According to Ayurveda, your dosha is one of three substances that are present in a person’s body and controls your responses to mental and physical stimuli. Just like each person is unique, like a snowflake, so are the amounts of dosha in your body. When you understand what amount of dosha are present, you can find what makes you healthiest and happiest to better balance yourself.
Ayuerveda is a system of Indian medicine with its roots in ancient philosophies. The central concept of Ayurvedic medicine is the theory that health exists when there is a balance between three fundamental bodily bio-elements or doshas called Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Doshas are the forces that create the physical body and the determine the course of our life (growth, aging, diseases we may develop). Every element in your body is controlled by your doshas.
There are three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each of these play a dynamic role in who you are and how you respond to the world around you. Any habits you make are manifestations of your dosha. I think of it similar to Freud’s Id, Ego, and Superego, where we’re controlled by these “powers” within us.
Vata is an airy element. It’s characterized by properties of dry, cold, light, and movement. It governs movement in the body as well as the nervous system.
Those with a lot of Vata tend to be active and always on the move. Physically, you are leaner and agile. When out of alignment, you could feel anxious and flighty.
Pitta is a fiery element. It’s characterized by hotness, liquid, sharp and sour, its chief quality is heat. Pitta controls digestion and metabolism. It’s also responsible for energy production and transformation.
If you have a lot of Pitta, you have a fiery temper. They’re also witty and sharp, with excellent concentration. When out of alignment, excess Pitta causes you to have rashes or a burning sensation.
Kapha is a water element. It’s characterized by heaviness, cold, tenderness, softness, slowness, and lubrication. It is the carrier of nutrients in the body and all soft organs are made of kapha. It holds your cells together and is tasked with protecting you.
With balanced kapha, you’re a strong, steady type who enjoys routine. They’re also thoughtful and supportive. When out of alignment, excess Kapha leads to weight gain and a resistance to change.
Balance Your Body
Each of us have different amounts of dosha that make our personalities what they are, but to remain in optimum health, doshas can’t be out of alignment. We typically have one dosha that dominates our body to determine our constitution (or mind-body type). When you understand what dosha is over- or under-producing in your body, you can adjust your activities to bring your body back to balance.
The resources linked above break down the characteristics of dosha really well. It also suggests ways to bring yourself back to alignment if you notice that you have more or less of one dosha than another.