Just like everyone has a unique fingerprint, each person is born with a particular pattern of energy. In Ayurveda, we refer to this concept as prakriti, an ancient Sanskrit word that describes a person’s mind-body type.
When your prakriti is out of balance you may experience anxiety, insomnia, illness, prolonged states of stress and other mental and physical ailments. Ayurvedic practitioners believe that understanding your prakriti is the first step toward restoring balance in every aspect of your life.
Doshas, the energies that make up your prakriti, are described using the universal elements of air, space, fire, water and earth. In Ayurveda, each of these universal elements represent qualities that remain constant throughout your life. These qualities include body type, temperament and genetically inherited mental, physical and emotional traits.
Understanding your prakriti, or unique blend of doshas, can help you learn more about your strengths and weaknesses as well as how to use those characteristics to your ultimate advantage.
Want to know more? Take our Dosha Quiz now to discover your own mind-body type and learn what tools are right for you.
Kapha, meaning “that which sticks,” is a force conceptually made up of earth and water elements. As the principle of stabilizing energy, Kapha dosha governs growth in the body and mind and is related to organic tissues, fluids and other substances.
People with a dominant Kapha dosha can be described as easygoing, affectionate, patient and reliable. Though they are slow to learn, Kaphas typically have outstanding long-term memories.
Physically, these individuals tend to be big-boned or heavy set. They often have thick, dark, soft, wavy hair, bright complexions and large, warm eyes. Due to slow digestion, Kaphas consume less food even though they have a regular appetite.
Kaphas are generally healthy, happy and peaceful when in a state of balance. When experiencing imbalance, however, they are prone to bouts of depression, laziness, excessive weight gain, sinus congestion and asthma.
Vata, meaning “wind” or “to move,” is a force conceptually made up of space and air elements. As the principle of kinetic energy, Vata governs movement within the mind and body. It controls the movements of fluids and cells throughout the body, as well as the activity of organs, muscles, nerves and thought.
People with a predominantly Vata dosha can be described as imaginative or creative and are typically lively, excitable and prone to feeling ‘all over the place.’ Vata body types are usually slender, light and have a difficult time gaining weight; partially due to their inconsistent eating habits and daily routine.
Physically, these individuals often have dry skin, curly or thin hair, and small, active eyes. Mentally, Vata’s tend to learn and grasp new knowledge quickly, but forget it just as easily.
When in balance, these individuals are mentally alert and have an abundance of creative energy. Maintaining a regular routine is especially important for Vata types, as they are prone to impulsiveness or anxiety and easily forget to take care of themselves
When Vata is out of balance, individuals tend to suffer from insomnia, worry, chronic fatigue, indecision and mental confusion
Pitta, meaning “that which heats,” is a force conceptually made up of fire and water elements. As the principle of transformative energy, the Pitta dosha controls digestive and metabolic activity, endocrine and enzyme systems, and body temperature.
People with a dominant Pitta dosha are often assertive, confident, competitive and entrepreneurial. Because of their sharp intellect, they tend to have good powers of comprehension and are good public speakers.
Physically, these individuals are typically of medium height and frame. Their skin is often soft and warm, spotted with freckles or moles, and their hair is fine, straight and silky. Although their skin ages slowly, Pittas are prone to premature graying or balding.
Pittas are generally ambitious, confident people who are good leaders when in a state of balance. When experiencing imbalance, however, they can be aggressive, irritable, argumentative or reckless. An imbalanced Pitta can also be prone to fitful sleep or disturbing dreams, ulcers or heartburn, diarrhea, skin inflammation and bad breath.