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Ayurvedic Mind/Body Type Characteristics of The Three Doshas
• Ayurveda identifies three basic types of energy or principles that are present in everything and
everyone: VATA, PITTA, KAPHA
• According to Ayurveda, all human beings, like the Universe, are made up of each of the five
elements (Air, Space, Fire, Water and Earth) and our bodies are a microcosm of the Universe
within itself.
• Each person is born with a unique combination of each of these three doshas, which make up
his or her mind/body type. The goal is to find your particular mind/body type and keep it in
balance for optimum health. This balance is achieved holistically through diet, exercise,
and lifestyle.
fine, usually straight, may be
reddish, sandy, thinning, or
prematurely gray
small, dark, often bright, often gray or blue
close set or wide
thin body frame, medium body frame, often
light muscles, long muscular
legs and arms
dry, rough, thin - warm, pale, ruddy, may have
visible veins
brittle, may have medium in size, pinkish in
low, weak, quick, high, sharp, clear, organized,
thin, dry
medium in size, pinkish in
WALKING PACE quick, uneven,
moderate, goal-oriented
thick, oily, often dark and
large, wide, thick lashes
and brows
solid, sturdy, large bones
and muscles, may be
thick, oily, smooth, cool
large, smooth, white in
deep, slow, silent, good
full, moist
slow, steady
*Extracted from Heal Yourself with Ayurveda by Lisa Coffey
Sylvia Alakusheva
Ayurvedic Mind/Body Type Characteristics of The Three Doshas
• Vata-type people are generally thin and find it hard to gain weight. Because of this, Vatas have
very little energy reserve and can tire easily and get themselves out of balance. Vatas need to
get sufficient rest and not overdo things, stay warm and keep a regular lifestyle routine.
• The Vata dosha controls all movement in the body, including breathing, digestion, and nerve
impulses from the brain. When Vata is out of balance, anxiety and other nervous disorders
may be present. Digestive problems, constipation, cramps, and even premenstrual pain
usually are attributed to a Vata imbalance.
• The most important thing to know about Vata is that it leads the other doshas. Vata usually
goes out of balance first, which causes the early stages of disease. More than half of all
illnesses are Vata disorders. Balancing Vata is important for everyone, because when Vata is
in balance, Pitta and Kapha are generally in balance as well.
• Pitta-type people are generally of medium size and well proportioned. They have a medium
amount of physical energy and stamina. They also tend to be intelligent and have a sharp wit
and a good ability to concentrate.
• Fire is a characteristic of Pitta, whether it shows up as fiery red hair or a short temper. Since
Pittas' body temperature is generally warm, Pitta types can go out of balance with
overexposure to the sun. Their eyes are sensitive to light. They are ambitious by nature but
also can be demanding and abrasive.
• Pitta types are known for their strong digestion but should be careful not to abuse it. Their
heat makes them particularly thirsty, and they should take caution not to douse their agni, or
digestive fire, with too much liquid during meals.
• Pitta dosha leads us to crave moderation and purity. We rely on Pitta to regulate our intake of
food, water, and air. Any toxins, such as alcohol or tobacco, show up as a Pitta imbalance.
Toxic emotions such as jealousy, intolerance, and hatred also should be avoided to keep Pitta
in balance for optimum health.
• Kapha-type people tend to have sturdy, heavy frames, providing a good reserve of physical
strength and stamina. This strength gives Kaphas a natural resistance to disease and a
generally positive outlook about life.
• The Kapha dosha is slow, and Kapha types tend to be slow eaters with slow digestion. They
also speak slowly. They are calm and affectionate but, when out of balance, can become
stubborn and lazy. They learn slowly, with a methodical approach, but also retain information
well with a good understanding of it.
Sylvia Alakusheva
Ayurvedic Mind/Body Type Characteristics of The Three Doshas
• Kapha dosha controls the moist tissues of the body, so a Kapha imbalance may show up as a
cold, allergies, or asthma. This is worse in Kapha season, March through June. Cold and wet
weather aggravates Kapha.
