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Complementary Therapists > Doshas > Three Doshas

The Three Doshas

What are the Three Doshas ?

In Ayurveda the body is formed of the five elementsIET® earth element, fire element, water element, space (ether) element, and air element. However the functions of the body are controlled by the three doshas known as kapha, pitta and vata. These exist in all organs, tissues and cells in the body.

The constellation of these doshas is unique to each individual. The constellation is affected by everyday things such as eating habits, way of life, climatic environment, and emotional state.

A range of factors, both internal and external, can create an imbalance in the doshas leading to disease or illness. If this occurs an Ayurvedic therapist will prescribe lifestyle changes to address the particular doshas that is out of balance and causing the problem. The therapist may also recommend other therapeutic remedies such as cleansing, herbs, massage, yoga, pilates or oils to restore balance and improve the health of the sufferer.


Kapha is blend of the earth element and the water element. It's attributes are torpor, heavy, oily, thick, viscous, opaque, dense, cool. Kapha people are caring and loving.

Because of the heavy qualities of this dosha, Kapha people have heavy bones and dense muscles and are prone to being overweight. They have a slow metabolism and adore sweet foods. The slow quality of this doshas means that Kapha people do not like exercise and move slowly including even down to the way they eat. They are not early risers and usually need a kick start such as caffeine to get them going in the morning. The cool, thickness and oily qualities mean that they have cold clammy skin and often have thick wavy hair.

Kapha people suffer may with colds and sinus problems. They are also prone to obesity and can be very lethargic.


Pitta is blend of the fire element and the water element. It's attributes are heat, lightness, oily, and sourness.

Because of the heat of this dosha, Pitta people are warmer that the other doshas and will sweat more readily. They are also somewhat voracious and can become agitated when hungry. Pitta's sharpness produces angular physical features including the chin and nose, and sharp teeth. They have a sharp intellect and possess excellent powers of recall.

Due to the light quality of Pittas they have middling size frames but avoid bright light. They are also are prone to liquid stools and may have oily complexions. Their hair is usually straight hair which may turn grey prematurely and / or they may go bald at an early age.


Pitta is blend of the air element and the space (ether) element. It's attributes are arid, light, action, cold, mobility, harshness, and subtlety.

Because of the dryness of this doshas, Vata people tend to have dry skin and are prone to constipation. They tend to have a light frame and are slim. Due to the cold quality Vatas suffer from poor circulation and their limbs feel cold. They may feel a dry, almost strangling, sensation in their throats at times. They prefer the summer to the winter.

Vatas types like action and like to take exercise such as jogging. The subtleness may lead to emotions of fear and unease. Sometimes they may exhibit powers of foresight.

Vata people may suffer from disorders of the muscles and joints, migraine, sleep problems, and emotions of anxiety, nervousness and stress.

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