Understanding the Three Doshas to Live a More Balanced Life

Reposted from the Spiritual Sunflower's wordpress blog, originally posted on June 4th, 2019

This written piece was a part of my junior thesis project at Florida Southern College. It explores the relationship between Ayurveda health and modern western medicine.


Ayurveda philosophy believes that there is a universal life force in all, and we are all made up of three different energies, or Doshas, known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha. 

This philosophy actually dates back over 4,000 years and is a system of health that considers an individual’s physical state, emotional situations and spiritual outlook to help them live a lifestyle of health and abundance. According to Scott Blossom at the Yoga Journal, each individual is made up of a unique combination of the Doshas, and most people have an abundance of one or two.

“This unique combination is determined at the moment of conception, and is your own personal blueprint, or prakriti (nature),” Blossom said.

The proportion of each Dosha fluctuates as we journey through life, and is affected by things such as the environment, diet, the weather and seasons, your age and many more. As Doshas move in and out of balance, our energy levels, mood and overall health becomes affected as well.

In Ayurveda, every individual is unique and therefor everyone’s diet and lifestyle to be balanced is also different. Nadya Andreeva at Mind Body Green considers food and lifestyle to be the most important part of Ayurveda medicine.

“If you come to a doctor with a complaint, you’re more likely to leave with a recipe than a prescription for pills,” Andreeva said.

Ayurveda’s philosophy provides advice and guidance to maintain a balanced life, physically and emotionally, through understanding one’s Doshic balance. 


The Three Doshas




Kapha energy controls the growth of the body. According to Andreeva, it supplies water throughout the body, maintains the immune system and moisturizes the skin.

People with an abundance of Kapha energy typically have strong frames, are naturally athletic and have a tendency to gain weight easily if they aren’t consistently active.

“The influence of the Earth and water elements makes them innately stable, compassionate, and loyal. They appreciate doing things in a methodical, step-by-step manner, and prefer a regular routine in their personal and professional lives,” Blossom said.

When Kapha energy becomes imbalanced, an individual may become unmotivated, stubborn and resistant to change. Some may express this imbalance as envy or becoming insecure.

They tend to have a slower metabolism, and have a less intense appetite. However, an abundance of Kapha energy benefits from experiencing new environments and meeting new people.

It is recommended for Kaphas to eat warm, light, spicy foods and to avoid processed, oily sugars. Spices such as black pepper, chili, ginger and cumin are also recommended for the Kapha diet.

Andreeva also found that it’s important for Kapha types to be active on a daily basis, because their grounding personalities make them more susceptible to sluggishness, depression and weight gain.

“Be receptive to useful change, be intentional in implementing life-enhancing actions,” Andreeva said.



Pitta energy is fueled by the fire element, making those abundant in it strong, irritable and intense. This energy also controls the body’s metabolic systems, such as temperature regulation, nutrition and digestion.

“For balance, Pittas need to manage their "fiery" tendencies, channeling them in productive ways and learning to recognize their destructive power,” Blossom said. 

These individuals are strong willed and often believe they are right. They are also natural leaders, and approach work and play with intensity and passion. 

People with an abundance of Pitta energy typically have a medium build and muscular endurance, according to Blossom. He has also found that Pitta’s freckled skin easily burns in the sun, also making them more susceptible to health conditions such as inflammation, acne and rashes.

Because Pitta energy is so hot, it’s important for Pittas to keep cool by avoiding sunlight and fried or spicy foods, according to Andreeva. They should also avoid activities that overheat the body, such as overworking, drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco.

Vegetables and fruits that are hydrating and sweet, like mangos, cherries, cucumber, avocado and watermelon, are beneficial to the Pitta diet.

“Cultivate the virtues of honesty, morality, kindness, generosity, and self-control,” Andreeva recommends to Pitta abundant types.




Vata energy controls our body functions associated with motion, such as blood circulation, blinking, breathing and heartbeat. Thos abundant in Vata energy tend to be thin and lanky, but also very mentally and physically active.

When balanced, Vata types go with the flow, have active imaginations and enjoy creating and meeting new people, according to Blossom. It’s common for these individuals to fluctuate between feeling cold and warm, struggle with dry skin and cracking joints, and tend to enjoy warmer, humid weather.

“The influence of the air element in their constitution causes their energy, mood, and appetite to fluctuate dramatically,” Blossom said.

Blossom found that due to this, Vatas often fail to eat and sleep on a regular schedule, and often switch up from eating stimulating, sugary foods before intense activity and heavy foods to ground themselves. When Vata energy is out of balance, individuals often become anxious, and ungrounded, making them seem “flaky” to others.

In order to balance Vata energy, individuals should stick to a routine, making sure to get enough rest every day and eat warm, cooked, nourishing foods. Andreeva recommends foods such as sweet berries, beans, rice, dairy products and nuts for the Vata abundant diet.

For the free flowing, energetic Vata, moderate physical exercises such as Tai Chi, swimming and walking are beneficial.


Discovering Your Dosha Type


While there are many books and quizzes that can help one discover and guide their Doshic balance, it’s important to remember that the balance of the Doshas is constantly fluctuating as we move through life.

As the body changes with age, life situations and climate, Dosha balance will change as well. Taking a few different quizzes and reading a book or two will give a deeper perspective and understanding for one’s Dosha type.

Sahara Rose, modern day Ayurveda guru and best selling author, has created a one-of-a-kind mind-body type quiz which provides a percentage breakdown of your mind-body type, as well as specific lifestyle and food recommendations for you. She brings Ayurveda philosophy to the modern world through her writing, podcast, blog and youtube channel.

“The holistic view of ayurveda is more vital now than ever before. So many people, like me, have grown tired of jumping from diet to diet, looking for the answer to health when it already exists inside of us,” Rose said.


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