• Kapha types need to progress to stay in balance. They should not dwell in the past or resist
change. They need lots of exercise and need to be careful not to overeat. Kaphas need
stimulation to bring out their vitality. Kapha dosha teaches us steadiness and a sense of wellbeing.
Keep your dosha balanced through healing whole foods and daily practices:
Imbalances occur in our constitution due to changes in the season, the time of day, or the time
in our lives.
When IN
Balance, You
When OUT
Balance, You
Enthusiastic, Alert,
Flexible, Creative,
Restless, Fatigued,
Loving, Content, Affectionate, Steady, Methodical,
High stamina, Resistant to
Dull, Prone to oily skin, Prone to
Frustrated, Angry, allergies, Possessive,
Impatient, Irritable, Oversleeping, Overweight
Prematurely gray or
have early hair loss
*Extracted from Heal Yourself with Ayurveda by Lisa Coffey
Implementing of appropriate lifestyle and dietary changes, and the use of herbs to improve
1/2 tsp daily grated ginger and sea salt
Ghee stimulates digestive fire and improves digestion
Small sips of warm/hot water during a meal aids in digestion and absorption
Chew your food well to ensure that it is well mixed with saliva: as a rule of thumb, fill your
stomach with 1/3 food, 1/3 liquid and leave 1/3 empty
• Eat fruit alone
• Drink digestive teas, such as fennel, ginger and peppermint
According to Ayurveda, dinacharya, or the practice of a balanced daily routine, is one of our
most powerful medicine. Ayurveda also realizes that our practice, lifestyle and diet will change
based on our individual constitution, the time of day, time of year and time of our life.
• Go to bed by 10 PM wake up before 6 AM to get out of the Kapha sluggishness (6-10 Kapha,
10-2 Pitta, 2-6 Vatta)
• Meditate/do breathing exercises (15-20 minutes) in the morning
• Practice 15-20 min of yoga as you rise
• Practice self-massage with sesame or coconut oil (ahbyanga)
• Drink herbal tea (ginger) instead of coffee
Sylvia Alakusheva
Ayurvedic Mind/Body Type Characteristics of The Three Doshas
According to Ayurveda, the critical principles of good health are: how, when and what you eat.
• Eat a light breakfast of seasonal grains and fruits before going to work
• Eat lunch, the largest meal of the day, between 12 and 2 PM (allow for 3-6 hrs between
• Eat dinner before 6-7 PM (smallest meal)
• Participating in cleansing program, such as the Ayurvedic Spring Cleanse, or more extensive
ones like Panchakarma to help the body rid itself of accumulated toxins, ama.
Why Cleansing In The Spring?
• Springtime is dynamic and sensuous. In Ayurveda, the spring is associated with Kapha dosha
imbalances: allergies, colds, weight gain and general lethargy. This is a great time to cleanse
the body and prepare it for the rest of the year.
• Eat detoxing foods and dinacharya (daily practices) to “unclog” your drains and get the lymph
to move and remove toxins effectively.
• It is optimal to go to sleep by 10 pm and wake up by 6 AM, which helps to improve agni and
reduces Kapha resulted from sleeping in.
• Apply some warm sesame or coconut oil to the whole body followed by a hot shower and a
cold rinse. This will help stimulate lymph circulation, calm the nervous system, and improve
general immunity. Avoid dairy products, iced or cold foods or drinks, processed wheat, fried
and oily foods.
• Clear up all clutter in your home and personal life; forgive, love and let go of grudges you are
holding on to.
• Supplemental support to move the lymph and further detox in the spring. Your lymph drains
effectively in an alkaline environment. When the lymph becomes congested, the cells cannot
remove their waste and the white blood cells in the lymph and the immune system become
stuck in traffic. This can cause toxicity in the tissues of the body.
• Use spices, like ginger, cinnamon and black pepper tea or Tulsi tea in the evening helps to
keep the circulatory and digestive system healthy and expel excess mucus. Eat a mono-diet
of local, seasonal vegetables and kichadi (three times a day) to remove toxic waste.
Sylvia Alakusheva