What is Dosha and Why You Should Know Which Dosha You Have

in Special Feature 23 July 2015

In Ayurvedic medicine, a dosha is one of three bodily humors that make up ones constitution. The basic constitution of each individual is determined at conception. Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth are the five basic elements that manifest in the human body as three basic principles known as Tridosha. From the Ether and Air elements, the Vata is manifested. The Fire and Water elements manifest together as Pitta while Earth and Water elements manifest as the Kapha.


The three elements, Vata, Pitta and Kapha govern the biological and psychological functions of the body, mind and consciousness. Tridosha are the basic body constituents and protective barriers for the body in its normal physiological condition; while out of balance, they contribute to disease processes.

The tridosha are responsible for individual preferences in food, their flavors, temperatures etc. and those govern the creation, maintenance and destruction of bodily tissues, elimination of waste products, arising of natural urges etc. They influence psychological phenomena like fear, anger, greed, understanding etc.

Vata, Pitta and Kapha

Vata is a principle of motor and sensory functions. Vata governs the breathing, blinking, movements of muscles and tissues etc. Pitta manifests as metabolism. Pitta governs digestion, absorption, nutrition, body temperature, skin coloration etc. Kapha cements the elements in the body, providing the physical structure. This maintains body resistance. The balance of these tridosha is necessary for health.


The determination of the body constitution is a complex task and not one that can be done by ticking a check list. An Ayurveda physician would assess the body constitution (Prakruti) by medical examination and observation. The way a person walks, talks, gestures can all be taken into account. While it is not possible to generalise, a person with vata constitution could have a thin/wiry body frame, and a pitta person a moderate frame while a kapha constitution person would have a thicker body frame. A vata person is very active in physical activities while a kapha person could be more lethargic and a pitta constitution person would be moderate in physical activities.

Eating to Suit Dosha

When one knows what their dosha is, they can avoid food which is prominent in their body constitution. For example if somebody as a Vata body constitution, it would be advisable to consume less food which aggravates Vata such as brinjal, tomato, prawns, cuttlefish etc. If somebody who has a Kapha prominent constitution, consuming Kapha aggravating food such as ice cream, ladies fingers, especially during the winter season, could result in respiratory tract ailments.


Apart from dietary advice, there are lifestyle suggestions for each dosha. For example, if a person has a Kapha prominent body constitution, they are advised to avoid exposure to cold breeze which aggravates Kapha in the body. Likewise, looking at each aspect of the body constitution, Ayurveda physicians can advise people how to live healthy lives.

However, no individual constitution is made up solely of any one element. Rather each person is a combination of all three elements, with a predominant tendency toward one or more.

Trying Ayurveda

Why not make your next holiday a healthy one, trying out Ayurveda for yourself? Try beach-front Barberyn Ayurveda Resorts in Sri Lanka, one of the first authentic resorts to have started offering traditional Ayurveda to the Western visitors. Benefit from a highly-experienced in-house team of Ayurvedic specialists; healthy meals; Yoga and Tai Chi; visit local sightseeing and relax by the ocean.

To find out more, visit http://barberynresorts.com/

The British Wheel of Yoga