Basics of Ayurveda

Tridoshas – Vata, Pitta, Kapha

“Tri” means three and “Doshas” are the Humors; Vata, Pitta, Kapha

Vata, Pitta and Kapha commonly known as the three doshas or three humors of the body act as the basic organizational principle in determining the physical, mental and physiological makeup of an individual. How we look, think, act and react depend on these three doshas and their balance in our bodies.

Even though all human beings have three doshas, the prominence of any one or two doshas is what determines the body type of an individual. It is surprising and also very interesting to know that the combination of the three doshas could be different physically and mentally i.e. we can have a mental body type absolutely different from our physical body type.

Lets delve a little into the three doshas, their qualities, biological characters and affects in our bodies.


Vata is primarily the air element in the body and represents movement, space and action. All movements from cellular to musculo‐skeletal levels are governed by Vata. The motion of our fingers, hands, acts of grasping and holding, breathing, chewing, blinking, passage of food down the alimentary canal, receiving impulses and resulting sensory responses, beating of the heart, excretion of waste from our body are the movements in the body due to Vata. Also vata is the only dosha that carries the other two doshas – pita and kapha to different places in the body as they cannot move on their own.

The attributes of Vata are: Light, Dry, Cold, Rough, Subtle, Mobile, Clear.


Pitta is the heat energy or the fire humor in the body. Pitta is responsible for all transformation, metabolism, digestion, assimilation, absorption and nutrition. Pitta is thus the energy of transformation in the individual which helps to give the vibrancy, vivacity and cheerfulness to the individual both physically and mentally. Pitta is the fire of intelligence and understanding mentally while it’s the fire of converting the food we intake into easily digestable form and separating toxins which is undigested and harmful matter for the body for elimination.

The attributes of Pitta are: Hot, Wet, Oily, Light, Sharp, Flowing.


Kapha is the humor that binds or holds things together. Kapha is the adhesive dosha that is responsible for growth and structural shape of an individual. Kapha lubricates all the joints, helps in smooth synchronized movement of all body parts and systems by providing the moistening fluids like synovial fluid in the joints and cerebrospinal fluid in the brain and spinal cord. Kapha is also the dosha that helps keep skin moist and smooth. It maintains immunity and makes one calm, caring and compassionate.

The attributes of Kapha are: Heavy, Slow, Cold, Oily, Dense, Static, Gross, Cloudy.

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