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The Tri-Dosha System

The Panchamahabhootas

Ayurvedic principles teach us that every living and non-living being in Nature is a combination of five basic eternal elements, called Panchamahabhootas. The five basic eternal elements (the ‘Panchamahabhootas’) that comprise the Universe are Prithvi (Earth), Jala (Water), Agni (Fire), Vayu (Air), Akash (Space or Ether).

As the human body is an integral part of Nature it is also created from these elements in various compositions and, in essence, every cell of the body has all the properties of life. The only difference between the human body and the external world is the expression of Chaithanya, also known as consciousness, life spark, spirit or the soul.

Pancha bhutas


The Tri-Doshas

Theory of Ayurveda2

The eternal elements manifest in the human body as three subtle life energies known in Sanskrit as Vatha, Pitha and Kapha (collectively known as ‘Tridosha’ in Sanskrit). The word Dosha literally means ‘the humors which maintain and control the body’. The air and space elements combine to form Vatha. The fire and water elements combine to form Pitha. Earth and water elements combine to form Kapha.

These subtle energies govern all biological, physiological and physio-pathological functions of the body, mind and spirit. Every individual has a unique combination of these three Doshas. Ayurveda understands the uniqueness of every individual, where each of the Doshas combine in different proportions.

Generally, the occurrence of seven body types can be observed:

Mono: Either Vata, pitha or kapha
Dual: Either Vata-pitha, pitha-kapha or kapha-vata
Equal: Vata, pitha and kapha are in equal proportions

For each of the elements, there is a state of balance and imbalance. An important goal of Ayurveda is to identify a person’s ideal state of balance, determine where they are in or out of balance, and offer interventions using various Ayurvedic treatments to restore the natural balance to the body.