Defining Your Doshas

In the holistic health community, more and more words are coming to the forefront regarding our health.  Just in the last decade, words like anti-agingGMOs, as well as balance and wellness have already been assimilated, digested, and buzzed around in our natural health vocabularies.

As time progresses, new words are working their way into the spotlight and they may sound a little foreign.  Who am I kidding?  They are foreign words, however similar to becoming comfortable with the word yoga, the Ayurvedic word Dosha will become the new chatter in our everyday vocabulary.  For many of you, this is old news.  For those of you who haven’t gotten on the Dosha bandwagon, I thought I’d take some time to introduce them to you.

Biologically, we as individuals are the same.  We have a heart, a digestive system, we breathe air and we expel toxins.  If this similarity ripples throughout our cellular make-up, then why do we as individuals seem so different when it comes to sleep patterns, metabolism, as well as our behaviors and rituals?  The Tri-Dosha Theory can break it down and explain this concept quite easily.

Imagine the elements earth, water, fire, air, and space.  To get to the root of who we are biologically, we are a beautiful blend of all five of these elements.   

In Ayurveda, these elements are called



Now imagine that each person has a pair of elements that distinguish who they are physically, mentally, and spiritually.  Together, the pair of elements are called one’s Dosha. 

There are three Doshas: Vata (Air & Space), Pitta (Fire & Water) and Kapha (Earth & Water).  

For example, if one is slow in their movements and speech and are big-boned, they tend to have a Kapha Dosha.  If one is aggravated easily, has a medium build and is very active, they would follow under the Pitta Dosha.  If one is very flighty, has a thin build, and is very social, they would be categorized with a Vata Dosha.

The elements create such a variety of characteristics for one person. When discovering one’s Dosha, one must also look at the second-runner-up Dosha.  Let’s say two Doshas seem very close in describing one’s nature, but one is slightly less in alignment than the other.  This is the second Dosha used to describe a person’s qualities.

For example, I am a Kapha/Pitta.  I have a larger build (Kapha), my features are larger (Kapha), but I have soft, pink and freckly toned skin (Pitta).  I’m also very active (Pitta) and I’m prone to inflammation (Pitta).

According to this information alone, I could have been predominantly Pitta. At this stage, one has to look deeper.  To really define your Doshas, it’s important to look inside yourself. What’s going on in your bodily systems? How are the liquids in your body, are their movements quick or slow?  How about your eliminations?  Are you gassy?  Do you have heartburn when you eat?

Mind you, fat has nothing to do with defining your Dosha.  Any Dosha can have weight challenges.  It’s the typical frame and bone structure we’re looking at.  This can be accomplished by looking at the size of your shoulders, knees and hips.  

A more advanced way of looking at the body is to use Doshas to describe imbalances. If you’re experiencing pain, numbness, loss of focus, or stomach troubles for example, all of these conditions are tied to too much or too little of certain elements. This can include being overweight or underweight.

Now it’s your turn!  Here are some general characteristics for each Dosha:

After looking at the Doshas above, which one describes you best?  Which one is the runner-up?  How do these Doshas resonate with you and your lifestyle?

The Tri-Dosha theory is another great tool to use in the natural healing toolbox because they can influence one’s overall health.  If a Dosha is in excess it can throw your balance off and create disease in your body, mind or spirit.  If a Dosha is insufficient and weak, it can create imbalance as well.  For better health, it’s always best to have balanced Doshas.

It’s All Elemental,