Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What are Doshas?

What are doshas?

To begin an explanation of Doshas, one must start with Ayurveda.  Ayurveda is a tradition over 5,000 years old. It is arguably the oldest, most widely practiced wellness tradition on earth. The concept of "dosha" is an integral part of Ayurvedic practice.  Let's first look at a textbook style definition.

According to Wikipedia:
A dosha is one of three bodily humors that make up one's constitution according to Ayurveda. These teachings are also known as the Tridosha system.
The central concept of Ayurvedic medicine is the theory that health exists when there is a balance between three fundamental bodily humours or doshas called Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
  • Vāta or Vāyu (wind) is the impulse principle necessary to mobilize the function of the nervous system. It affects the windy humour, flatulence, gout, rheumatism, etc [1].
  • Pitta (bile) is the bilious humour, or that secreted between the stomach and bowels and flowing through the liver and permeating spleen, heart, eyes, and skin; its chief quality is heat [2]. It is the energy principle which uses bile to direct digestion and hence metabolism into the venous system.
  • Kapha (phlegm) is the body fluid principle which relates to mucous, lubrication and the carrier of nutrients into the arterial system.
All Ayurvedic physicians believe that these ancient ideas, based in the knowledge discovered by the Rishis and Munis, exist in harmony with physical reality. These Ayurvedic concepts allow physicians to examine the homeostasis of the whole system. People may be of a predominant dosha or constitution, but all doshas have the basic elements within them.

On a more practical level,  each person is born with a natural predisposition toward either one of the doshas or a combination unique to that individual. This helps to predict how that person's body will react to stimulus, such as stress, illness, whatever. This is why some people will react better to exercise, when dealing with stress, while others do better with quiet mediation. We now know that the trick is to maintain (or regain) a balance in life. The question is -how? For most simply taking a walk, eating what is generally considered a balanced healthy diet, getting a reasonable amount of sleep, avoiding excesses with alcohol etc... just doesn't seem to be acheiving the desired effect...enter the Ayurvedic concept of Dosha's! There are 3 : Vata, Kapha & Pitta. As we mentioned before, everyone has either 1 dominate dosha or 2 predominant in some combination.  That is what makes us individuals :-) This is true for your emotional/pychological self as well as your physical body.  It is good to incorporate all of your senses when balancing your doshas.  Interested in taking an online quiz to help you find your dosha tendencies? The Chopra Wellness center has an excellent one - just follow this link & have fun! Chopra Dosha Quiz

To watch an informative presentation about the importance of Dosha balancing and how easy it can be visit the Dosha Harmony website and choose the Video Library Tab at the top of the page - or just follow this link: Click on the Waterfall picture to View the presentation . Relax and enjoy! Until next time - Namaste'

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