Updated: Oct 7, 2019
In Ayurveda, the ancient "Science of Life" everything is comprised of the five elements which combine into 3 Doshas, called Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These Doshas are also present within us and can be described as Body-Mind Types.
To learn more about the basics of Ayurveda and what the doshas are, check out my videos here.
While we have all three of the Doshas within us, which have different characteristics and which also all govern different traits, body parts, organs and functions, they occur in different proportions within each of us. The dosha that is most prominent within you, determines your main characteristics and attributes.
Vata is defined by the qualities of the Air and Ether (Space) elements and means “that which moves”.
Physically, Vata dominant people are rather thin and don't gain weight easily, they are either very tall or short, have rather dry and thin skin, hair and nails which may also be brittle and their hands are small, dry and cool to touch with long fingers. Their hips and shoulders are narrow. They have a variable metabolism and digestion and may experience bloating, indigestion, gas, irregular bowels when out of balance.
Personality-wise, Vata people are highly creative and intuitive. They are artists in their own way and may love music, writing, painting, nature and travel. They have their own creative rhythms and sticking to timelines or being top-notch organised is simply not their thing. Vata people may be running late, not because they don’t care but because they always have so much on – they rarely do only one thing at the time but instead have a gazillion of ideas and can’t sit still, nor does their mind.
Vatas’ may forget to eat and the routine of the day may seem overwhelming and planning difficult. They are very energetic, interested and interesting and have amazing healing energy, a positive spirit. While they struggle with regime and organisation their strength lies in their mental capacity and strong imagination – they are innovative creators and can struggle to finish things because they may already have their eye on something else and can get anxious or worried. Vatas learn and forget quickly, grasp new concepts easily and tend to be off with the fairies or up in the clouds, always moving, always doing something. They are very adaptable, spontaneous and adventurous with open minds and hearts. When out of balance Vatas may get scattered, anxious, nervous, fearful, moody or indecisive.
Pitta is defined by the qualities of the Fire (and Water, though fire is predominant) elements and means “that which transforms”.
Physically, Pitta people are medium built with tendency to gain muscle quickly, they are well proportioned with pretty consistent weight. They have oily, smooth, well circulated skin and moles, fine and likely straight hair often with a red-ish tinge in colour and a penetrating, sharp and clear gaze. They have a fast metabolism due to a strong agni (digestive fire) and a good circulation. Pitta people can be prone to overheating and when out of balance suffer from irritation and inflammation, skin flushes and rashes, loose and frequent stool.
Personality-wise, Pitta people are full of inner fire, drive and passion. They are the born leaders and achievers, “Get out of my way, here I am!” kind of people who are here to kick their goals and create a legacy. You often find them in leadership positions, as entrepreneurs or in politics. Pitta people are sharp with good social skills, often charismatic and attractive people with an intense energy. They are warm and friendly, courages and outgoingly confident, giving of a sense of knowing who they are and what they want. They are highly intelligent and once they’ve put their mind to something, there is no holding back.
They are the undeniable go-getters and over-achievers, the type A personality. Pitas can be short-wired and irritable when they are overheated. They love efficiency and can get inpatient; they want to be to the point and things done and therefore can be a bit of a lone-wolf. They can be highly competitive and their passion, when really on fire and slightly off balance can result in insensitivity or unintended sharpness, aggression and their confidence can turn into arrogance. When unbalanced excess fire can create irritation, anger, aggression, frustration, criticism, judgement or arrogance and selfishness.
Kapha is defined by the qualities of the Earth and Water elements and means “that which holds”.
Physically, Kapha people have a larger body type, a solid and strong built with heavy bones. They are well developed and Kapha females have womanly curvature. Kaphas have beautiful soft and smooth, oily rather pale skin, thick hair and big, clear eyes. They have large limbs and features and well lubricated joints. Kapha's metabolism and circulation is rather slow but consistent due to their blood being thicker and their nature cool, heavy nature and may have water retention.
Personality-wise, Kapha people are the eye of the storm and the rock in times of trouble, it would take a lot for them to be reactive or loose ground. They are the carers and healers for humanity, meeting their loved once with love, compassion and kindness. Kaphas often are the nurses, social workers, teachers and carers amongst us, they have a “mothering” and nurturing nature and embody the solid grounded-ness of Earth and her emotional capacity.
Kaphas have a massive heart, though the can often be conservative. They tend to always put other people’s needs first and have a confidence from within.
They are lovers of life, great food and comfort, love socialising with near and dear once’s and are loyal, reliable, truthful and supportive friends. Kapha people have a very peaceful and forgiving nature and are patient with themselves and those around them. They are in it for the long run and born to run a marathon rather than a sprint.
Kapha’s value a team, social support and true friendships and are easy-going, happy for others to take the lead and follow. When they are out of balance they may tend to be insecure, controlling, attached or obsessed and can be lacking motivation to a point of lethargy.
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