Understanding the Fundamentals of Ayurveda: The Three Doshas
All matter, including the human body, is composed of five elements that serve as the building blocks of existence. In living matter, three forces known as doshas govern all psycho-physiological processes. These doshas, which means "that which causes things to decay," can lead to disease when out of balance with one's constitutional nature or environment. The three doshas are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
Vata, meaning "that which moves things," is primarily composed of air with ether as a secondary element. It is responsible for bodily movement and sensations, as well as mental balance and comprehension.
Pitta, meaning "that which digests things," is primarily made up of fire with water as a secondary element. It regulates chemical and metabolic transformations in the body and governs our ability to digest ideas and impressions.
Kapha, meaning "that which holds things together," is primarily made up of water with earth as a secondary element. It provides strength and stability to the body and mind, and supports the healing process.
Together, the three doshas govern all the activities of life, including catabolism (Vata), metabolism (Pitta), and anabolism (Kapha). An excess of Vata leads to a breakdown of the body's defenses, an excess of Pitta leads to disturbances in metabolism and heat production, and an excess of Kapha leads to increased tissue growth and weight gain.
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