Out of the famous five elements, called the Maha Bhutas in Sanskrit, meaning the Great Elements:
Ether / Air / Fire / Water / Earth
come the famous three doshas:
Vata / Pitta / Kapha
VATAis the combination of Ether and Air.
You can think of it as wind and space. Wind is space/air in movement, so Vata governs all the movements of the body, mind, senses and the process of elimination.
Mentally it is responsible for having an open mind, lightness in spirit, sense of humour, creativity, intuition, clarity and the opening of the third eye during meditation.
PITTAis the combination of Fire and Water.
It governs our internal heat, metabolism, energy production and digestive functions (digestion of food, thoughts, emotions).
Mentally it is responsible for brightness in the mind and sharpness of the mind: highly intellectual, motivation, understanding, and having a “let’s get things done” attitude.
KAPHAis the combination of Water and Earth.
It is responsible for our physical stability (bones), proper body structure, and our entire fluid balance.
Mentally it is responsible for stability, groundedness, good memory, having a committed attitude.
The qualities of Vata Dosha are: Dry, cold, rough, light, subtle, mobile, clear.
It’s attribute (addedquality) is dispersing.
The qualities of Pitta Dosha: Oily, hot, light (illuminating and light in weight), liquid, sharp (penetrating), mobile (spreading). It’s attribute is fleshy (smell).
The qualities of Kapha Dosha are: Oily, cold, heavy, slow, static (stable), dense, slimy (smooth), cloudy (sticky) and soft.
It’s attribute are hard and gross.
So, when we experience any of these qualities either physically or mentally, we must use the opposite quality to bring balance.
If there is excess dryness in the body/mind (dry skin, dry hair, dry nails, cracked lips, internal dryness resulting in constipation, movement in the mind/too many thoughts, worry/fear/anxiety, our Vata element is high.
If there is excess heat in the body/mind (fever, inflammation, hot temper/irritability, diahroea, ulcers on the tongue or in stomach, excess sweat, acne, skin rashes), our Pitta element is high.
If there is excess heaviness in the body/mind (excess body weight, cellulite, water retention, swelling, puffiness, sluggish digestion, cold clammy hands/feet, heavy clouded mind), our Kapha element is high.
Each and every one of us is born with a particulour mix of the doshas, called our Prakruti (constitution).
Our Prakruti is influenced by our parents, our mother’s diet and emotional state during the pregnancy, our past-life karmas and other influences.
This Prakruti is our individual blueprint of our emotional, physical and energetic body. Like a fingerprint, none of us have the exact same.
We can have a singular Prakruti (for example purely Vata, Pitta or Kapha), dual Prakruti (Vata as primary but Pitta following very closely which would be considered Vata/Pitta, or Pitta/Vata, Pitta/Kapha or Kapha/Pitta etc.etc.) or Tri-doshic which is when an individual has all three doshas in exact dosage.
It is important to remember that we all contain the 5 elements, but all in different percentages.
What is also important to understand is that not one Prakruti is “better” than another. Each and every Prakruti brings forth its strengths and it’s weaknesses.
By knowing what is one’s Prakruti, helps you understand these naturally born strengths and weaknesses and how to work with your nature bringing a balanced happy healthy body and mind, rather than going against your nature and bringing imbalance, ill-health and unhappiness.
“As is a man’s will, so is his action. As is his action, so he becomes” – Brihadaranyaka U 4.5
“The doshas are the invisible orchestra that control all the functions of the body, shaping how we look, our metabolic process, how we think, feel and respond to our surrounding.”- Melanie Sachs.
As we have our born Prakruti, which remains the same throughout our entire lives, we also have our Vikruti, which is our present imbalance.
It is important to know our Prakruti for general guidelines to set throughout our lives, however, it is even more important for us to know our Vikruti. This way we know what is out of balance at this very moment, and can then implement the diet, lifestyle etc. to bring us back into balance.
Determining your Prakruti and Vikruti is done through the reading of the pulse of an Ayurvedic Practitioner. . The practitioner will then also look at other characteristics such as your body frame, skin texture, face shape and expression, eyes, ears, etc. and talk to you to get more information to get a full picture.
“Order is the state of health. This exists when the digestive fire (Agni) is in a balanced condition; the bodily humors (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) are in equilibrium, the three waste products (urine, feces and sweat) are produced and eliminated normally, the seven bodily tissues (Dhatus) are functioning normally, and the mind, senses and consciousness are working harmoniously together.” – Dr. Vasant Lad, B.A.M.S., M.A. Sc.
When the balance of these systems is disturbed, the dis-ease (dis-order) process begins.
The internal environment is governed by Vata, Pitta and Kapha, which are constantly reacting to the external environment. The wrong diet, habits, lifestyle, incompatible food combinations (for example milk and fish, melons and grains, yogurt and meat or eating cooked honey etc.) seasonal changes, repressed emotions and stress factors can all act either together or separately to change the balance of Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
According to the nature of the cause, Vata, Pitta or Kapha undergo aggravation or derangement which affects the agni (gastric fire) and produces ama (toxins).
This ama enters the blood stream and is circulated throughout the body, clogging the channels. Retention of toxins in the blood results in toxemia. This accumulated toxicity, once well established, will slowly affect our Prana (vital life energy or chi), Ojas (our entire immune system of our body, mind and spirit) and Tejas (cellular metabolic energy), resulting in disease. This can be nature’s effort to eliminate toicity from the body. Every so-called disease is a crisis of Ama toxicity. Ama is the basic internal cause of all disease, due to the aggravated doshas.
Here is the key to prevention of disease: help the body eliminate the toxins. To stop the further production of Ama, Ayurvedic literature suggests putting the person on a proper diet with appropriate lifestyle, habits and exercise and administering a proper cleansing program such as Panchakarma.
Pancha Karma: Ayurveda’s detoxifying system
Pancha (Five) Karma (Actions) is a cleansing and rejuvenating program for the body, mind and consciousness.
According to Ayurveda, our natural state is one of health, happiness and an inner sense of well-being. Health is defined as the body being clear of toxins, the mind is at peace, emotions are calm and happy, wastes are efficiently eliminated and organs are functioning normally.
In a busy, stressful and toxic workd, our physical and mental systems accumulate toxins causing deterioration in bodily functioning. This eventually weakens our systems, which opens the door for chronic, degenerative, and non-specific diseases to develop. These can evolve into serious specific diseases, ultimately damaging an individal’s health and wellness.
Panchakarma can help by reversing these negative effects of daily living. It can restore your natural state of health and wellness by cleansing your body of toxins, bringing balance into your system and improving bodily function. It can also help yo sustain this process by making positive changes in lifestyle.
The Panchakarma therapeutic process appears quite simple in its application. However, its effects are powerful and effective. Panchakarma is a unique, natural, holistic, health-giving series of therapeutic treatments that cleanse the body’s deep tissues of toxins, open the subtle channels, bring life-enhancing energy thereby increasing vitality, inner peace, confidence and well-being.