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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The 3 Doshas in Ayurveda – Vata, Pitta and Kapha

Ancient Indians believed that man is a part of nature, as he evolved from it and ultimately goes back to it. He tried to see the forces of nature as he saw his world in a human body and used it to explain the workings of it. The major forces that he saw and worshiped in nature were the Wind, the Sun and the Moon, and when he incorporated those into the workings of human physiology, he named them the three Doshas, namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
It is said in every major ayurveda texts that the three Doshas maintain the body when they exist in harmony and destroys it when the harmony is lost. The Doshas as assessed in normal subjects to find a yardstick to which abnormal subjects are compared. The findings from this is used in the treatment of the human body. Since the harmonious state of Doshas is health, the aim of treatment is maintaining that balance to resume the health.
The Doshas

Vata: Vata is the body factor derived from Wind, thus responsible for the mobile functions in body, in a whole and cellular level. It is responsible for the five senses and all the organ functions. Vata, if increased, causes weakness, loss of weight, constipation, reduced sensory powers etc. In short, Vata is the functional amongst the three Doshas as it propels the body and the other two Doshas.
Pitta: Pitta is the factor which derived from the Sun, thus the source of energy for the body. The functions of Pitta include processing the food, body heat, knowledge, power, appetite, thirst and the complexion. Increased Pitta causes more appetite and thirst, burning sensation, loss of sleep etc and reduced Pitta causes cold body, loss of appetite and loss of complexion. Its easy to estimate from all these that Pitta is the Dosha responsible for the whole metabolism of body.
Kapha: Kapha derives from the Moon, thus represent sustenance. Kapha makes the body strong, well lubricated, strengthen joints and increase the strength of body. Increased Kapha causes tiredness, feeling of cold, looseness of body breathing difficulties and sleepness. Reduced Kapha is evident by looseness of joints, loss of lubricant etc. Kapha can be called the builder of human body, the sustainer, the one which oils the whole machine.

The three Doshas along with seven Dhatus (building blocks) builds the human body. They are the base on which Ayurveda is built, they explain the physiology of human body and the effects of medicine and food on the body. They maintain balance within themselves and with the external factors of Prakruthi (nature) to make a fruitful life for man. They are the force of life which explain the symbiotic existence between man and the nature.
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