The Ayurvedic Doshas refer to the three basic human archetypes. Each archetype is related to the make-up of the Five Elements within the body.
- A Vata type is a person with a lot of air and ether. Vata types are usually tall and thin, and tend to be creative. Vata’s tendency is to move and change. When out of balance, Vatas tend toward instability, fear, anxiety, insomnia, poor digestion, and psychological problems.
- A Pitta type is a person who has a lot of fire and some water. They tend to have a medium build, and are friendly, outgoing, and expressive. When Pitta is out of balance, a person may become angry, resentful, and hostile. Pitta types tend towards being stressed out, having high blood pressure, heart disease, and/or ulcers.
- A Kapha type is a person with a lot of earth and water. Kaphas are usually big-boned, and tend towards being overweight. They typically move slowly and cautiously, and have a gentle, loving nature. When in balance they have stable, focused minds and are good meditators. However, when Kapha is out of balance they tend to be lethargic, sluggish, and have congestion or respiratory problems.
Find out your predominant dosha here (right click to download) Ayurvedic Dosha Test
After you’ve taken the test to determine your dosha, you’ll want to begin bringing the doshas into balance by modifying your yoga practice. Below, you will find some suggestions for each dosha type. Based on your predominant dosha, you want to work to eliminate the negative potential and cultivate the positive potential, while integrating the practice notes.
Vata Dosha (Air/Ether)
Negative Potential: stiffness, low body weight, dehydration, tend to be extreme; initiate quick/abrupt movements, making them prone to injury
Positive Potential: open to new things, adaptable, flexible; enjoy movement, activity, and expression
- Maintain a firm, even, and consistent energy. Moderate and sustain your enthusiasm.
- Keep the body calm, centered, and relaxed. Move slowly and gently, without sudden force or abrupt movements.
- Breath fully, deeply, and calmly, and emphasize inhalation.
- Keep the mind calm, concentrated and grounded in the present moment.
Pitta Dosha (Fire/Water)
Negative Potential: irritability, impatience, aggression, competitive; stick to poses they are good at rather than those that will most benefit them
Positive Potential: self-discipline and consistency; good focus and determination
- Keep your energy cool, open, and receptive.
- Allow the body to surrender, and use little effort to keep the body cool and relaxed.
- Maintain a calm and relaxed breath. Exhale through the mouth as needed to release excess heat.
- Keep the mind receptive, detached, and aware. Avoid being sharp or critical.
Kapha Dosha (Water/Earth)
Negative Potential: sedentary, difficulty breathing due to congestion; hard to change habits and need to be constantly prodded
Positive Potential: steady and consistent, faithful, calm and even, service-oriented
- After proper warm-up, practice with effort, speed, and determination.
- Keep the body light, moving, and warm.
- Focus on prana moving upward and circulating. Take deep, rapid breaths when necessary to maintain energy.
- Keep mind enthusiastic, wakeful, and focused.