What is Dosha? How to Use Dosha

According to Ayurveda, the human body and everything in the universe is made up of five elements – water, earth, fire, air and ether (space). Just as water makes up over 70 per cent of planet Earth, our bodies also contain over 70 per cent water, with the other elements present in somewhat similar proportions to that of our planet. From the five elements, three subtle energies arise. These are ‘vata’ (composed of air and ether), ‘pitta’ (composed of fire and water) and ‘kapha’ (composed of water and earth).

Ayurveda teaches that health and well-being come from a harmonious balance of vata, pitta and kapha energy. All life forms possess these three qualities. Each individual has their own blend of the three and usually has at least one element that tends to get out of balance more easily than the others; this is termed our ‘dosha’. Dosha literally means ‘fault’ – it comes from ‘dush’, meaning error, and relates to the prefix ‘dys’, from Greek (as in ‘dysfunctional’).

What is Dosha? How to Use Dosha Photo Gallery




The combination of doshas you are born with is called your ‘prakriti’ or original constitution. It includes inherited traits, individual characteristics and tendencies such as body frame, eye colour, digestive capacity and emotional balance. While it is common for people to have nearly equal proportions of the three or just one predominant dosha, most people have two doshas that are more or less equally dominant, with the remaining one less dominant. For good health and wellbeing to be maintained, the three doshas within you need to be in balance. That doesn’t mean they need to be equal (unless you were born that way) but that you need to maintain your original doshic make-up throughout life as much as possible to maintain good health. Unfortunately, factors such as diet, lifestyle, climate, pollution, work, relationships and even the passage of time can cause one or more doshas in your prakriti to increase or decrease from its original level, creating ‘vikriti’ or imbalance. If this is not corrected, you can eventually lose good health.

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