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Subdoshas & the Air Element

by Sheyna Haisman-Holmes

As we descend more into Vata season, we can feel the effects of the air and ether elements more strongly. Within the three main doshas (Vata, Pitta & Kapha) there are five subdoshas each, representing the five elements. The five subdoshas of vata are: prāna (ether), udāna (air), samāna (fire), apāna (earth) and vyāna (water). These each have specialized functions, locations and movement within the body. Across these three main doshas, the subdoshas associated with the air element are udāna vayu, ālochaka pitta and avalambaka kapha.

Udāna Vayu~

Diaphragm & throat

Udvahana= moves upward

Moves upwards through lungs, bronchi, trachea and throat. Udāna vayu stimulates the memory by reaching the brain. The nerve impulse of udāna is in the tracheal plexus. It is in the process of exhalation, speech and expression.

Disorders: difficult speech, stuttering, muttering, lack of memory, lack of creativity, lack of sense of goals, discoloration of the skin, hoarse voice, asthma, pneumonia, emphysema, strong blushing

Ālochaka Pitta~

Ālochaka is in the eyes and in charge of luster, translucence and color of the eye. It maintains temperature, focus, vision of light, color vision and temperature of the eyeball. It holds the blueprint for tears of all different emotions.

Disorders: shortsightedness, farsightedness, conjunctivitis, sties, burning in eyes, light sensitivity, suppressed tears, avoidance of seeing reality

Avalambaka Kapha~

Avalambaka is in the spine, lungs and heart. It carries prāna from the lungs to every cell in the entire body. It is pleural fluid, pericardial fluid and bronchial secretions. It gets rid of carbon dioxide and its watery quality helps the oxygenated blood to be carried throughout the body and to the heart. Avalambaka protects the lungs and the heart muscle and supports alveoli, intercostal muscles and ribs. Sadness and grief are held in the lungs and this emotional holding can affect the lungs.

Disorders: bronchitis, asthma, bronchiectasis, pneumonia, and emphysema

May we all be grounded and well nourished. May we take big healthy breaths and take care of our lungs, eyes and emotional wellbeing 🙂


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