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You may find that you have one prominent dosha, or perhaps you also have a secondary dominant dosha. Some people may have a relative balance across all three doshas, this is called ‘Tridoshic’.
There is no direct translation of the word ‘dosha’, as no parallel exists in western culture. Common translations include ‘biological humors’ or ‘natural energetic forces.’
Three three doshas are each composed of a pair of elements: Vata is ether and air; Pitta is fire and water; and Kapha is earth and water. Each one expresses uniques blends of characteristics and qualities ranging between the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Although every human body has all three of the doshas, it is common for each of us to have one, or perhaps two, dominant doshas that contribute to our our primary features and overall personality.
Prakriti is a complex term in Vedic philosophy; however, when ayurveda refers to prakriti, it means one’s original constitution. Prakriti refers to the inherent balance of the doshas from the point of each body’s creation.
Ayurveda considers that the unique constitution of a person is determined at conception, and that our psychological and physiological tendencies are similarly set at this point. For example, prakriti determines an individual’s power of digestion, thickness of skin, luster of hair, and reaction to emotional stress. The prakriti remains the same throughout life, as it is the foundation of our mental and bodily structure.
After conception, we become exposed to all sorts of factors that may affect the balance of the doshas that make up our original constitution. When we are exposed to an environment that is less than optimal, the three doshas become disturbed and affect the natural physiology of the mind-body system. Some symptoms of imbalance are manageable and slip practically unnoticed into our lives, while major imbalance results in a diseased state.
Vikruti refers to the current state of the three doshas and how they are presently expressing themselves within the body and mind. The vikruti helps us to understand the nature of imbalance and the symptoms we may be experiencing.
In an ideal situation, the vikruti would match the prakriti. This would be an indication that the internal environment is balanced. However, due to the nature of our modern lifestyles, it is very rare to find someone who is completely in balance. Therefore, we use the vikruti to inform us which areas need addressing in order to return to alignment with our original constitution.
Now you have a clearer idea as to the nature of your doshic balance, spend a little time getting to know your dominant dosha. If you are experiencing any symptoms that relate to your dosha, see if you can gain an understanding of potential causes and look into how to optimize your diet and lifestyle to suit your individual make-up.
If you have two predominant doshas, or if you are tridoshic, then try to determine the different areas where each dosha seems to be in charge. For example, you may have the physical characteristics of kapha, the mental characteristics of vata, and be experiencing some symptoms of pitta in the digestive system. If this is the case, you may consider adopting a pitta pacifying diet and incorporating some vata pacifying lifestyle practices.
The goal of ayurveda is always to try to restore and maintain internal balance. The diet and practices that the body most needs can change at any given time due to the season, environment, stress levels, or a whole number of different factors. By being sensitive to how your body and mind are feeling, learning to nurture yourself in the right way will become an intuitive practice.