The Theory of the Three Doshas

Ayurveda understands health in terms of the balance of three principles that are the most fundamental expressions of the unified field on the physical level. These three basic principles, known as the three doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha), underlie and govern all aspects of physiological functioning. All three doshas are present throughout the body, with each one predominating at certain sites and performing specific functions. When the doshas are in balance, the individual enjoys good health and well-being. Imbalance of the doshas, if not corrected, leads eventually to disease. All programs of Ayurveda are designed to restore and maintain the three doshas in perfect balance.

Understanding what you need to do to achieve total health is as simple as understanding Vata, Pitta and Kapha – the three fundamental principles of nature which govern all the activities of your mind and body; Vata is quick, cold and dry by nature. It governs motion, breathing, circulation, elimination and the flow of nerve impulses to and from the brain. Pitta is hot and precise by nature. It governs digestion and metabolism and the processing of food, air and water throughout the body. Kapha is solid and steady by nature. It governs structure and fluid balance and forms muscle, fat, bone and sinew. We all have a certain amount of Vata, Pita and Kapha in our constitution and while all three of them are active, one or two usually dominate. If a dosha has gone out of balance, it can be brought back into balance using measures that are the opposite of those influences that caused the disturbance.