The Tri-Dosha Concept: Vata, Pitta and Kapha
The Tri-Dosha concept, consisting of Vata, Pitta and Kapha, can be thought of as the three parts of an immune system and the three elements that drive personality. In the Hindu tradition, it is thought that a healthy body and mind will only result when the three parts are balanced, but a person is often dominated by one of the three doshas. To fully understand why we must seek to balance our Doshas, it’s first important to note what exactly it means to be considered a specific type. Overall balance means living a healthy and peaceful lifestyle, all possible through learning about each Dosha and what each requires to attain that balance.
First, Vata, or the wind element, represents movement. It’s the driver of the body, and the most important of the three Doshas as imbalance of Vata can lead to the imbalance of the other two Doshas, Pitta and Kapha.
Vata-types tend to be active, lively, and social. They tend to be light-eaters who are naturally thin, and they are creative beings that are quick in thoughts and actions. However, they tend to suffer from insomnia, anxiety, and inability to focus. In situations of stress, Vata personalities tend to blame themselves.
To combat health issues that can arise in Vata-dominated personalities, a routine sleep and eating schedule, warm environments, constant hydration and avoidance of raw food are all recommended. It’s important to remember to focus on keeping calm and carrying on, seriously! Vatas tend to over-stress, so if possible, try taking hikes or even just eat in a calm environment. Focus your energy on wholesome activities to allow your mind to wander and de-clutter; nothing like a little TLC!
Next, Pitta, or the fire element, represents transformation.
Pitta personalities are often driven by their burning spirit or fire within. They are intense, passionate, and goal-oriented. Physically, Pitta-types tend to be more muscular and are often excellent leaders. However, Pitta-dominated people tend to suffer from sensitivity to light and migraines. In times of conflict, they tend to become critical and aggressive while blaming others for their problems.
Pittas need to balance their intensity with activities that focus on calming the soul. Pitta-dominated personalities are encouraged to take long walks on the beach, slow down mental activity, avoid heat, and overexertion. Sleep and relaxation will be the key to a Pitta’s balance.
And finally, Kapha, or the earth element, is the binding force between the three elements and represents cohesion.
Kaphas are defined by their stability and patience. They are emotionally stable, detail oriented, thoughtful, and consistent. Kapha personalities tend to be stronger or more muscular, with a wider build. But this also means Kapha-types tend to be slower moving and more resistant to change. They can be known for holding grudges and tend to be more prone to slow digestion or weight gain.
To avoid health complications, Kapha-dominated people are encouraged to avoid salty, fried or oily foods as well as get plenty of exercise. Aside from being encouraged to remain “on the move,” try partaking in introspective activities. Writing and meditation are extremely important when trying to self-reflect, and for Kaphas, these should become routine activities.
While the Tri-Dosha system depends upon keeping Vata, Pitta, and Kapha balanced, natural imbalance is often caused by the time of day, seasonal changes and the stages of life. For example, the Vata force often becomes stronger during late afternoons, during the Fall, and later in one’s life. Pitta often dominates midday and midnight, during the Summer, and during middle age. Kapha is stronger during late morning and early evening, Spring, and during childhood.
As you can see, all three doshas have their strengths and weaknesses. For each dosha, there are specific things you should focus on to look after (and take good care of) not only your physical being, but of your soul too. Keeping a balanced dosha is essential in today’s world!