We all have a constitution.   This is our basic, unchanging elemental makeup that is set at conception and remains the same throughout life.   In Ayurveda we see the constitution in terms of the 5 basic elements: earth, water, fire, air and space. 

5 Elements

These elements are often seen in the mind and body in combinations which we call doshas; three principles which govern our minds and bodies.  These doshas have biological and energetic properties and regulate all physiological and psychological aspects of our lives.

We are all born with a unique and individual combination of these doshas (our constitution), which defines the ways our bodies and minds naturally function and respond. It is important to be aware of our doshas as it is only when they are in their natural balanced state that we remain in health.   When they get out of balance, diseases occur. You can find out more about your constitution and imbalance with the new Ayurvedic Health Check Report here.

Elements and Doshas

Recognise any of these constitutions?

For example, someone who has mostly air and space elements in their body and mind will have a vata constitution which can be represented like this and would have characteristics of changeability, dryness, lightness and coldness (read more on vata here).

Vata constitution
A vata constitution. Notice that vata is naturally present in the greatest amount.

Or a fiery pitta constitution would look like this and would be hot, intense and have moderate build (read more on pittahere).

Pitta constitution
A pitta constitution. Notice that pitta is naturally present in the greatest amount.

Sometimes people can have two main doshas, for example a pitta-kapha constitution like this and would have a combination of kapha’s heavy, firm oiliness and pitta’s fire and intensity (read more on kapha and pitta here) .

Kapha - pitta constitution
A kapha-pitta constitution. Notice that kapha is naturally present in the greatest amount, followed closely by pitta.

Some people have all the luck and have a tridoshic constitution, this is the strongest constitution as it’s the easiest to manage. 

Tridoshic constitution
A tridoshic constitution. Notice that all the doshas are naturally present in similar amounts.

Sometimes (OK, often) we get out of balance

All of the above are examples of constitutions. If we lived in accordance with these; ate, drank, lived with these in mind, avoided exacerbating factors, we’d have these levels of doshas all the time and be happy and healthy.  Sadly, most of us don’t live like this, through choice or circumstance, and our doshas get pushed out of balance. 

How does this happen? This happens according to the rule of like increases like. If you consume lots of fiery foods and drinks (e.g. chillies, garlic, alcohol), the amount of fire (and thus pitta) in the body increases. If you eat lots of airy foods (e.g. crackers, popcorn), the quantity of air (and thus vata) in the being increases.

It is often our most dominant dosha which goes out of balance.  For example, the person with the vata constitution above eating lots of vata-increasing foods and having vata-increasing lifestyle factors, could end up with a vata imbalance as below. This could show up, for example, with constipation, gas and insomnia.

Vata constitution - vata imbalance
A vata constitution with a vata imbalance. Notice that all doshas have a little imbalance (the darker coloured sections on top) but it is vata which is most out of balance.

It doesn’t always have to be this way. Commonly other doshas will go out of balance too. For example, with the person below, there is a pitta dominant constitution but the kapha has gone out of balance. She could be experiencing excess mucus, congestion or water retention for example.

Pitta constitution - kapha imbalance
A pitta constitution with a kapha imbalance. Notice that all doshas have a little imbalance (the darker coloured sections on top) but it is kapha which is most out of balance.

Anyone can have an imbalance (and lots of us do!). In this example, someone has a kapha-pitta constitution and pitta has gone out of balance. Likely symptoms, amongst many others, could be hypertension, skin inflammation and feeling more angry.

Kapha - pitta constitution - Pitta imbalance
A kapha- pitta constitution with a pitta imbalance. Notice that all doshas have a little imbalance (the darker coloured sections on top) but it is pitta which is most out of balance.

Redressing the imbalance

It comes back to the simple, like increases like rule. If like increases like then opposites must decrease. If we want to bring down a pitta imbalance, we use diet and lifestyle that has opposite qualities to those of pitta.

Myth buster:  we are not looking to get all our doshas equal as some people assume.  The aim is to keep the doshas the same as we were born with, this is our sweet spot, our balanced place. 

So what does the picture of your health look like?

You may have a very good idea of what your constitution is, and even what may be out of balance for you. If you don’t, the new Ayurvedic Health Check Report is a really good way to find out. This in-depth analysis of your constitutional and current state will give you a full report with plenty of clear diagrams and explanations. It will take you through:

  • full analysis of your dosha constitution
  • detailed analysis of your dosha imbalances and where these are likely to be found in the system
  • a guide to your likely levels of āma (toxicity) in the 7 tissues and the digestive tract
  • personalised guidance on how to rectify your imbalances using both diet and lifestyle
  • advice on how to eliminate any āma in the system

All the reports are compiled by a fully qualified Ayurvedic Practitioner BSc Ayu, MAPA (aka me, Kate Siraj).

If you think this would be helpful, head over to the Health Check page here.

Until next time, take care of yourselves.


Categories: BlogTheory


FR · August 8, 2019 at 13:22

Excellent blog. Helpful for me. Thanks.

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