Institute of Integrative Ayurveda Medical Education

Back to Self-Pulse Introduction

Prakriti: Ayurveda Constitutional Type

Qualities and Characteristic of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha

If we learn the genetically inherited strength of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha within us, it will help us understand why we have the physiological characteristics we do.

Following are descriptions of the defining characteristics of Vata, Pita, and Kapha and how they lead to the different Ayurvedic body types.

Qualities of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha

Vata
Moving, quick, light, minute, rough, dry, leads Pitta and Kapha

Pitta
hot, sharp, light, acidic, slightly oily

Kapha
Heavy, oily, slow, cold, steady, solid, dull

Characteristics of Vata, Pitta, or Kapha
Predominance in the Physiology"Constitutional Body Type"

As you read the qualities of the three doshas listed below, think about which best describes you. That dosha is your "predominant" dosha. Everyone has all three doshas lively within them, but 1 or 2 are usually more predominant than the others.

Vata
•           Lighter, thinner build
•           Performs activity quickly
•           Tendency toward dry skin especially in winter
•           Aversion to cold weather
•           Irregular hunger and digestion
•           Quick to grasp new information, also quick to forget
•           Tendency toward worry
•           Tendency toward constipation
•           Tendency toward light and interrupted sleep
•           Enthusiastic and vivacious by nature
•           Walks quickly
•           Difficulty making decisions or often changes mind
•           Talkative

Pitta
•           Moderate build
•           Performs activity with medium speed
•           Aversion to hot weather
•           Perspires easily
•           Prefers cold food and drinks
•           Sharp hunger and digestion
•           Can not skip meals
•           Medium time to grasp new information
•           Medium memory
•           Strong intellect
•           Great precision and organization
•           Tendency toward reddish hair and complexion, moles, and freckles
•           Good public speakers
•           Tendency toward irritability and anger
•           Enterprising and sharp in character

Kapha
•           Solid, heavier build
•           Gains weight easily
•           Greater strength and endurance
•           Oily, smooth skin
•           Slow digestion, mild hunger
•           Can skip lunch without significant discomfort
•           Tranquil, steady personality
•           Slow to grasp new information, slow to forget
•           Slow to become excited or irritated
•           Sleep is heavy and long
•           Hair is plentiful, thick, and wavy
•           Tendency to excess mucous, chronic congestion, sinus problems, allergies
•           Tendency toward lethargy and depression
•           Performs activity slowly
•           Sweet and happy by nature

Effects of Balanced and Imbalanced Doshas

Qualities of Balance and Imbalance in Vata, Pitta, and Kapha

You can use the following charts to help identify the dosha that is most imbalanced. This is important because this dosha imbalance is the root cause of symptoms that appear on the material level of your body. The Ayurvedic approach is not to treat symptoms but to treat the underlying imbalances in Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. When these imbalances disappear, usually symptoms disappear too.

Vata

Balance

Imbalance

Mental alertness

Dry or rough skin

Normal elimination

Insomnia

Enthusiasm & Exhilaration

Constipation

Sound sleep

Fatigue

Strong immunity

Tension headaches

Proper formation of body tissues

Intolerance of cold

 

Underweight

 

Anxiety, worry

Pitta

Balance

Imbalance

Normal heat & thirst mechanisms

Rashes, skin inflammations

Strong digestion

Heartburn

Lustrous complexion

Visual problems

Sharp Intellect

Excessive body heat

Contentment

Premature graying, baldness

 

Hostility, irritability

Kapha

Balance

Imbalance

Muscular strength

Oily skin

Vitality and stamina

Slow digestion

Strong immunity

Sinus congestion

Affection, generosity, courage

Nasal allergies

Stability of mind

Obesity

Healthy, normal joints

Lethargy, dullness