The Three Doshas


Ayurvedic medicine diagnoses the disease process through the imbalance of the 3 doshas that make up our individual constitution. Ayurvedic medicine looks into the individual physical and mental constitution of the person and their lifestyle habits rather than merely treating the symptoms of the disease. Ayurvedic medicine takes a very individual approach to healing, and takes into consideration many factors that may have played a role in the disease process. body composition, mental and emotional nature and our spiritual make up as each of these factors are important in understanding how the disease may have originated.


Ayurvedic Body Types – Prakriti

The Ayurvedic texts provided specific guidelines to help identify the individual’s constitutional nature. These guidelines enable us to live in harmony with nature while taking good care of our health. From the three doshas, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, seven body types were originally identified. Our body type, which is determined at birth is our constitutional nature, our prakriti. This prakriti is derived from the particular combinations and permutations of the five elements in the sperm and ovum that exist during conception. Once birth has made its elemental imprint, we cannot alter it without adversely affecting our balance.

The human constitution, or prakriti, is comprised of all three doshas. This means that every individual has within himself the dynamic forces of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. The difference between individuals is the degree to which the three doshas interact with one another within each body type. It is important to understand that the doshas are forces and not substances. It is also important to understand that these doshas keep changing all of the time due to their doshic qualities which are influenced the by lifestyle factors, environment, time and season.

Dual Dosha Body Types

Ayurveda defined seven body types namely Vata, Pitta, Kapha, Sama, Vata-Kapha, Vata-Pitta and Pitta Kapha. Most people are influenced by two doshas types and it is rare that anyone is influenced by one dosha type alone. It is generally not common for people to fall into the sama dosha category (all three doshas in balance). It is more common for individuals to display a combination of two doshas often referred to as dual Prakriti.


Doshas and the Elements

Vata   air/space

Pitta   fire/water

Kapha  water/earth

Sama   balance of all three doshas


Physical Constitution

Physically these types of people are very tall or very short, non-muscular, with thin with bony limbs, they walk quickly with short fast steps. Their skin is generally thin, darkish and cool. The hair is fine, dark, coarse and either wavy or curly. The face is usually long and angular, often displaying an underdeveloped chin. The neck is long and thin. Nose is small and narrow though it may also be long, crooked or asymmetrical. Eyes tend to be small, narrow or sunken, dark brown or grey in color, and without luster. The mouth is usually small, with thin, narrow or tight lips. Teeth are irregular, protruding, or broken, and gums often recede. The voice appears to be weak, low or cracked, speech is fast with interruptions.


Mental Constitution

Vata people tend to have restless minds with weak memories. They tend to avoid confrontation, have active and sensitive natures and express themselves through sport and creative pursuits. Vata people are likely to be artistic and creative with a good imagination, they will sometimes overindulge in pleasures. They tend to be very sexually active, they are often fearful, worry too much and become anxious. They like to question things, spend a lot of time theorizing and then tend to over analyze situation. Vata people often become dissatisfied with friendships and are unable to sustain them. They can spend money quickly often on unimportant things. Sleep is often light and interrupted with as little as 5-7 hours per day.




Physical Constitution

People have a moderately well developed physical body with strong muscles and walk with a definite, medium type of stride. They often have loud, strong and precise voices with the power of conviction. The skin is often fair, soft, lustrous, warm, and tends to burn easily in the sun. Pitta types often have freckles, moles, and a tendency to develop rashes. Their bodies are hot and sweaty. Pittas often are characterized by fine and soft hair, often fair or reddish/ light brown hair that tends to grey early. The face is heart-shaped, often with a pointed chin. The neck is proportionate and of average size. A neat, pointed, and average sized nose matches the average sized eyes that are either light blue, light grey or hazel in color, with an intense luster. The eyes tend to get red in summer or after bathing. The mouth is of a medium size, with average sized lips and medium-sized yellowish teeth.

Mental Constitution

Pittas have an intellectual and precise disposition due to a very alert, focused mind. Sharp and piercing when angry, they are irritable, jealous and aggressive by nature. Discriminating and judgmental, they are also articulate, learned and proud. With a developed sense of responsibility, they can take decisions and organize affairs well. Argumentative, but with a sense of humor, their posses excellent memories which makes them fast learners. Moderately passionate in their sexual pursuits, they spend money moderately, usually on luxuries



Physical Constitution

A thick, broad, well-developed frame and large, long limbs, Kaphas have a pleasant, deep and resonating voice with low, slow, rhythmic speech. The skin is usually thick, oily, pale or white and cold. They have thick, wavy, lustrous hair which is generally brown/black hair. The face is rounded and full. The neck is solid and well formed. A large, rounded nose, eyes are large and attractive and are blue or light brown or blackish in color. The mouth is large with full lips, with large white teeth and strong gums.

Mental Constitution

Kapha people are calm, steady, considerate - stable, patient personalities. They are slow to anger as they are not easily provoked, once angry they do not calm down easily. They are honorable, true to their word and avoid lies. Loyal, forgiving and understanding, they can be lethargic, even lazy at times if not motivated by others. Learning may be slow but the memory will be strong. They are logical thinkers and take time before reaching conclusions. They enjoy long hours of deep sleep and have a strong enduring sex drive which comes naturally to them. While they do save money, it does get spent on food. They can sometimes display an element of dullness and this is due to the Kapha mind being too content to seek external stimulation.

Ayurvedic Studies is an integral part of all the Yoga Teacher Training and Yoga Studies Courses offered at Hampton Yoga Centre/Victorian Institute of Yoga Education and Teacher Training. Students are instructed in all of the basic principles of Yogic and Ayurvedic Lifestyle management.

Ayurvedic Constitution Questionnaire