Tridosha Concept

According to Ayurveda, one’s body is closely associ­ated with Nature. A small change, say, climate change, affects the body and triggers diseases.

The three essential constituents of the human body are the doshas, the (Hiatus and the malas. They are so important as they control our day-to-day activities from the outer level to the cellular level


Ayurveda considers three doshas or three energies – vata, pitha and kapha — as the most fundamental principle as they govern the physi­ological and chemical activities. These doshas are composed of the combination of the five elements or the ‘panchmahabhutas’.

They are:

  • Space or akasha
  • Air or vayu
  • Fire or tej as
  • Water or ap
  • Earth or prithvi

Vata is composed of space and air, pitha is from fire and an aspect of water, and kapha is from water and earth. Individual constitution is acquired at birth and remains con­stant throughout life.

A harmonious state of these three doshas creates balance and health, while an imbalance, that is, an excess (vriddhi) or deficiency (kshaya), manifests as disease.

A balance among the tridoshas is necessary for health. For exam­ple, the air principle stimulates the bodily fire, but water is necessary to control hi e; otherwise the bodily fire would burn the tissues.

Vata moves pitha and kapha since pitha and kapha are motion­less. So, tridosha governs all body activities: anabolism (kapha), ca­tabolism (vata), and metabolism (pitha). When anabolism is greater than catabolism, there is an in­creased rate of growth and repair of the organs and tissues. Excess pitha disturbs metabolism, excess kapha increases the rate of anabolism and excess vata creates emaciation (ca­tabolism).

In childhood, kapha elements will be predominant, since it is the time of physical growth while in adulthood, pitha will be most appar­ent, because, at this stage, the body is matured and stable. In old age,metabolism and vata are most evident as the body begins to deteriorate.


Dhatus are the seven basic tis­sues of the body which tend to grow as the body grows. They are rasa plasma (dliatu), blood (rakta), muscle (mamsa), fat (meda), bone (asthi), nerve tissue and bone mar­row (majja) and reproductive tissue (shukla dliatu). The dliatus build up and maintain the body structures.


Maias are those substances which form excretory waste prod­ucts — faecal matter, urine and sweat. They are formed continuous­ly as a result of the metabolic activ­ity in the body. The imbalances and disturbances of these three give rise to diseases.

So, the prime aim of Ayurveda is to balance tridoshas to ensure good health. By doing this, we can retain, maintain and preserve our body and live a quality and disease-free life.


1. Vata

The essence of vata dosha

This dosha shows all the proper­ties of air, such as force, vacuum, dryness, coldness, lightness, wind and dehydration. It is active in bodily movements: contraction and relaxation of muscles, breathing and the internal transportation and flow of substances such as blood, lymph, sweat, urine, nutrients and other flu­ids.

Vata is also considered to be a result of digestion. The quality and the quantity depend on the amount and type of food. People who are malnourished or are fasting have ^7 less body activities as their vata energy is lessened. Located in the pelvis region and in the colon, vata dosha generates vata energy for all other body parts.

Five types

Vata is divided into five types called vayus (air or wind). They are praana, apana, vyana, udaana and sama ana.

Praana vayu mainly functions in the head, neck and chest regions and it acts from the atmosphere to the inside of the body. It carries out functions of the sensoiy organs in the head and acts as a receptor of all external stimuli.

Udaana vayu, also located in the head, neck and chest, acts op­posite to praana vayu. Its duty is to express ourselves through talking, singing and whistling.

Vyana vayu fimctions in the chest and the heart region. It is re­sponsible for circulation of sub­stances in the body.

Samaana vayu is present in the area of the abdomen. It ignites the digestive file and activates the pro­cess of digestion by creating peri­stalsis in intestinal movements.

Apana vayu is located in the anal region. Its functions are seen in the excretory organs for defeca­tion, in the kidneys and urinary sys­tems and in the area of reproductive organs. It activates and mobilises sperm and enables performance of sexual activities, ovulation and menstruation.


People who have a predomi­nantly vata constitution will have creativity, mental alertness and the ability to learn. Changing moods, irregular daily routine, tendency to forget things fast are also their char- acteri sties.

Physical features

Generally, people of vata con­stitution are physically underdevel­oped. Their chests are flat and their veins and muscle tendons are vis­ible. The complexion is brown, the skin is cold, rough, dry and cracked. Their appetite and digestion vary. They take sweet, sour and salty food and hot chinks. The production of urine is scanty and the faeces are dry, hard and small in quantity and hands and feet are often cold.


Pitha, a combination of fire and water, is the basic energy-generating element for the metabolic operations of the body. These elements are transformative in nature. So, they continuously modulate and control each other.

The word pitha originated from Thaap- Santhaapee, meaning to burn or to warm up’.

In the case of human body, pitha represents the fire element; it in­cludes gastric file or digestive fire, action of enzymes and amino acids that play a pivotal role in metabo­lism, and the neurotransmitters and neuropeptides which control think­ing.

Pitha is a hot, sharp, liglit, oily, liquid, and spreading in nature. It is mainly located in the small intes­tine, stomach, sweat glands, blood, fat, eyes, and skin.

It controls digestion, nutrition, metabolism, body temperature, skin colouration, the lustre of the eyes, intelligence, understanding, etc. In the period of digestion, vata will be predominant in the last stage, pitha in the middle and kapha in the first stage.

