The difference between your dosha and your constitution is based on two concepts; your current state versus what you were born with. Your natural tendency, or your Prakruti, is established at birth and is a stamp of all three doshas at the point of your creation. This lends to the patterns of what you tend towards for the rest of your life. If you were born with a higher Vata dosha, you most likely will spend a majority of your life experiencing vata qualities such as creativity, free flowingness, taller and leaner build, and mental and physical flexibility.
However, there is also your current state which fluctuates through the seasons and is called your Vikruti. If you don't have a routinely balanced diet and lifestyle, you may develop an imbalance in one of the doshas, multiple times throughout your life. All this aside you might be sitting there thinking “what even is a dosha, a prakriti or a vikriti?”
We all have tendencies towards gaining weight, experiencing anxiety, or having a short temper. Do you feel like in general you have always felt a certain way, but during different seasons you tend to feel “off”?
In Ayurveda there are the three Doshas that govern the human body connecting us to nature; Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. These are responsible for individual differences and preferences that influence everything we do. They all present qualities and elements of nature as we are all manifestations of nature itself.
In Ayurveda, Doshas can be pretty intricate. From your personal Constitutional Dosha (prakruti), to the time of the day, or the seasons and your current condition (vikruti), they can all be a different dosha. However, let’s just focus on your Constitutional Dosha (prakriti) to understand your physical, emotional, and mental tendencies.
Your individual constitution (prakruti) is acquired at birth and stays the same throughout your life. There are three general categories (Vata, Pitta, Kapha), and combinations of them do exist. These categories aren’t created to box someone in or create a stereotype, but help clarify tendencies for illness, emotions, and lifestyles.
If you have yet to take our Dosha quiz, you can find it at Here then read below for the different characteristics for each Dosha.
Remember, the Dosha that will stay the same for your whole life is your prakruti. Your altered state of being in the past few months is your vikruti. For instance your prakruti could be you have always had a tendency to be really loving, move slower, and like to sleep. However, in the past few months you started a new job and are experiencing anxiety, stress, and mental disorders (your vikruti). Ayurveda would come up with a plan to help bring you back into balance with your prakruti!
Characteristics of the Doshas
Vata is air, heady, and always moving. Vata tends to be displayed on light and flexible bodies. Their skin tends to be cold, rough, dry, or can crack easily. They are usually tall or very short with thin frames and tend to have dark, coarse hair.
The appetite and digestion of Vata people is variable. Sometimes they have no appetite and sometimes they can eat a large meal easily. They have a tendency towards constipation and bloating. Their sleep is light and can be easily disturbed while their dreams are oriented towards flying, jumping, running, or fear. Their circulation is slow so their hands and feet tend to be cold.
Vata people are creative, active, alert, and restless. They can tend to talk fast, move quickly but can get tired easily. They have quick mental capacity, but can have short memory or be absent-minded. Vata people tend to go with the flow and are easy to change.
Out of balance they can be indecisive and impatient. They tend to think and worry too much. When out of balance they are overly nervous and fearful. The disease tendencies are generally mental disorders or anxiety. They are loving people, but could tend to love out of fear of being alone. Due to their flexibility and movement, they like to move their furniture around frequently or move frequently, never staying in one place long. Due to their active nature they can make good money, but can easily spend it. Out of balance Vata people can become anti-social and get annoyed that people aren’t on the same quick pace as them. Their elements are Ether (space) and air.
Out of balance digestion for the vata comes as bloating, constipation, gas, undigested food leading to malnutrition and low body weight.
Pitta is fire, oil, and penetration. Pitta individuals generally are of medium height, moderate in weight, frame and muscle. They tend to not gain or lose weight easily. They can be disciplined, active, and excellent leaders. They seek to have power and get their name known. Pitta people can be blessed with wisdom– enough to go bald!
They tend to have a red or yellowish complexion. Their skin is soft, warm, oily, and less wrinkled than Vata skin. They have good color and may be flushed often. Their hair is thin, silky, brown or reddish. Their eyes are generally grey, green, or copper-brown. Their body temperature is high and their hands and feet tend to be warm. Too much working out, activity, and sunlight can overheat them.
Pitta Individuals have good comprehension of things, are intelligent, sharp, and can speak well. Their emotional tendencies are anger, jealousy, or perhaps hatred. If they get out of balance they can be reactionary. Most of the time they’d be the one swearing if a car cut them off. They can be very ambitious and are great leaders but can be judgmental, critical, and perfectionists. Pitta individuals tend towards “noble” professions and make money and yet spend it on luxurious items. Their dreams tend to be fiery, angry, passionate, and colorful. Their disease tendencies are heat (ex. blisters or ulcers), infections or inflammation. They have a sharp memory. Pitta people tend to have moderate sleep yet uninterrupted. Pitta people love to be on the go and active. They are all around go-getters. Their elements are fire and water.
Kapha is earthy, watery, and heavy. individuals tend to have well-developed bodies. Out of balance they can tend to carry excess weight. They have thicker skin and veins and tendons aren’t easily seen. Their skin tends to be soft, moist, and cold and have good muscle development.. Their hair is often thick, soft, and wavy. Kapha people usually have a steady appetite and thirst, but can tend to have slow digestion and metabolism. They tend to move slowly and do things on their own time.
Kapha people have a tendency towards being homebodies and are not likely to travel too often. They are tolerant, calm, loving, and forgiving and are all around very nurturing and great listeners. They tend to love sleep and love their bed but have very heavy sleep that can be excessive or prolonged. Their dreams tend to be watery, romantic, or swimming oriented. They have the best endurance and stamina out of all the doshas. They can be very healthy and content with their lives.
Although they tend to be the most loving and nurturing people, they can also have traits such as greed, envy, attachment, and possessiveness when out of balance. Their faith is generally very strong, steady, and loyal. Their disease tendencies are mucus, colds, and phlegm. Overall, they can be very healthy and endowed with strength and a peaceful mindset. Their elements are water and earth.
One Size Does Not Fit All
It is important to remember that in Ayurveda, and holistic health in general, not one size fits all. Most people will fall into all three of these categories but the doshas will manifest differently. Ayurveda teaches that each person will tend toward one dosha specifically, but it doesn't mean the others do not exist at all in that person. We all have all three doshas, we just have different combinations of them.
That is how Ayurveda uses the understanding of the Doshas to see what activities, spices, foods, and lifestyles are best for you! In our consultations we work with you one on one to optimize your health, energy, and disease tendencies based on what combination of the doshas you are!
If you are interested in knowing what your dosha is, take our Dosha quiz here!