by Rainbow Marin

What is a Dosha?  

Your dosha is your mind-body type, or your general constitution. The five great elements (mahabhutas: space,air,fire,water and earth), influence all other elements. Their qualities make up the three doshas. The purpose of knowing your dosha is not to try to make sure all three doshas are equally strong in you, but to understand your natural state of being. When you are in balance you are abundant in all of the positive traits of all the doshas. When you are out of balance you tend to show the negative traits of your dosha first. The more we understand ourselves, the more we can mindfully approach our lives and the way we connect with everything around us, allowing us to be healthy and abundant in all aspects of our body, mind and spirit. Ayurveda is an ancient toolbook to help us do this. So lets talk about the doshas!

Vata Dosha: The Air Principle

Composed of space and air, the Vata person is thin and small with angular features. Imagine the qualities of space: vast, infinite, cold; and air: unpredictable, moving, drying. Vatas are fast paced in all they do. They are good communicators and love to chat. They can also be unreliable and downright flaky. They resist routines and may forget to sleep or eat. When in balance they are full of witty fun and energy. When out of balance they suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, dry skin, constipation and weight loss.

Pitta Dosha: The Fire Principle

Fire and water might seem like an unlikely mix, but they work together and have transformative powers. As in baking, you can mix a liquidy batter, then bake it, and when removed it is no longer the individual ingredients. It has now transformed through fire into a cake! This is the transformative effect of Pitta. They have a medium build, beautiful, penetrating eyes, and a healthy glow. They love order, and can be prone to perfectionism. Because of their strong digestive fire, they can eat what they want, but are usually drawn toward fried and spicy foods which can irritate them. In balance they are good leaders,passionate lovers and educators. When out of balance they can be irritable, unpleasant and furrow their brows alot. They can get acid indigestion, and when angry turn quite red.

Kapha Dosha: The Earth Principal

Made of earth and water, kapha is mud. Slow, moist, compact and heavy. They tend toward a large build and big bones. Large loving eyes and heavy cheeks dominate their face. Everything they do is slow, prefering to take their time. They are methodical and love routine. To others they are grounding and steady, known to be a great listener. When in balance they are the solid foundation of a company or family. Out of balance, they gain weight, become lethargic, become possessive, and produce excess mucus. Any dosha has a risk of struggling with depression when off balance, but Kapha is the quickest to fall into a dark depression, especially in late winter.

Understanding your dosha is an important part of knowing how to better listen to your body and what it needs. Our dosha is influenced greatly by the seasons, and by approaching each season of your life with mindful attention to your personal constitution( dosha), you can find health and balance. Now that we know the very basics of our doshas, next week we will discuss some simple ways to incorporate Ayurveda into our daily routine, and keep our doshas happy!

What's Your Dosha? 

The following evaluation is divided into three sections. Rate yourself between a 0-5 for each question, 0 if it doesn't apply to you at all and 5 if it is absolutely you. Total your scores at the end of each section.

Section 1.

  1. I've always been thin, it's difficult for me to gain weight,

  2. I tend to walk quickly, others have to hurry to keep up.

  3. I am easily nervous and anxious.

  4. I eat quickly.

  5. My mind is fast paced and creative.

  6. I'm a fast learner, but forget quickly.

  7. I pace when I'm on the phone.

  8. I struggle with constipation.

  9. My mind is active and restless.

  10. I blame myself often in conflict.

  11. If left up to me id have no pattern to sleep, eat.

  12. Im easily bored.

  13. Im often cold.

  14. My skin is dry and rough.

  15. I dislike cold and windy weather.

  16. People think I'm an airhead.

  17. Im pretty talkative.

  18. Im a light sleeper, I struggle with insomnia.

  19. I start things often but don't finish them.

  20. I was a fidgety kid.

Section 2.

  1. My eyes are sensitive to the sun.

  2. I have a medium build.

  3. I have a strong appetite.

  4. I hate wasting time.

  5. I love to learn new things.

  6. I plan my days and like to follow an agenda.

  7. I am prone to acid reflux/indigestion.

  8. People say im stubborn.

  9. Im precise and orderly.

  10. I like to see things on their proper place.

  11. I wonder in conflict why people can't see things my way.

  12. If i don't eat on time i get cranky.

  13. I love spending time outdoors.

  14. Im often too warm indoors.

  15. My skin regularly breaks out into rash, hives or i have red blotchy skin.

  16. My stool tends to be loose, i have more than one per day.

  17. I am quick to anger, but get over it quickly.

  18. People say im intense.

  19. Spicy food upsets my stomach.

  20. I am very determined when i decide i want something.

Section 3.

  1. I'm big Boned

  2. I walk slowly, I don't like to feel rushed.

  3. I am stressed out but don't deal with my issues.

  4. I eat slowly. I'm usually the last one finished.

  5. It takes me a bit to learn something but I never forget it!

  6. I look at cake and gain 10 pounds.

  7. I love to cuddle on the couch and read or watch tv for hours without moving.

  8. I love to sleep. I don't consider myself a morning person.

  9. I feel heavy after meals, my digestion is slow.

  10. I'd rather watch sports than do sports.

  11. In conflict I hide and hope it goes away.

  12. If there is food, i want to eat it.

  13. I need at least 8 hours of sleep to feel good the next day.

  14. I dislike cool and damp weather.

  15. I think i have seasonal affective disorder.

  16. I don't like change.

  17. Im affectionate and a good listener.

  18. I struggle with allergies and excess mucus.

  19. I struggle with weight.

  20. Im slow and methodical.

Section 1 score _______ Vata

Section 2 score _______ Pitta

Section 3 score _______ Kapha

Determine which is your highest score. If your total is 85 or more in any one type you are likely a single dosha type. It is also possible to be a two dosha type if your second highest score is very close to your highest. It is very rare to be a tri dosha type, occurring when you have an equal score in all three types.