Ayurveda, which translates as “knowledge of life,” dates back 5,000 years to the ancient Sanskrit texts, the Vedas. It’s a system of healing that examines physical constitution, emotional nature, and spiritual outlook in the context of the universe. According to the philosophy, universal life force manifests as three different energies, or dosha, known as vata, pitta, and kapha. We’re all made up of a unique combination of these three forces. Though everyone has some of each, most people tend to have an abundance of one or two of the doshas. This unique combination is determined at the moment of conception, and is your own personal blueprint, or prakriti (nature). As you move through life, the proportion of each of the three doshas constantly fluctuates according to your environment, your diet, the seasons, the climate, your age, and many other factors. As they move into and out of balance, the doshas can affect your health, energy level, and general mood.
Kapha types have strong frames and are naturally athletic as long they are exercising regularly to manage their tendency to gain weight. The influence of the earth and water elements makes them innately stable, compassionate, and loyal. They appreciate doing things in a methodical, step-by-step manner, and prefer a regular routine in their personal and professional lives. When imbalanced they can become unmotivated, stubborn, and complacent even when change is necessary. Their metabolism tends to be slow and their appetite for both food and stimulation is less intense than vata or pitta types. They benefit from exposing themselves to new environments, people, and occasionally fasting.
Pitta types are dominated by the fire element, which makes them naturally strong, intense, and irritable. They tend to have a medium build and endurance with powerful musculature. They often have freckled skin that easily reddens in the sun, during exercise, massage, and when blushing. They are strong willed and good at doing what they think is right. They approach work and play with the same intensity and competitiveness. They are natural leaders and quick learners whose ability to easily comprehend and master new skills and concepts can make them judgmental or impatient toward people they feel are slower or less focused than themselves. They have strong digestion and intense appetites, both for food and challenges. If they miss a meal, they are likely to become grumpy (and that’s putting it mildly). It is common for them to suffer from health conditions such as inflammation, rashes, acne, and loose stool. For balance, pittas need to manage their “fiery” tendencies, channeling them in productive ways and learning to recognize their destructive power.
Vata types tend to be thin and lanky. They are very mentally and physically active and enjoy creative endeavors, meeting new people, and traveling to new places. When they are balanced, vatas are flexible, have lively imaginations, and are original thinkers. When imbalanced they can get anxious, ungrounded, and can seem “flaky” about fulfilling commitments, sticking to a routine, and completing projects. They tend to run cold and dry and enjoy warm, humid weather. It’s common for vata types to experience cold hands and feet, constipation, dry skin, and cracking joints. The influence of the air element in their constitution causes their energy, mood, and appetite to fluctuate dramatically. For this reason, vata types often fail to eat and sleep regularly, swinging from eating heavy foods to ground and sedate themselves, or ingesting stimulants like coffee and sugar to sustain intense physical or mental activity. Insomnia and low immunity are very common problem for the sensitive vata person.
There are many free tests online to figure out your Dosha. Here's a super simple one from Chopra we like!