The Three Doshas in Ayurveda

Thridoshas Sri Lanka
Image: Amuna Ayurveda Retreat Sri Lanka

Ayurveda, originated in India, is often called the mother of all healing. Ayurveda is defined as the science of life management. Among its theories, Tridosha principles are the most important and basic concepts of Ayurveda.

It’s a theory that states health exists when there is a balance between three fundamental bodily substances called Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

Air, Water, Fire, Earth and Space are the primary substances out of which the universe is composed. These word-symbols refer to substantive forces. This means that all substances have different properties and material actions that can be discerned by the mind.

Vata, Pitta and Kapha, by definition, are the primary regulators of bodily function. They are functions derived from the “Five Elements.”

Vata literally means the substance called air, related to the element called Air. Air, once it moves into the body, becomes a vital force. Its presence as it moves in and throughout the body is the cause of sensation, vibration and movement. In another sense, air is necessary to mobilize the function of the nervous system.

Pitta literally means the substance called bile, related to the element called Fire. Bodily bile is a vital metabolic substance. Bile contains metabolic products. After leaving the liver, bile contributes to digestion in the gut, and also moves into the marginal veins and enters the venous system. Bile is therefore a carrier for the heat or metabolic energy that mobilizes the function of the venous system.

Kapha literally means mucus, and is related primarily to the element called Water. Mucus, the clear viscid secretion of the mucous membranes, is vital. Secretions from the mucous membranes lining the gastrointestinal tract trap and absorb nutrients. Mucus is thus a carrier for the many nutrient substances that mobilize the functioning of the arterial supply system.

We must recognize that we are all a combination of the three doshas’ energies. On the most fundamental level, Pitta is our metabolism, Kapha is our structure, and Vata is the mobility that brings action and life into the creation. Without these three energies, we simply could not exist.

Ayurveda in Sri Lanka is given high importance. There are entire retreats dedicated to ayurveda treatments, yoga and meditation.