something or fulfill its purpose(Vata).

Without Pitta, the body would not be able to "do" anything. Pitta regulates and maintains the physical body though the process of metabolism. By converting matter into energy and back again to matter in the process of digestion, Pitta allows for the continuing growth and evolution of the body. Our mind and intellect are also a result of the digestive process. Pitta also "digests" or metabolizes experiences which are taken in through the senses. Depending upon the strength of digestion, experiences are metabolized as bliss or remain undigested forming Samskara.

Kapha relates to the actual physical structure of the body. It is pure structural integrity, the solid physical mass that is perceived as the physical body.


The ultimate goal of Ayurveda is to refine the metabolism to the point where all experiences are experienced as bliss.

The three Doshas are the underlying principles that allow for a living being to be alive. Every living thing represents a distinct ratio of the Doshas. The slight variations give rise to the infinite variations in life forms.

In human beings, slight variations in the ratio of Doshas give the seemingly infinite variations in body types. For example, although the three Doshas are present in everyone, a person with more Vata for example would have more activity at the basis of their identity. Someone with more pitta would have a stronger intellect. Someone with more Kapha would be more likely to be more physiologically strong.

These are just basic examples of how an individual is shaped by the ratio of Vata, Pitta and Kapha within them.

In Ayurveda, the ratio of Doshas within an individual physiology is referred to as their Prakriti, or constitution. The individual Prakriti is closely considered when treating illness.

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