An Introduction to Doshas

18 Jan


The study of doshas is the study of the particular elements operating our own bodies. There are a total of three doshas, and their details are outlined in this section. We are all a combination of these three doshas – though generally, one particular dosha is dominant in us (but not always). Knowing about our particular dosha make-up can give us insight into why we respond in certain ways to particular situations – and it can also help us improve ourselves and our reactions to life events. However, bear in mind that no one specific dosha is best – and also, that our doshas change throughout our lifestyle. Therefore, your dominant dosha today may not be your dominant dosha in the future.


Vata  is composed of space and air, and therefore has the characteristics of both of these elements. Vata is dry, light, cold, rough, subtle and mobile. The basic tendency of the Vata type is spontaneous change, which can become unpredictable.

Characteristics of Vata

  • Light, thin build
  • Often either very short or very tall
  • Creative and intuitive – often quite artistic
  • Irregular hunger and digestion
  • Insomnia or light, interrupted sleep
  • Excitability, changing moods, emotionally erratic
  • Tendency to get spaced out
  • Enthusiastic, imaginative, often visionary
  • Quick to grasp and quick to forget
  • Tendency to worry
  • Tires easily, and has tendency to over-eat
  • Tendency towards constipation
  • Erratic mental and physical energy
  • Governs movement in the body-mind


According to Yoga philosophy Pitta is composed of fire and water, and therefore has the characteristics of both of these elements.

Characteristics of Pitta

  • Medium build, medium strength
  • Strong digestion with good, sharp hunger
  • Good overview qualities, so often good managers
  • Tendency towards anger
  • Impatience and irritability when under stress
  • Fair, ruddy skin, often with moles and freckles
  • Intolerance to sun and hot weather
  • Strong, impressive voice (charismatic speakers)
  • Regular mental energy
  • Picks things up fairly quickly
  • Remembers things well
  • Regular meal habits
  • Blond, light brown, or red hair – usually becomes bald or gray quicker
  • Can be fiery, quick and impatient
  • Governs digestion and transformation in the body-mind


According to Yoga philosophy Kapha is the combination of water and earth elements, and therefore has characteristics of each. Kapha is heavy, cold, soft, oily, sweet, sticky and steady.

Characteristics of Kapha

  • Solid, powerful build
  • Great physical strength and endurance
  • Steady energy, slow and graceful action
  • Slow to anger, relaxed personality
  • Skin will be cool, oily, pale and soft
  • Slow to grasp, yet never forgets
  • Good sleep
  • Tendency to obesity
  • Affectionate, tolerant and forgiving
  • Tendency to be possessive and lazy
  • Also tend to be relaxed and deliberate, with possible imbalance of sluggishness, leading to tendency to be overweight
  • Responsible for structure and stability in the body-mind

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