Tridoshas in Ayurveda – Vata, Pitta & Kapha

by Dr. Prasanna Venkatesh

For any problem if we approach any Ayurveda doctor, they explain all the things in-terms of three Doshas, as these are the very basic things in Ayurveda.

The word “Dosha” says “the elements / things which makes imbalance with their contact(s) when they are imbalanced.”

ದೂಷಯನ್ತಿ ಇತಿ ದೋಷಾಃ  ||

ತಾವು ವಿಕೃತವಾದಾಗ ತಮ್ಮ ಸಂಪರ್ಕಕ್ಕೆ ಬರುವ ಎಲ್ಲವನ್ನೂ ಏರುಪೇರು ಮಾಡಿಸುತ್ತವೆ ಎಂಬರ್ಥ.

Ayurveda considers our body as the subtle form of the Universe (ಬ್ರಹ್ಮಾಂಡ).  Which are all the things in this Universe will be present in our body also. Basically Indian philosophy says there are 5 basic elements (ಪಂಚಮಹಾಭೂತಗಳು).

They are

  1. Pruthvi (ಪೃಥ್ವಿ) – Can take it as Earth element
  2. Ap (ಅಪ್) – Water element
  3. Teja (ತೇಜ / ಅಗ್ನಿ) – Fire element
  4. Vaayu (ವಾಯು) – Air element
  5. Akaasha (ಆಕಾಶ) – Space element.

For the easy understanding & for easy maintenance of health, the combination of Pruthvi & Ap – is considered as KAPHA (ಕಫ); the combination of Teja & Ap – is considered as PITTA (ಪಿತ್ತ); the combination of Vaayu & Akaasha – is considered as VAATA (ವಾತ).


The combination of VAAYU (Air element) & AKAASHA (Space element) is called as VAATA.

Let us try to understand how it is.

In the external world, we can’t see the air usually. But we can feel it, we can observe it’s actions. Here we can observe the qualities of air – movement, lightness, dryness, roughness, subtleness etc.

In the external world, we can observe that, both fire & water are dependent on AIR. In our body also including Pitta & Kapha, all the elements, factors are dependent on VAATA.

We can observe that – if the wind blows very fast / very slow, very hot / very cold, all will create problems. The same thing happens in our body also.

If we see the actions of this VAATA (in it’s normal status) in our body, it is responsible for ENERGY & DESIRE, BREATHING (both inhalation & exhalation), all kinds of ACTIVITIES (physical, mental), natural urges (like bowel movements, urination etc), to maintain the normalcy of all the body tissues, proper functioning of all sense organs.



As there is heat energy in the Universe (ಬ್ರಹ್ಮಾಂಡ), we have the same kind of energy / heat inside our body also.  That is named as PITTA.

As the fire (ಅಗ್ನಿ) bakes / cooks the materials & transforms into some other form, PITTA does the same kind of action in our body also.

It divides the materials into essence (ಸಾರಭಾಗ) & waste (ಕಿಟ್ಟ / ಮಲ ಭಾಗ) parts. (Ref : ಅಷ್ಟಾಂಗ ಹೃದಯ; ಸೂತ್ರ; 12). It controls digestion, absorption and nutrition. (This essence part nourishes our body & the waste materials will be eliminated out.)

This PITTA also is the responsible factor for our body temperature, colour & complexion, vision, our knowledge, intelligence, self consciousness etc.  In simple words, we can say that PITTA is the energy that controls the METABOLISM in the body.



The combination of PRUTHVI (Earth element) & AP (Water element) is called as Kapha.

Let us understand how it is.

For example: While constructing a building, the proper combination of CEMENT & WATER will be the basic & important strength giving factor. In the same way, in our body also the combination of PRUTHVI (as cement), Ap (as water) is considered as Kapha and is the responsible factor for proper binding, good strength, consistency, stability (of both mind & body), softness of the body, long & quality life.

It is also of 5 types. (Division is done based on its seat & action).

Author is Chief Physician, Sriranga Ayurveda Chikitsa Mandira, Prakruthi Ayurveda Pratistana ®, Mysore

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