Five types of pitha

They are pachaka, ranjaka, sad- haka, aalochaka and bhrajaka.

Pachaka pitha located in the stomach is concerned with splitting up of ingested food within GI tract, absorbing the nutrient portion (sara) and eliminating the waste portion (kitta). Apart from this, this pitha controls digestion and protects the other four pithas.

Ranjaka is situated in the stom­ach and it imparts red colour to rasa (plasma, serum, lymph). According to Susnita, ranjaka pitha is located in yakrt (liver) andpliha (spleen).

Sadhaka located in the heart controls the proficiencies of the mind such as intellect and genius.

Aalochaka, present in the eyes, provides vision. This pitha is further divided into two — cakshurvaisesi- ka and buddliivaisesika.

Cakshurvaisesika pitha is associated with retinal pigments which are concerned with absorp­tion of light falling on retina and the transmission of impulses via optic tract, while buddliivaisesika deals with their interpretation in the cere­bral cortex.

Bhrajaka pitha, located in the skin, imparts complexion to skin. Arunadatta, the commentator of Ashataga Hridaya, says that Bhra­jaka pitha is named so as it performs dipana and pacana of medicines ap­plied in the forms of abhyanga, lepa, pariseka, etc. In brief, Bhrajaka means that which makes shining. Chai’acteristics

These people will have medium physique, sharp mind, good concen­tration power, good management skills and leadership ability. He or she will be competitive, passionate and romantic; sexually have more vigour and endurance than vata people.

However, they will be irritated, angry, self-confident, aggressive, and assertive when pitha imbalance occurs.

Physical F eatures

These people are of medium height and their body may be slim. Their chests are not veiy flat and show a medium prominence of veins and muscle tendons.

They may have coppery, yellow­ish, reddish or fair complexion with fair or reddish, soft, shiny and warm skin. Their hair may be fine red, fair or dark brown in colour and straight or thinning, shiny and silky in na­ture. Their eyes may be gray, green or copper-brown.

These people have a strong me­tabolism and good digestion result- ing in strong appetite. Pitha constitu­tion people will have an inclination towards sweet, bitter and astringent tastes and they enjoy cold drinks.

Their body temperature may run a little high and hands and feet will tend to be warm. Pitha people do not tolerate sunlight, heat or hard work well.

Balanced pitha gives good di­gestion, vitality, good problem-solv­ing skills, intelligence, decisiveness boldness and courage and bright complexion.


Kapha, a combination of water (jala) and earth (prithvi) elements, provides stability, strength and re­sistance to diseases. Snigdliata or *-z unctuousness is its main function as it lubricates the body and thereby preserves it. Ayurveda considers kapha people as the most fortunate ones as they enjoy good health nor­mally.

Kapha lubricates the joints, pro­vides moisture to the skin, helps to heal wounds, fills the spaces in the body, gives vigour and stability and gives energy to the heart and lungs. And it is white, transparent, sweet, saline, dense, slimy, heavy and slow in movement.

It is present in chest, throat, head, sinuses, nose, mouth, stom­ach, joints, cytoplasm, plasma and in the liquid secretions of the body such as mucus.

Different types of kapha

Tliere are five types of kapha. They are – avalambaka kapha, kle- daka kapha, , bodliaka kapha, tar- paka kapha and sleshaka kapha.

Avalambaka kapha:Located in the area of chest, avalambaka kapha protects and strengthens heart with its nutrient elements.

Kledaka kapha:The function of kledaka kapha is to moisten the food in the stomach to break it.

Bodhaka kapha:Bodliaka ka­pha moistens substances that come in contact with the tongue with the help of saliva.

Tarp aka kapha: Tarpaka kapha, situated at the head, nourishes and smoothens the sense organs situated in brain.

Sleshaka kapha:Sleshaka ka­pha is situated in the joints and keeps them firm and lubricated.


Kapha predominant people are calm and steady, but once they get angry it will be difficult to calm them down. These people are con­sidered as relaxed, slow-paced, af­fectionate and loving, forgiving, compassionate, reliable and faithful and they strive to maintain harmony and peace in their surroundings. He or she may have soft hair and skin and their voice may be low and soft. The cold quality of kapha results in poor appetite as their agni or digestion is poor.

Though these people learn tilings slowly, they never forget and will have outstanding long-term memo- ry. If kapha is in balance, these people will be strong and clam, otherwise they may be dull and lethargic. Physical features

People of kapha constitution will have well-developed bodies and these individuals would have a tendency to carry excess weight. Normally, their chests are expanded and broad. The veins and tendons of these people are not obvious because of their tliick skin.

They may have fair and bright complexions with soft, lustrous and oily skin. Their hair may be thick, dark, soft and wavy and the eyes are dense black or blue in colour. The neck is solid, with a near tree-trunk quality. A large, rounded nose and large, attractive, blue or light brown eyes are found; mouth will be large with big, full lips. Teeth too are big and white and set in strong gums.

These people will have regular appetite. But due to slow digestion, they tend to consume less food. They crave for pungent, bitter and assignment foods. Their stools may be soft and pale in color and evacuation is slow. Their perspiration is moderate.


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