Ayurveda and Doshas

If you have stopped by a Whole Foods lately, you may notice that many organic and all-natural stores are increasingly offering “ayurvedic” products. Until I began studying ayurveda, this translated as homeopathic, good-smelling, natural, and kitchy to me. I found myself buying flower essences, infused shampoos, and lavendar kombucha just because it sounded healthy and yoga-esque.

What I hope to encourage is not the discontinuance of such products, but rather a more knowledgable and purposeful application of ayurvedic remedies and ingredients. Before you start dabbling in such practice, however, it is imperative to know the basis for this trend.

Ayurveda, in Sanskrit, is comprised of two words: ayus and veda. Ayus = life and veda = knowledge. Ayurveda can thus be roughly translated to “knowledge of life”. This ancient Indian science is based upon improvement of life through balance of  physical body, mind, senses, and the soul. The aforementioned characteristics can be described through doshas (elemental energies):

  • Vata
  • Pitta
  • Kapha

Every person on this earth is comprised of all three doshas, lending three different yet harmonious characteristics to the human experience. The following table describes the nature of each dosha and its effect on the human experience:


Though we are all comprised of all three doshas, we tend to have one predominant dosha, one secondary dosha, and one minor dosha. For example, I am a primary Vata with secondary Pitta.

To find your predominant dosha, you can take this quiz .

My next posts will dive deeper into the imbalance of these doshas, and ways to create more harmony.


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