Advertisement
'Ayurveda' is a Sanskrit term, where 'ayur' means life and 'veda' stands for knowledge or science. So, roughly translated, it means the knowledge of life, or the science of life. In Ayurveda, all living and non living things are linked together. Humans and plants consist of five basic components, called 'Panchbhootas'. These basic components are earth, water, air, fire, and ether (i.e., space). The non-material omnipresent qualities, which govern all material forms of basic matter are consciousness or intelligence called 'Sattva', motion or action called 'Rajas', and inertia called 'Tamas'. Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas are together known as 'Gunas'. The Panchbhootas and Gunas dictate the medicinal and healing properties of plants. The human body is a replica of the universe. The basic components give rise to three life forces called 'Dosha'. Dosha is often roughly equated to biologic humor mentioned in the Greek system. Ayurvedic body types are basically divided into three major categories called 'Vata', 'Pitta', and 'Kapha'. These three Dosha are constantly formed in the body from the food we eat and other physiologic processes.

Ayurvedic Body: The Types

Vata: Vata is a combination of air and ether. This is the most powerful force, which governs motion and controls blood flow, cardio-respiratory and all higher functions of the brain, movement of body fluids and excreta, and the most importantly, it exercises control over the mind.

Pitta: Pitta is the forceful combination of water and fire. Pitta stands for transformation. It governs metabolism, formation of tissue, and disposal of waste products. Pitta is essential for the digestive and endocrinal system of the body.

Kapha: Kapha is a combination of earth and water. It is essential for increasing cell mass, promoting bonding of tissues, preventing destruction of tissues, maintaining the strength and immune system of the body, and also determines body growth.

Each of the Dosha has its own characteristics. Let's look at each one of them in detail.

Characteristics Vata Pitta Kapha
Basic Characteristics Dry, cold, light, clear Hot, light, fluid, clear Cold, wet, heavy, cloudy, static
Basic Qualities Creativity, generosity, freedom, enthusiasm, joy, vitality Ambition, concentration, confidence, courage, happiness, intelligence, enthusiasm for knowledge Caring, compassion, tenderness, faith, patience, grounded, stability, support
Governing Quality Governs feelings of pain, anxiety, and anticipation Digestion, metabolism, comprehension, and intelligence Liquid secretions of the body, centered around the chest
Physical Features
  • Physically underdeveloped, thin frames
  • Flat chest, veins and muscle tendons visible, bones are visible
  • Curly, dry, and scanty hair
  • Eyes are small, sunken, lusterless, dry, active
  • Rough and brittle nails
  • Nose is bent and turned up
  • Vata people are either too tall or too short
  • Medium frame, strong and well-built
  • Medium prominence of veins and muscle tendons, bones are not visible
  • Pitta people have thin, silky, red or brownish hair. Tendency of premature graying and hair loss
  • Sharp eyes, medium eyeballs.
  • Soft nails
  • Sharp nose
  • Well-developed bodies. Strong tendency of being overweight
  • Broad chest. Veins and tendons are not obvious due to good muscle development
  • Hair is thick, soft, dark and wavy.
  • Soft tender nails
  • Large, dense, attractive eyes.
  • Large rounded nose
Complexion Brown in complexion. Rough, cold, dry, cracked skin Fair, coppery, yellowish, reddish complexion. Soft, warm, and less wrinkled skin Bright and fair complexion. Soft, lustrous, oily, cold skin
Appetite and Digestion
  • They have variable appetite and moderate metabolism.
  • Likening for sweet, sour and salty taste
  • Strong metabolism, therefore strong appetite and also good digestion
  • Likening for sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes.
  • Regular appetite, slow digestion, hence consume less food.
  • Kapha people like pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes
Perspiration Do not perspire much Perspire a lot Moderate perspiration
Sleep Light and disturbed sleep. Sleep less than other body types Uninterrupted sleep for medium duration Sound and prolonged sleep
Temperament & Memory Quick understanding, but forgetful, little willpower, mental instability, low on tolerance and confidence, nervous and fearful Good at comprehending, intelligent and sharp, get attached, angry, jealous, and hate easily Slow at comprehension, but good with retention, tolerant, calm, forgiving and loving, at the same time
Common Ailments Headaches, anxiety issues, neurological, and digestion problems Skin and stomach problems, anemia, poor vision Sinus and lung problems, slow and sluggish digestion, obesity, and depression
Do's Moderate exercise, such as walking and yoga. Massage with warming oils. Go to bed early Moderate exercise, such as jogging, swimming. Massage with cooling oils. Keep a schedule of regular meal timings. Rigorous and regular exercise. Massage with stimulating oil. Consume fresh vegetables, fruits and legumes. Eat bitter, pungent, light, dry warm food.
Don'ts Avoid dry, cold, pungent, bitter, astringent and raw foods. Do not fast. Avoid heavy aerobic activity. Refrain from fish, red meat, sesame and mustard oils, oily and fatty foods. Avoid sour, salty, oily foods. Do not over work. Avoid heavy meals and over sleeping. Frozen food items to be avoided.
Factors that increase the Dosha
  • Exposure to cold
  • Eating too much dry food, frozen or leftover food also aggravates the condition
  • Fasting
  • Traveling
  • Too much of exercise
  • Exposure to heat
  • Eating too much of red meat
  • Indigestion and irregularity of meal timings
  • Exercising around mid-day
  • Too much work
  • Exposure to cold
  • Eating too much of sweet, milk and milk products
  • Drinking excessive water
  • Sleeping during the day

Now you must be wondering, do people have only one Ayurvedic body type? Well, no. The truth is, often, people have a combination of two Dosha types. At times, even a combination of all three types. Combination of two Dosha is called Dwandwaja . Tridoshaja is a combination of three Dosha. Ekadoshaja is single Dosha type. With a combination of all these Dosha types, there are 10 types of Ayurvedic bodies. You will have to conduct a small research on yourself and find out what is yours. Accordingly, you will have to make small changes to your dietary patterns and lifestyle, in order to lead a comfortable life free of diseases.